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Methadone Side Effects

In the past methadone was a drug that was strictly used to treat those patients who suffered from chronic pain on a regular basis. However, in recent years the drug has shifted focuses and been primarily used to treat patients who suffer from addiction. Methadone was first introduced to the medical world during World War II by a German scientist and used for relief from serious pain for soldiers who were injured. Since its introduction the uses of the drug have evolved and created new and highly effective treatment plans for those who suffer from addiction to drugs such as heroin and other opiates. It is ideal for this purpose because it lasts for at least 24 hours, allows for detoxification of the body and only has to be administered once a day.

Problems with Methadone

When an addict is first put on methadone for aiding with their addiction there may be some adverse reactions that occur. For example, in the beginning of treatment more deaths are likely to occur due to excessive dosage amounts. If a doctor or physician overestimates the tolerance a person may have to the drug, it can cause death, as well as a series of other, potentially serious, issues. Additionally, if the person receiving the methadone has diseases such as pneumonia or hepatitis, it can further complicate the issues that arise and the side effects that occur.

As an opioid, it has the risk of user's developing a tolerance to the drug, as well as a psychological or physical dependency. Some of the other symptoms and side effects that may occur when a person first begins a regimen of methadone to treat an addiction includes:

  • Hypotension
  • Bronchospasms
  • Constipation
  • Edema
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Vertigo

Methadone is a drug that should not be taken for recreational purposes. In fact, it is illegal to use it in this manner, with or without a prescription. Along with the potential side effects listed above, it can easily cause over doses that are potentially life threatening to users. Knowing the warning signs of an overdose may help to be prepared for the event if it occurs. Some warning signs of a methadone overdose include things such as: spastic muscles throughout the body, difficulty or labored breathing, bluish skin, fingernails and lips, weak pulse or low blood pressure disorientation and a coma.

Many times when methadone is utilized to cure an addiction, the addict simply gives up one addiction, such as heroin, for another, methadone. In fact, because the chemicals in methadone block the "happy" feelings that are given by opiate drugs, many users utilize methadone as an alternative. A person can quickly develop a high level of tolerance to methadone and suffer withdrawal symptoms as a result.

Even if methadone is used for rehabilitation purposes, withdrawal symptoms may still occur. This is because even in small amounts, methadone can quickly become a drug that users are dependent on. To determine if a person is suffering from withdrawal from methadone look for the following symptoms:

  • Dilated or tearing eyes
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Overactive perspiration
  • Fever
  • Irritability

If withdrawal from methadone occurs, the addict may have to complete two detoxification processes. However, unlike other drugs, methadone has an extremely long recovery period. This is because it can stay in the system for so long and as a result can take up to six months to fully recover from.

Unfortunately, methadone abuse has become fairly popular in recent years. This is because it is fairly easy to obtain both legally and illegally. Addiction most commonly occurs when more than the recommended dose is taken. Once the body becomes used to the chemical, it becomes dependent on it to function normally. When the addict takes this chemical away they will likely experience the above withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, for those being treated with methadone for an addiction they may suffer even more side effects. Professionals who prescribe the drug for addiction relief purposes should stress to addicts that the use of an opiate and methadone can wind up deadly. Once on vice is cured the addict may need additional help to rid themselves of the methadone addiction. Being informed of the side effects can help a person determine if this is the right drug to help their addiction or pain situation.


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