One of the brand names for the drug Dolophine is Methadone, a synthetic opioid that has been around since the 1940’s. It is normally administered for the purpose of treating opiate and opioid abuse, addiction, and dependency with drugs such as heroin or morphine. Amidone, Heptadon, Methadose, Physeptone, and Symoron are some of the other brand names for. Methadone It is medically classified and prescribed as an anti-addictive medication because of its opiate and opioid cross-tolerance characteristics.
It is widely used throughout the US at addiction treatment and recovery centers that offer programs for Methadone abuse, addiction, and dependency issues. The application of the drug where problems with opiates and opioids are concerned is referred to as Methadone maintenance. Methadone is oftentimes prescribed for treating chronic pain because of its lengthy duration of effectiveness. However, the stabilization of individuals who are enrolled in opiate/opioid addiction treatment and recovery programs is the primary application.
Methadone alleviates the withdrawal symptoms that individuals experience during opiate and opioid detox which is why it is used in these types of addiction rehab programs. Methadone maintenance is still considered the most effective method for alleviating or eliminating the physiological and psychological withdrawal symptoms that occur when an individual undergoes heroin and morphine detox. When the suffering individual is taking the prescribed doses of the drug it is easier for them to eventually quit using them.
The mechanism of action
Methadone functions by blocking the euphoric effects of opiates such as heroin or morphine as well as semi-synthetic opioids such as hydrocodone or oxycodone based painkillers. Methadone basically tricks the human brain into believing that the opiate or opioid they have been using is present in their system which is why the recreational user oftentimes quits abusing opiates or opioids and starts abusing the drug.
Whenever an individual is involved in Methadone maintenance for opioid abuse, addiction, or dependency or if they are using the drug recreationally, there are 4 primary indicators of the presence of Methadone abuse, addiction, or dependency:
- lying to physicians about your symptoms so you can get multiple prescriptions of the drug (referred to as “doctor shopping”)
- taking higher doses than what is prescribed due to tolerance build-ups
- taking methadone with alcohol or other addictive drugs
- using methadone in conjunction with heroin or morphine
If any of these or a combination of them applies to you or a loved one, you are most likely a candidate for a Methadone rehab program and should discuss your circumstances with an addiction specialist at a professional addiction treatment and recovery center.
The more common side effects
The side effects of methadone use whether taken as prescribed or recreationally are classified into two categories – less serious side effects and more severe side effects.
Less serious side effects – feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, or restlessness; feeling drowsy or weak; constipation or diarrhea; decreased sex drive, difficulty having an orgasm, or impotence; dry mouth; insomnia or sleep problems; loss of appetite; and nausea and vomiting
More severe side effects – allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, hives, or any swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat; breathing difficulties or shallow breathing; chest pains; confusion and disorientation; dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness; hallucinations; and pounding or rapid heartbeat.
If you are experiencing the more severe side effects listed above, contact 911 immediately and get emergency medical attention whether you are taking the drug as prescribed under a Methadone maintenance program are using it recreationally.
Drug interactions you should be concerned with
The most important question you can ask your doctor or pharmacist is what medications will interact negatively with Methadone. Most importantly, if you are taking any prescription medications that could make you drowsy or possibly slow down your respiration, these should be avoided at all costs. These include muscle relaxants, narcotic pain medications, sedatives, and tranquilizers.
In addition to the above medications you should be aware that the following medications can cause dangerous side effects when taking Methadone:
- blood pressure and heart medications
- HIV medicines
- MAOI’s (monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
- seizure medications
Although this is not the complete list of prescription medications that can have harmful or potentially dangerous side effects when taken with Methadone, you should still inform your doctor of all the prescription medications and even OTC medicines that you are currently taking. This includes herbal products, minerals, and vitamins. Make a list of all that you are taking and keep it on your person at all times just in case you need to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about any of them.
The recreational abuse of Methadone can be extremely dangerous and potentially harmful if it is taken in doses that are larger than what has been prescribed because this greatly increases the risk of potentially fatal side effects. Even you have abstained from using other addictive drugs you can still experience some dangerous and harmful side effects. Follow the instructions on the prescription label if you are participating in a Methadone maintenance program.
Additionally, as with other narcotic prescription medications, Methadone slows down your breathing even if the side effects have subsided. If your breathing becomes too weak, this could be fatal so you need to be extremely careful and not use more Methadone than what your physician has prescribed. Never stop taking Methadone abruptly if you have been in a Methadone maintenance program for any considerable length of time.
Another thing you need to avoid is the drinking of alcoholic beverages as this can cause potentially dangerous side effects or experience a fatal reaction. Finally, always pay attention to both food ingredient and OTC medication labels as some may contain alcohol and could interact negatively with Methadone. Methadone may also cause impaired coordination and interfere with an individual’s ability to concentrate, focus, or think clearly.
For more information regarding Methadone, contact Blue Water Detox at the toll-free phone number above and speak with one of our specialists today.