Author: Alex Thompson

Methadone: MedlinePlus Drug Information

is methadone addictive

Methadone is used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications. It also is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients who were addicted to opiate drugs and are enrolled in treatment programs in order to stop taking or continue not taking the drugs. Methadone is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. Methadone works to treat pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It works to treat people who were addicted to opiate drugs by producing similar effects and preventing withdrawal symptoms in people who have stopped using these drugs.

  1. Methadone acts on the same Opioid receptors as Morphine and Heroin to stabilize patients and minimize withdrawal symptoms in the case of an addiction.
  2. Doses of naltrexone take longer to be eliminated from the person’s system.
  3. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.
  4. Your symptoms may return within a few minutes after you receive naloxone.

It can stay in your body for 1-3 days and will actually block the “high” of other opioids. Fatal side effects can occur if you use opioid medicine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing. Methadone works by activating the opioid receptors in the brain and nervous system, it is usually taken orally as a liquid or tablet. According to SAMHSA, buprenorphine’s effects are “less than those of full opioid agonists like heroin and methadone.” This does make the drug less likely to be abused and, therefore, to cause addiction. While methadone is a full opioid agonist, its effects more closely resemble these other drugs to which users can become addicted.

Methadone Risks

Speak to your doctor about how drug interactions should be managed. Getting help for any other mental health condition you have may also help your recovery. can help you to find health providers around the country who specialize in treating substance use disorders of all kinds. If your doctor prescribes methadone, tell them about any other medicines or supplements you take. Your doctor should also know about any health conditions you have, including a substance use disorder.

If it is administered properly and the patient follows their doctor’s orders, methadone will not become dangerous or addictive. When you take it at the right dose to treat opioid use disorder, methadone won’t make you feel high. But it does work on the same receptors in your brain that other opioids like heroin or oxycodone do.

Methadone can cause death, and this typically happens to people who are taking large doses of prescription methadone for pain relief. Most overdose deaths linked to methadone are in people who take it at home, whether for pain relief or recreationally. If you’re pregnant and have a heroin or pain pill addiction, it’s especially important to get treatment to keep yourself and your baby safe.

Other Schedule II drugs include Hydrocodone and Morphine. If your methadone is expired or if you don’t need to take it anymore, find a safe take-back program or flush it down the toilet. Talk to your pharmacist or treatment provider if you have questions. Just one dose can cause death in someone using it accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist about a drug take-back program, or flush the unused medicine down the toilet.

Experts say people who take methadone to treat an addiction should use it for at least a year while they work on recovery. When it’s time to stop, your doctor will help you do so slowly to prevent withdrawal. Your providers will give you the dose that should work best for you. Many drugs may affect methadone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use methadone only for the indication prescribed. When a person abuses methadone, they are choosing to do so. This is the only way that use of the drug can lead to addiction.

Methadone Addiction And Abuse

Approximately 82 percent of those deaths were listed as accidental, and most deaths involved combinations of methadone with other drugs (especially benzodiazepines). Methadone withdrawal symptoms are reported as being significantly more protracted than withdrawal from opioids with shorter half-lives. Note that this list is not all-inclusive and includes only common medications that may interact with methadone. You should refer to the prescribing information for methadone for a complete list of interactions. Medicines that interact with methadone may either decrease its effect, affect how long it works, increase side effects, or have less of an effect when taken with methadone. An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of the medications; however, sometimes it does.

Any time someone uses more Methadone than they are prescribed, or uses it without a prescription, they are abusing the medication. Even though the effects of methadone are different from those of other opioids, your body can still get used to it. This means you might need to take more to feel the same effects. This is called tolerance, and it can happen with any opioid. Your body can also become dependent on methadone and other opioids. Your brain relies on the pain relief they bring, and you have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly.

is methadone addictive

Methadone changes the way your brain and nervous system respond to pain so that you feel relief. Its effects are slower than those of other strong painkillers like morphine. Your doctor may prescribe methadone if you’re in a lot of pain from an injury, surgery, or long-term illness.

Methadone Safety

Methadone is sometimes used to reduce cravings for other Opioids, but Methadone is also an addictive substance in its own right. If your doctor prescribes tablets that are “dispersible,” dissolve all or part of the tablet in liquid (usually water or citrus-flavored drinks) and drink it all. If you are using the dispersible tablets, do not chew or swallow before mixing the tablet in a liquid.

Can I Overdose on Methadone?

Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking methadone for your condition. Grapefruit may interact with this medicine and cause side effects. Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Opioid addiction

The treatment program must be approved by the state and federal governments and must treat patients according to specific federal laws. You may have to take your medication at the treatment program facility under the supervision of the program staff. Ask your doctor or the treatment program staff if you have any questions about enrolling in the program or taking or getting your medication. Methadone is part of a category of drugs called opioids. When it came to the United States, doctors used it to treat people with extreme pain.

Data sources include Micromedex (updated 3 Mar 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 4 Mar 2024), ASHP (updated 10 Mar 2024) and others. The drug can become problematic when abused and cause all the same issues that heroin abuse can cause, but when taken in the correct doses, it is not as addictive as other full opioid agonist drugs. Ask a doctor before using opioid medicine if you are breastfeeding. This medicine passes into breast milk and may harm your baby. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice increased sleepiness (more than usual), difficulty breastfeeding, breathing difficulties, or limpness in the nursing baby. Talk to your baby’s doctor when you decide to wean your baby.