Methadone was first introduced in this country in 1947 by Eli Lilly and Company as a pain reliever. Since then, it has been used widely in treating heroin addiction. Methadone is also used currently in managing chronic pain, and can be obtained in tablet form called Methadone and Methadose and liquid form (from clinics).
Due to methadone’s totally synthetic structure (man made chemical), its pharmacological effects are longer lasting than those of other opiate drugs, allowing for once-daily administration in pain management and opiate treatment programs such as methadone clinics. However, the pain-relieving effects are shorter than the pharmacological half-life, so that dosing for pain control usually requires multiple doses per day. Depending on its form, Methadone can also be known as Dimepheptanol. As with heroin and all other opiates, methadone tolerance and methadone dependence usually develop with repeated doses. Tolerance to Methadone administered in a pain-control program usually occurs during the first few weeks of use; whereas respiratory depression, sedation, and nausea can be seen immediately.
Despite its qualities as a pain reliever, methadone is one of the most difficult drugs from which to break clean, and patients treated with methadone for pain frequently develop dependence that requires detoxification. As with heroin, methadone detox can be a painful process, and without the help of trained professionals it can be riddled with withdrawal symptoms. Rapid Drug Detox can help free you from methadone addiction.
Methadone Side Effects
On November 29, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Advisory about methadone entitled "Methadone Use for Pain Control May Result in Death and Life-Threatening Changes in Breathing and Heart Beat." The advisory went on to say that "the FDA has received reports of death and life-threatening side effects in patients taking Methadone. These deaths and life-threatening side effects have occurred in patients newly starting Methadone for pain control and in patients who have switched to Methadone after being treated for pain with other strong narcotic pain relievers. Methadone can cause slow or shallow breathing and dangerous changes in heart beat that may not be felt by the patient." The advisory urged that physicians use caution when prescribing Methadone.
Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
Methadone withdrawal symptoms are typically more severe than those of morphine or heroin at equivalent doses, and are significantly more prolonged. Methadone withdrawal symptoms can last for several months or longer, so individuals maintained on methadone for long periods of time may in fact find it more difficult to break free of their dependence than someone in the same struggle with a heroin addiction. Most addicts find methadone withdrawal symptoms too severe to withstand without medical intervention. Body aches and muscle cramping, back aches, leg kicking, irritability, anxiety, chills, shivering or trembling, abdominal cramping, weakness, increased blood pressure, convulsions, insomnia, diarrhea, running nose, watery eyes, sneezing, sweating, pale and clammy skin, nausea with or without vomiting, and thoughts of suicide.
Methadone Detox Methods
Methadone has traditionally been provided to the heroin-addict population through highly regulated methadone clinics. In the United States, clinics such as these stem from programs set up during the Nixon administration to combat heroin use, first in Washington, D.C., then nationwide. In addition to obtaining a daily methadone dose, some who go to this type of clinic for addiction treatment may receive some type of psychological counseling for their addiction. Some are required to attend such programs, but many are not.
In recent years, methadone has gained popularity among physicians for the treatment of chronic pain. The increased usage has come as doctors search for an opioid drug that can be dosed less frequently than short-acting drugs like morphine or hydrocodone. Some physicians also choose methadone for treating chronic pain in patients who are thought to have a propensity for addiction. Most physicians do not realize that methadone is more highly addictive than traditional opiates and that ending methadone treatment is more difficult due to more severe withdrawal symptoms.