Methadone is a narcotic used as a painkiller, similar to morphine and some other medications of this type. However, another important feature of this medication is its ability to reduce the intensity of withdrawal effects that people undergo once quitting their heroin or other narcotic addictions.
Methadone is praised for its power to relieve one of pain without triggering any side-effects which lead to intoxication. Also, apart from the above mentioned purposes, this drug can also be used for something else. More information about methadone can be found in the remainder of this article.
Methadone Treatment for Opiate Abuse
Methadone was created in 1937. It helps people overcome drug addictions of theirs by affecting the same receptors as other narcotic drugs do, without triggering the symptoms related to feeling “high”. Methadone is also popular due to the fact that it is very cheap and easy to obtain, while having a very strong and prominent effect. Since lower doses of methadone can stabilize patients by mitigating opioid withdrawal syndrome, higher ones can even inhibit the euphoric effects that heroin, morphine or some other, similar drugs can lead to, thereby helping an addict overcome his/her addiction.
However, as far as the general recommended usage of methadone is concerned, it varies from one country to another.
Yet, methadone, when not taken adequately and with caution, has been known to lead to deaths. In fact, in the US, between the years of 1999 and 2004, the number of people who died due to their exposure to methadone has become 4 times greater. In 2004 only, about 3,849 people have died in the US, during their methadone treatment, according to the US National Center for Health Statistics. If we are to mention the number of deaths triggered by the same cause in 1999, we are bound to notice a significant difference, since only 790 people lost their lives to methadone back then.
Therefore, you are to be extremely cautious when using this medication for any of the above mentioned purposes. Also, while on methadone, you are advised to refrain from operating vehicles or machinery. Methadone is known to slow one's breathing, especially in cases of overdose. Thus, never take larger doses of this drug unless your doctor tells you to do so and never drink alcohol while on this medication.
Additionally, prior to taking methadone for the first time, inform your doctor about your medical history. Basically, if present, mention family or personal history of suffering from long QT syndrome, asthma, COPD, sleep apnea or some other breathing disorders, liver or kidney disease, hypothyroidism, spine curvature, history of brain injuries or tumors, epilepsy, seizures, hypotension, gallbladder disease, Addison's disease, adrenal gland disorders, prostate or urination-related issues, mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse.
While it is not certain whether methadone can or cannot harm a baby while he/she is being breastfed or while he/she is still inside the uterus, you should not take this medication while pregnant or while breastfeeding unless you doctor confirms that this is a safe step to take.
All in all, before using methadone, read all the information found with the medication and do not forget to tell your doctor everything about your medical history, making sure you avoid getting exposed to any of the side-effects, since many of these can result in death or some other, serious health problems.
Side-Effects of Methadone
Some of the most common side-effects related to methadone, being considered less dangerous, are dizziness, constipation, drowsiness, nausea, urination problems, contentment, skin rashes, flushed skin, vision problems, decreased libido, impotence, missed menstrual periods, weight gain, loss of appetite, pain in the abdominal area and mood swings. Also, some users reported warmth sensation, tooth decay and increased perspiration, relating it to the effects of methadone.
If you have been taking methadone over a longer period of time, you are likely to suffer from hives, itching, rashes and even seizures. Additionally, methadone overdose results in confusion, low blood pressure, muscle twitching, respiratory problems, weak pulse, blue discoloration of the fingernails, skin and lips, clammy skin, small pupils, fainting and coma.
You should keep in mind that combining methadone with some other medications can lead to interactions which cause worsening of the side-effects or appearance of some other problems. Either way, you are advised to seek medical assistance as soon as possible whenever you experience any of the above mentioned side-effects after taking methadone.
To conclude, this narcotic painkiller can be used for many purposes, the most common of which is helping people addicted to drugs overcome this state of affairs. Nevertheless, to get the most out of methadone and avoid many of its adverse effects, you need to follow your doctor's instructions religiously and use this drug in the prescribed dosages. Any misuse of methadone is bound to result in health problems, some of which may even be deadly.