In the US today, deaths linked to methadone are more than quadrupled in five years. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, medical examiners listed methadone as contributing to 3,849 deaths only in 2004. And about 82% of those deaths were listed as accidental, and most deaths involved combination of methadone with other drugs, alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Methadone is just like morphine. It helps in withdrawal process with heroin addiction or other narcotic drug addiction. It is also used as painkiller in the process of drug addiction detoxification. There are serious side effects or even death if methadone is abused. When pain-killing effect of medication stops methadone may slow down breathing process.
Alcohol and methadone are not to be mixed. In the combination with alcohol methadone may cause death in the very least: it may impair the sense for reactions and thinking, also the sensation of being awake and well steady alerted.
The Warning Signs
The warning of emergency with methadone withdrawal symptoms and time when is time to visit doctor are: feeling too weak, anxious, nervous, or restless, sleeping problems, hallucinations or confusion, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, trouble breathing, fainting, sexual problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, light-headed feeling, no appetite etc.
Side Effects of Methadone Classified by Body System
Gastrointestinal side effects is contraction of the sphincter of Oddi, also constipation, dry mouth, abdominal pain, glossitis, appetite abnormalities and biliary tract spasm.
Cardiovascular side effects are cardiomyopathy, hypotension, arrhythmias, bradycardia, bigeminal rhythms, flushing, ECG abnormalities, palpitations, extrasystoles, QT interval prolongation, heart failure, T-wave inversion, phlebitis, syncope, tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, torsade de pointes, edema and cardiac arrest.
Hypersensitivity side effects may be pruritus, rash, and edema. Endocrine side effects are stimulation of hyperprolactinemia, thyroxine binding globulin (TBG), high TBG, total T3 and T4, and unaltered free T3 and T4. Respiratory side effects are respiratory depression, pulmonary edema, and weak response to hypercarbia. While renal side effects are subsequent acute renal failure, rhabdomyolysis and ingestion. Hematological side effects are albumin, increased serum protein and mild lymphocytosis globulin. On the other hand genitourinary side effects are urinary retention, amenorrhea, limited libido, antidiuretic effect, urinary hesitancy and etc. Metabolic side effects are weight gain, hyperkalemia, hypomagnesaemia. Ocular side effect is manifested as visual disturbance. Nervous system side effects are confusion, euphoria, dysphoria, agitation, seizures, insomnia, disorientation, dizziness and tardive dyskinesia and choreic movements. Psychiatric side effect is the development of organic mood syndrome, psychological dependence, obsessive compulsive symptoms of such, and etc.