Methadone Drug Facts

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Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is used for Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT). It is used to treat mild to severe pain and help people relieve their addiction to heroin or other opiates. Methadone is a safe drug if taken as per the physician’s prescription. If taken above certain limits, there are chances that you may be addicted to Methadone. Methadone overdose may cause serious health problems.

Table Of Contents:

How Does Methadone Work?

Methadone works directly on the brain and helps change the pain response of the brain and nervous system. It prevents the euphoric effects caused by the opiates like heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone by reducing the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Patients who are under opiate addiction may receive methadone medication under the strict supervision of a trained physician.

Methadone Abuse

Frankly, it is easy to abuse methadone as one extra dose of the drug may lead to abuse and dependency because of its strength and concentration. According to some trusted sources, the number of deaths due to methadone poisoning and abuse have increased from 790 to 6000 cases from 1996 to 2012.

Even though methadone is prescribed for opioid dependency, there are chances that the abuser may choose to use methadone as an alternative drug for heroin or other opiates and get high. The U.S government has listed them under Schedule II substances of the Controlled Substances Act.

Symptoms of Methadone Abuse

  • Respiratory problems
  • Rough or patched skin
  • Blue lips and fingertips
  • Fatigue
  • Confusions
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of concentration
  • Motor problems

Mixing Methadone with other drugs may lead to extreme effects that could even lead to coma or death.

Effects of Methadone Abuse

  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Pneumonia and other lung diseases
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Swelling of the face and the lips and abnormal look
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Nausea 
  • Hallucinations

Effect of Methadone on Pregnant Women

Pregnant women can take methadone on a doctor’s prescription. However, if taken for a long time, the medicine may lead to uterus contraction and cause premature birth. So get your doctor’s consultation before taking methadone during pregnancy.

Detection of Methadone

Drug amount in ng/mL

Detection Window

Greater than 200 ng/mL (Urine)

1 -  3 days (Urine)

50-300 ng/mL (Saliva)

2 days 

The drug can stay in your system for a maximum of 2 to 5 days since last consumption and can indicate its presence in the urine and saliva samples even after the effects have worn off.

Methadone Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms of Methadone will be less severe compared to other opiates. Some of the common withdrawal symptoms include

  • Fever (Mild to Moderate)
  • Night Sweating
  • Hand tremors or shaking
  • Muscle Pain
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of interest in taking food

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