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.
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.
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
signs and symptoms of a dangerous change in heartbeat or heart rhythm like chest pain; dizziness; fast or irregular heartbeat; palpitations; feeling faint or lightheaded, falls; breathing problems
signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency like nausea; vomiting; loss of appetite; fatigue; weakness; dizziness; low blood pressure
signs and symptoms of low blood pressure like dizziness; feeling faint or lightheaded, falls; unusually weak or tired
signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome like agitation; confusion; diarrhea; fast or irregular heartbeat; muscle twitching; stiff muscles; trouble walking; increased sweating; high fever; seizures; shivering; vomiting
trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
pain, redness, or irritation at the site where injected
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
certain medicines for fungal infections like itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole
certain medicines for irregular heart beat like bepridil, bretylium, dofetilide, dronedarone, quinidine
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
antihistamines for allergy, cough and cold
antiviral medicines for HIV or AIDS
certain antibiotics like clarithromycin, erythromycin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, ofloxacin, pentamidine, telithromycin, rifampin, rifapentine
certain medicines for anxiety or sleep
certain medicines for bladder problems like oxybutynin, tolterodine
certain medicines for cancer like dasatinib, lapatinib, sunitinib, vorinostat
certain medicines for depression like amitriptyline, desipramine, fluoxetine, sertraline
certain medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, disopyramide, flecainide, procainamide, propafenone, sotalol
certain medicines for malaria like chloroquine, mefloquine
certain medicines for migraine headache like almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan
certain medicines for nausea or vomiting like dolasetron, droperidol, granisetron, ondansetron
certain medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone
certain medicines for stomach problems like dicyclomine, hyoscyamine
certain medicines for travel sickness like scopolamine
certain medicines for Parkinson's disease like benztropine, trihexyphenidyl
general anesthetics like halothane, isoflurane, methoxyflurane, propofol
local anesthetics like lidocaine, pramoxine, tetracaine
MAOIs like Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
medicines that relax muscles for surgery
other medicines that prolong the QT interval (cause an abnormal heart rhythm)
other narcotic medicines for pain or cough
phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine
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.
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. Discard unused medicine and used packaging carefully. Pets and children can be harmed if they find used or lost packages.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
drug abuse or addiction
history of irregular heartbeat
if you often drink alcohol
low blood pressure
lung or breathing disease, like asthma
stomach or intestine problems
an unusual or allergic reaction to methadone, other opioid analgesics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
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.
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.
There are different types of narcotic medicines (opiates). If you take more than one type at the same time or if you are taking another medicine that also causes drowsiness, you may have more side effects. Give your health care provider a list of all medicines you use. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. Do not take more medicine than directed. Call emergency for help if you have problems breathing or unusual sleepiness.
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.
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 breast-feeding 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 breast-feeding or if you plan to stop breast-feeding.