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?
This medicine is for injection under the skin, into a muscle, or into a vein. It is usually given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.
If you get this medicine at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine. Use exactly as directed. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.
It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.
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
cold, clammy skin
feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
unusually fast 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, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use 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 against the law.
If you are using this medicine at home, you will be instructed on how to store this medicine. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date on the label.
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 or others you live with about the side effects of this medicine. Tell them to get you medical help right away if you are having 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. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
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.