Methadone is a synthetic opiate primarily used for the treatment of narcotic addiction. It was originally synthesized by German pharmaceutical companies between 1937-1939. By 1947, methadone was approved as a painkiller in the USA and is still occasionally used for pain relief. Methadone is a class A drug and is illegal to obtain without a prescription. It comes in liquid and tablet form to take orally or is sometimes prescribed as injectable ampoules.
The side effects of methadone are similar to other opioids including the development of tolerance and physical and psychological dependence. People who take it for the first time may become sick and get constipated. The effects can last 24-36 hours which are longer-lasting than morphine based drugs.
Methadone Health Risks
There are numerous health risks and life-threatening dangers when taking methadone. During the first 24-72 hours of taking methadone or anytime the dose is increased it can cause severe breathing problems that can be fatal. Some users may experience a prolonged QT interval which can cause an irregular heartbeat, fainting or sudden death.
Mixing alcohol, other medications or street drugs with methadone increases the risk of experiencing life-threatening side effects.
Other symptoms of taking methadone may include:
- Shallow/slow or difficulty breathing
- Bluish skin, lips and fingernails
- Spasms in the stomach, intestinal tract or muscles
- Weak pulse and low blood pressure
- Heart problems
A physical dependency to methadone will develop for anyone using it regularly and if a person tries to quit, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms similar to other opiates. The withdrawal period can be longer than with other opiates lasting anywhere from two weeks to several months. Some users who have experienced both heroin and methadone withdrawal symptoms have said that methadone withdrawal symptoms are worse than heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Some withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Runny nose
- Body aches and pains
- Suicidal thoughts
Women who use methadone while pregnant may cause their baby to experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms after birth. This drug increases the chances of a miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth which can lead to serious health issues. Contact your physician in the case that you become pregnant while taking methadone. Stopping methadone abruptly while pregnant can put your baby’s life at risk.
Why Do People Use Methadone?
Methadone is used to relieve pain in people for a long period of time and for people who can’t use other medications.
It is also used as a maintenance treatment for opiate addicts which is referred to as Methadone Maintenance Treatment. It is supposed to prevent withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are addicted to opiate drugs. Although people are able to quit other opiate drugs, they develop another addiction for methadone that has its own side effects.
Drug Withdrawal Without Methadone
Watch methadone recovery success videos.
A Way Out At Narconon Fresh Start
Many people who thought they had to continue taking methadone for the rest of their lives found a way out at Narconon Fresh Start. We provide a true recovery program that address all aspects of addiction.
Call a Narconon Fresh Start drug rehab counselor today to find out more about our drug-free program and how we remove drug toxins from the body which drive cravings and how we help empower individuals to take control of their lives and live successfully.
Learn more about the dangers of methadone.