Methadone has a risk for abuse and addiction, which can lead to overdose and death. Methadone may also cause severe, possibly fatal, breathing problems and heartbeat problems. To lower your risk, your doctor should have you take the smallest dose of methadone that works, and take it for the shortest possible time. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than directed. See also How to Use section for more information about addiction.
The risk for severe breathing problems or heartbeat problems is higher when you start this medication, when you are switching from another opioid to methadone, after a dose increase, or if you take the wrong dose/strength. Breathing problems from methadone may not happen right away after taking a dose. Most heartbeat problems have happened in people using large doses of methadone for pain relief, but this problem can also occur in people taking smaller doses to treat opioid addiction. Taking this medication with alcohol or other drugs that can cause drowsiness or breathing problems may cause very serious side effects, including death. Also, other medications can affect the removal of methadone from your body, which may affect how methadone works. Be sure you know how to take methadone and what other drugs you should avoid taking with it. See also Drug Interactions section. Get medical help right away if any of these very serious side effects occur: slow/shallow breathing, unusual lightheadedness, severe drowsiness/dizziness, difficulty waking up, fast/irregular heartbeat, fainting.
Keep this medicine in a safe place to prevent theft, misuse, or abuse. If someone accidentally swallows this drug, get medical help right away.
Before using this medication, women of childbearing age should talk with their doctor(s) about the risks and benefits. Pregnancy may affect the amount of this drug in your body, so tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may slightly increase the risk of birth defects if used during the first two months of pregnancy. Also, using it for a long time or in high doses near the expected delivery date may harm the unborn baby. To lessen the risk, take the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Babies born to mothers who use this drug for a long time may develop severe (possibly fatal) withdrawal symptoms. Tell the doctor right away if you notice any symptoms in your newborn baby such as crying that doesn't stop, slow/shallow breathing, irritability, shaking, vomiting, diarrhea, poor feeding, or difficulty gaining weight.
This medication is used to treat severe ongoing pain (such as due to cancer). Methadone belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.Do not use this medication to relieve pain that is mild or that will go away in a few days (such as pain from surgery). This medication is not for occasional ("as needed") use.This medication is also used to treat addiction to opioids (such as heroin) as part of an approved treatment program. It helps prevent withdrawal symptoms caused by stopping other opioids.
How to use methadone oral
See also Warning section.
Take this medication by mouth on a regular schedule as directed by your doctor, not as needed for sudden (breakthrough) pain. You may take this drug with or without food. If you have nausea, it may help to take this drug with food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for 1 to 2 hours with as little head movement as possible).
Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If your medication comes in an oral dosing syringe, use the syringe to measure the dose. Do not inject the medication. Before taking, mix the dose in at least 1 ounce (30 milliliters) of water or other liquid as directed. Drink all of the mixture right away. Do not prepare a supply in advance.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Suddenly stopping this medication may cause withdrawal, especially if you have used it for a long time or in high doses. To prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have any withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, mental/mood changes (including anxiety, trouble sleeping, thoughts of suicide), watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, muscle aches, or sudden changes in behavior.
When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not get better or if it gets worse.
You Might Also Like
Are you currently using methadone oral?
This survey is being conducted by the WebMD marketing sciences department.
Free RX Coupon
Save up to 80% on your prescriptions.
Save up to 80% on your prescription with WebMDRx
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.