Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 13, 1947, Methadone is a narcotic pain reliever, analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain with people who have not responded to pain relievers. Its main uses also include being given to patients who are battling narcotic addiction or in the maintenance treatment of narcotic drug addiction.

The drug targets the central nervous system and opioid-receptors in the brain to provide analgesic relief from pain. Methadone is a Schedule II narcotic under the United States Controlled Substances Act and has been a vehicle for potential drug abuse, addiction and misuse. There is a definite possibility several patients who take Methadone for withdrawal circumstances may develop a dependence which can lead to further abuse.

A Black Box warning was issued in 2006 for methadone, meant to alert healthcare professionals, patients and consumers about the chance of cardiac toxicities that may be associated with the drug.

Side Effects and Information

There can be a chance for developing a physical addiction or abuse when taking methadone. Patients who have a history of addiction or abusing other medications, alcohol, emotional problems may be at a higher risk for this. Different cases may apply to certain individuals, so speak with your personal doctor before stopping the drug.

Several serious side effects may occur when taking the medication. If any of these are experienced, please see a physician as soon as possible:

  • Breathing that slows down
  • Change in heart beat or chest pain
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Drowsiness and faintness
  • Hallucinations
  • Shallow breathing

Do not combine methadone with any of the following medications, unless you have consulted with a medical doctor: anti-depressants, anxiety medications, muscle relaxers, narcotic pain medications, sedatives and sleeping pills.

By providing FDA alerts, drug information, interactions and drug side effects about prescription and over the counter medications, we can ensure an environment where patients have the best knowledge on their medical treatment and health.