Even though methadone is a drug used to treat addiction to opiates it can still be dangerous. Methadone is used as a pain reliever and has also been an effective treatment in opiate addiction for over 40 years. It is only available by prescription and is usually administered in methadone maintenance treatment program.
Some people who use methadone find that are allergic to the medication and must find an alternative treatment. Emergency treatment should be sought immediately if any of the following symptoms after taking methadone:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Swelling of Face, Tongue or Throat
- Hives or Rash
Methadone Side Effects that You Should be Concerned About
In addition to an allergic reaction, methadone can have other serious side effects that you should be concerned about. It is important to call for emergency treatment if you experience chest pains, racing heartbeat, or if you feel light headed or faint. If you have difficulty breathing or feel like you can’t catch your breath, or if you have mental disturbances such as paranoia, confusion or psychotic hallucinations.
Methadone use can cause less serious side effects that you should still discuss with your doctor if you experience them during your treatment. Depression, nervousness and anxiety should be reported as well as problems sleeping. Nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea or decreased appetite might occur during methadone treatment and you might experience a decrease in sexual desire or an inability to reach climax while using methadone.
Your doctor might decide that your dosage needs to be adjusted if the symptoms don’t seem to improve. For most, symptoms seem to ease after they get adjusted to the drug but other medications can be substituted if methadone isn’t tolerated well. Suboxone has also proven to be very effective in treating opiate addictions.
Interaction with Other Drugs or Alcohol
Methadone’s effects can be increased if they are mixed with alcohol or other medications that you might be taking. It is important to disclose all medications that you are currently prescribed for health conditions for your heart, diabetes, kidney failure, etc.
You shouldn’t be drinking while you’re on a methadone regimen. Mixing alcohol with methadone can make you weak or drowsy and confused. It can slow your breathing and cause a drop in blood pressure and in some cases can result in coma or death.
Pros Versus Cons of Taking Methadone
While the use of methadone can have unpleasant side effects the benefits of taking methadone still far outweigh being addicted to heroin, oxycontin or other opiates. Methadone is legal so the criminal element is completely removed. Unlike heroin, you know what you’re getting because it is manufactured by a pharmaceutical company as opposed to being made on the street and mixed with what ever the “chef” has on hand, plus the batch might not be mixed well so you might get a hit that has more heroin causing an increased chance of an overdose.
Opiate addiction is dangerous, plain and simple. Taking part in a methadone program is much safer than using illicit drugs and taking the chance of getting arrested or even worse. Methadone programs also cut down on diseases that are transmitted by sharing needles which makes it safer for the community too and according to the CDC, participating in a methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) reduces the rate of mortality by nearly 30 percent of opiate addicts not in an MMT.