What is this medicine?
METHADONE (METH a done) is a pain reliever. It is used to treat severe pain. The medicine is also used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to other drugs.
How should I use this medicine?
Take the medicine by mouth. Determine the number of tablets you need for your dose. Dissolve the tablets in a glass of water, orange juice, citrus Tang, or citrus flavors of Kool-Aid. Stir well for one minute. You will see some of the tablet in the glass. The tablet will not completely melt. Drink all of the liquid in the glass. Do not chew or swallow whole tablets. The tablets must be dissolved. If the medicine upsets your stomach, take the medicine with food or milk. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not take more medicine than you are told to take.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
unusually fast, pounding, or slow heartbeat
unusually weak or tired
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
What may interact with this medicine?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
antibiotics like chloroquine, clarithromycin, erythromycin, grepafloxacin, pentamidine, sparfloxacin, troleandomycin
medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, bretylium, disopyramide, dofetilide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
antibiotics like gatifloxacin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin, mefloquine, moxifloxacin, ofloxacin, telithromycin
antihistamines for allergy, cough and cold
MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
medicines for blood pressure
medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
medicines for irregular heart beat like flecainide, propafenone
medicines for nausea or vomiting like dolasetron, ondansetron, palonosetron
medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
medicines for sleep
medicines for sleep during surgery
medicines to numb the skin
narcotic medicines for pain
phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
some medcines for cancer like dasatinib, lapatinib, sunitinib
some medicines for HIV like delavirdine, didanosine, efavirenz, nevirapine
St. John's wort
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children. This medicine can be abused. Keep your medicine in a safe place to protect it from theft. Do not share this medicine with anyone. Selling or giving away this medicine is dangerous and is against the law.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Flush any unused medicines down the toilet. Do not use the medicine after the expiration date.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
adrenal gland problem (Addison's disease)
drug abuse or addiction
fast or irregular heartbeat
frequently drink alcohol-containing drinks
kidney disease or problems going to the bathroom
low blood pressure
lung disease, asthma, COPD, or sleep apnea
an unusual or allergic reaction to methadone, other opioid analgesics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Tell your doctor or health care professional if your pain does not go away, if it gets worse, or if you have new or a different type of pain. You may develop tolerance to the medicine. Tolerance means that you will need a higher dose of the medicine for pain relief. Tolerance is normal and is expected if you take this medicine for a long time.
Talk to your family and any people you live with about the side effects of this medicine. Tell them to get medical help if you have trouble breathing, unusually loud snoring, or are too sleepy.
Do not suddenly stop taking your medicine because you may develop a severe reaction. Your body becomes used to the medicine. This does NOT mean you are addicted. Addiction is a behavior related to getting and using a drug for a non-medical reason. If you have pain, you have a medical reason to take pain medicine. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. If your doctor wants you to stop the medicine, the dose will be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.
You may get drowsy or dizzy when you first start taking this medicine or change doses. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that may be dangerous until you know how the medicine affects you. Stand or sit up slowly.
This medicine will cause constipation. Try to have a bowel movement at least every 2 to 3 days. If you do not have a bowel movement for 3 days, call your doctor or health care professional.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water may help. Contact your doctor if the problem does not go away or is severe.
Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of breastfeeding while using this medicine. This medicine does pass into breast milk. Talk to your doctor if you plan to begin or stop using this medicine while breastfeeding or if you plan to stop breastfeeding.