Methadone (By mouth)

Introduction

Methadone (METH-a-done)

Treats moderate to severe pain. Also used together with medical supervision and counseling to treat narcotic drug addiction or to help control withdrawal symptoms in patients being treated for narcotic drug addiction. This medicine is a narcotic pain reliever.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Methadone HCl Intensol, Methadose, Diskets Dispersible, Dolophine HCl

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to methadone, or if you have trouble breathing, or during an asthma attack, or if you have a condition called paralytic ileus (intestinal obstruction or blockage of the bowel).

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet, Tablet for Suspension

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk to avoid stomach upset.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Mix the oral concentrate with 2 tablespoons of liquid (unless your doctor tells you something different). Drink the medicine right away.
  • Mix the tablet for suspension with water or another liquid, then drink the mixture right away. Do not swallow the tablet, and do not use it without mixing it in liquid first.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help avoid constipation.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Store the oral liquid at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using buprenorphine (Buprenex®), butorphanol (Stadol®), nalbuphine (Nubain®), naloxone (Narcan®), naltrexone (Revia®), pentazocine (Talwin®), St. John's wort, medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as abacavir, amprenavir, didanosine, efavirenz, lopinavir/ritonavir, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, stavudine, zidovudine, Combivir®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Sustiva®, Videx®, Viracept®, Viramune®, Zerit®, Ziagen®), medicine to treat seizures (such as phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, Dilantin®, Luminal®, Tegretol®), or medicine to treat a fungal infection (such as clotrimazole, voriconazole, ketoconazole, Diflucan®, Nizoral®). Tell your doctor if you have used an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate® within the past 14 days.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using medicines that prolong QT interval such as arsenic trioxide (Trisenox®), cisapride (Propulsid®), dofetilide (Tikosyn®), medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, desipramine, sertraline, fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, nortriptyline, Elavil®, Norpramin®, Pamelor®, Prozac®, Sarafem®, Vivactil®), certain antibiotics (such as erythromycin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, rifampin, sparfloxacin, Avelox®, Levaquin®, Rifadin®, Zagam®), medicine to treat mental illness (such as haloperidol, mesoridazine, pimozide, prochlorperazine, quetiapine, thioridazine, ziprasidone, Compazine®, Geodon®, Haldol®, Mellaril®, Orap®, Serentil®, Seroquel®). Tell your doctor if you are also using laxatives, steroids, diuretics or "water pills", or certain blood pressure medicines (such as diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil, Norvasc®, Plendil®).
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction, seizures, low blood pressure, liver disease, kidney disease, thyroid problems, Addison's disease, an enlarged prostate, or problems passing urine. Tell your doctor if you have lung disease (such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or other conditions that may cause breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep), scoliosis (an abnormal spine curve), severe obesity, brain disease, or recent head injury.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have low potassium or magnesium in your blood, heart problems, or a history of heart rhythm problems such as QT prolongation.
  • This medicine can cause serious illness or even death if taken too much or if taken by a child or by anyone who is not already taking prescription pain medicine on a regular schedule. Call your doctor right away if you have extreme weakness or fainting, shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, bluish-colored skin or nails, and cold, clammy skin.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert. You may also feel lightheaded when standing suddenly from a sitting or lying position, so get up slowly.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • This medicine may cause constipation. This is more common if you use it for a long time. Ask your doctor if you should also use a laxative to prevent and treat constipation.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting.
  • Extreme sleepiness or drowsiness.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin.
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.
  • Severe confusion.
  • Slow, fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Trouble breathing.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Constipation.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Headache.
  • Skin rash or itching.
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.
  • Weakness.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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