Methadone is legally prescribed to treat opioid addiction and for pain management. Methadone dosages differ from patient to patient based on their needs. For example, you can be given a dosage for short-term methadone stabilization at the beginning of a detox program or long-term for maintenance.
Following your doctor’s instructions or the directions on your medicine’s label to the letter is crucial. This is because methadone can become habit-forming, which can lead to adverse effects. Methadone is also an opioid (controlled substance) with a risk of misuse, and one may easily become dependent on it. Doctors give methadone dosage to help detox from heroin and other opioids like oxycodone.
How to Take Methadone
Your methadone dosage will depend on several factors, such as:
- Any other medical conditions you might have
- Type and severity of the condition
- Form of methadone you take
- History of dependency on opioids.
Once you start your methadone dosage, it will be titrated daily until your doctor determines an adequate dosage to keep your symptoms in check. Typically, your doctor will prescribe the smallest dosage for maintenance to provide the desired effect.
If you have severe opioid dependence, your methadone dosage may start at 30 to 40 mg daily; then, it is tapered off to 10 mg daily for 3 to 5 days. Do not change your dosage unless your doctor tells you to.
Additionally, your medical problem determines the number of doses you will take each day and the duration for which you will take the medication.
Should you miss a methadone dose, please take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time to take your next dose, skip the dose you missed, continue with your regular dosage, and never double the dose. You should also never take an extra dosage of methadone if you feel your dosage is not as strong. Methadone is available in the following forms:
- Powder: The powder is usually dissolved in water and taken orally
- Tablet: The tablets are dissolved in water and taken by mouth
- Liquid: This is commonly used in maintenance clinics
A single dose’s effects last for 24 to 36 hours, and in that time frame, you should return to your dispensing clinic for the next dose. A dose of methadone can maintain relief for about 25 hours which is its half-life. This means that 50% of methadone is still in your body, and the other 50% has been eliminated from the body.
How Can I Achieve the Best Treatment Results with Methadone?
- Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush, break, chew, or dissolve it.
- Use only the prescribed dose, don’t take more or less.
- Never consume alcohol while on methadone therapy
- Methadone can make you drowsy, so be careful while operating heavy machinery or while driving
- Keep the medication away from children and pets
- Never share your methadone with anyone, even if they have the same condition or symptoms as you
- Store your medication away from light and keep it at room temperature
- If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to methadone, seek immediate medical attention
What Are the Side Effects of Methadone?
Common methadone side effects may include the following:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heavy sweating
- Slow breathing
- Itchy skin
- Sexual problems
If you experience the following severe side effects, contact your healthcare provider as soon as:
- Hives or a rash; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- A fast or pounding heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing or shallow breathing
- Feel lightheaded or faint
- Feel chest pain
- Hallucinations or confusion