Methadone is a prescription drug used to treat severe pain due to chronic, life-threatening conditions like cancer. It is a synthetic pain reliever making it a controlled substance (high risk of misuse and is likely to cause dependence). Methadone works in the brain to alter how you respond to pain. Methadone is also commonly used for detoxification or to treat opioid addiction, such as heroin, and to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms caused by other opioids. Methadone comes in the form of:
- Oral Tablet
- Oral Dispersible Tablet (Tablet That Can Be Dissolved in Liquid)
- Oral Concentrate Solution
- Intravenous (Iv)-Given by A Healthcare Provider
- Oral Solution
Why Is Methadone Used for Pain Relief?
Methadone can also be found in the brand name Methadose in the form of an oral soluble tablet and is used to treat chronic pain from medical treatment, inflammation, injury, or due to other unknown causes.
Doctors give methadone only when other non-opioid drugs and short-term medications are ineffective or when you cannot tolerate them. Methadone has potent analgesic effects, and the tablet form is used to treat moderate to severe pain, but it is not ideal for relieving mild or transient pain or pain that goes away in a few days, like the pain from surgery. It is essential to note that methadone should not be used for occasional use or as needed.
What Are the Benefits of Methadone for Pain Management?
Methadone has unique qualities and similar analgesic efficacy and side effect profile to morphine. It efficiently replaces other opiates when patients cannot take high dosages. Benefits may include the following:
- Methadone has a convenient prescription schedule
- It is highly effective for pain management in chronic conditions
- Methadone is affordable for most patients
- It is suitable for patients who have a morphine allergy
What You Need to Know About Methadone Intake for Pain Relief
- Inform your doctor if you are taking or stopping other medications. This is because there are medications that can interact with methadone leading to life-threatening side effects, minimal pain relief, and sometimes death.
- It is crucial to inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because methadone can be secreted into breast milk and cause severe effects on your baby.
- Methadone may cause a life-threatening change in breathing (by slowing or stopping) and changes to the heartbeat that you might not be able to feel.
- Methadone pain relief should last longer if you have been taking it for some time.
- Methadone should not be taken more than prescribed since it can build up in your body and become life-threatening.
- Inform your doctor if your condition does not get better or worse.
- Inform your doctor if you have a history of mental illness or medical conditions.
- Avoid stopping methadone abruptly. This is because it may cause withdrawal symptoms.
- You should not take alcoholic beverages while on methadone
- Follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter while taking methadone dosages
- Do not crush, snort, or chew, methadone tablet since it will not work well
What Side Effects Can Occur When Using Methadone?
Common methadone side effects include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty urinating
- Mood swings
- Vision problems
To avoid these side effects, ensure you stay within the prescribed amount. The symptoms go away in a few days. If you experience the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:
- Heart palpitations
These symptoms might indicate an arrhythmia. Additionally, if you feel the following symptoms, they might be symptoms of an overdose:
- Have blurry vision
- Inability to talk or walk normally
- Extremely tired or sleepy
- Shallow or slow breathing