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Essential Facts about Methadone Overdose

Methadone Hydrochloride is a type of opioid medication used in relieving moderate or severe pains and in treating individuals who suffer from heroin or morphine addiction. The drug also serves as a suitable treatment for those who are addicted to morphine-like drugs or substances. In the United States, the drug is considered as a narcotic and controlled substance.

How Methadone Works

Methadone binds to the body's opioid receptors, and it works effectively in minimizing or eliminating pain. When the drug is used as detoxification or maintenance treatment for drug addicts, methadone works in various ways including the following:

  • Reducing the intense craving for opioids
  • Relieving symptoms linked with withdrawal from opioids
  • Preventing the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids
  • Ensuring stability of the person's moods by eliminating the effects of methadone from the brain and body

However, the drug is effective in treating individuals who suffer from an addiction to non-opioid drugs or substances. It also does not have any effect on those who are addicted to alcohol or tobacco.

Side Effects of Methadone

As with most types of drugs, methadone can cause various side effects including the following:

  • Cirrhosis, hepatitis or other liver diseases
  • Kidney disease or renal failure
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Various types of heart disease
  • Electrolyte imbalance or significantly low levels of potassium
  • Hypotension or low blood pressure
  • Head injury
  • Lung disease
  • Severe and chronic abdominal pains
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Asthma
  • Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy and enlarged prostate
  • Allergies to dyes, preservatives and food

Precautions Before Taking Methadone

Those who plan to take this medication should discuss with their doctor any existing medical or health condition that may cause them to suffer from adverse reactions to the drug. For instance, those who are breastfeeding or pregnant are not advised to take methadone. The drug may also affect the body negatively when mixed with other medications including herbal supplements, vitamins and non-prescription drugs.

Methadone Overdose

Methadone is a narcotic that can treat and relieve intense pain. The drug comes in different forms such as a tablet or concentrated solution. The tablet form should be dissolved in fruit juice or water before use while the concentrated solution must be mixed with liquid.

Individuals who accidentally or intentionally ingest more than the required dosage of the drug are likely to suffer from an overdose. The common symptoms of methadone overdose include the following:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weak pulse
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle twitches
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Muscle twitching
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Exhaustion or fatigue

Methadone overdose can also cause a person to experience breathing difficulties and lack of oxygenated blood in the body. When this occurs, an individual may have bluish lips, fingernails and skin. An overdose in this drug may also lead to a coma or stroke, as well as respiratory arrest.

Immediate Action to Treat Drug Overdose

Anyone who suffers from an overdose requires prompt medical attention. Those who know someone who has ingested huge amounts of the drug should contact the Poison Control Department. Moreover, the patient should not be forced to vomit just to get rid of the ingested drug unless advised by a certified medical professional. Obtaining prompt treatment and medication is imperative when helping an individual who suffers from a drug overdose. Moreover, the patient may be required to undergo hospitalization for observation and treatment. It may also be necessary for the patient to receive several doses of treatment before he or she can regain health and recover from an overdose.

Possible Health Risks and Treatment Options

An overdose can alter a person's breathing patterns, and it is likely that the patient will suffer from brain damage due to suppressed respiration. Those who are suspected of suffering from a drug overdose should obtain medical attention, which can reduce the adverse effects and life-threatening effects of the drug. It is also advisable for drug addicts to undergo rehabilitation, so they can recover well from the effects of methadone. In addition, these individuals should consult trained professionals and medical experts who can help them surpass the difficulty caused by methadone addiction and overdose. These patients also need support groups and counselors that can guide them and motivate them to live a better and drug-free life.


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