A growing number of people in the country, and even worldwide, have already become addicted to drugs. Common turn to drugs has been heroin and other prescription painkillers.
- American Society of Addiction Medicine revealed that the FDA approved methadone in 1994 is an analgesic.
- Methadone has since been used for the treatment of heroin withdrawal and other opioids in the 1950s.
- By mid-60s, researchers discovered that the drug can also be used by individuals who are suffering from opioid addiction and need a maintenance medication to function in their regular routines.
- Emergency visits related to the nonmedical use of the drug have been reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to have increased by 73% from 2004-2008.
Despite these benefits, a negative impact has been found about this common medicine. While methadone is able to provide relief from opioid cravings and can also block the feelings of euphoria, the drug itself has been found with several properties that have allowed this effect. The potentially high risks with methadone use include:
- The long half-life of methadone in the body.
- The ingredients of methadone that stay in the system after the effects of the drug have worn off.
- Possible interactions with other types of drugs.
- How it can get you high.
- How it works in the body.
Methadone is often prescribed in the form of liquid, a pill, or wafer with a typical prescribed dose of once each day.
In most cases, the individual will be released from pain for about 4 to 8 hours. This medication can also block the effects of drugs that make a person feel high such as in heroin, morphine, oxycodone and even hydrocodone. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices also reveals that methadone is being prescribed for moderate to severe chronic pain relief.
The half-life of methadone is 24 to 36 hours on average.
However, some ingredients of the drug can linger in the body even 5 days after the last use and can also be stored in the patient’s liver and body tissues. Methadone is eliminated at different rates, which are dependent on each person. The more tolerant the person is, the faster the drug is metabolized. When taken properly, a patient who struggles from opiate addiction will be able to continue in his normal daily activities while abstaining from the use of opiate drugs while simultaneously managing the withdrawal symptoms.
The symptoms of methadone overdose include:
- Mood swings
- Altered perception
- Feeling overly energized
- Respiratory failure
There are three specific patterns of overdose identified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. A patient is likely to overdose if they are found initially intolerant or else lose tolerance to the drug after stopping for some time. Overdose can also occur when the toxicity accumulates inside the body. The remaining doses may combine with those that are yet to be eliminated from the body. Methadone is also believed to be lethal when in combination with and central nervous system depressants like alprazolam and fluoxetine, as well as other opioids.