Is Methadone Ever Prescribed for Pain?
As you may well know, methadone is an opioid agonist medication that is prescribed to treat opioid addiction in many individuals. According to the National Library of Medicine, though, the drug is also “used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medications around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications.”
Who is Prescribed Methadone?
People who need methadone specifically and cannot be treated with another medication may be prescribed the drug in order to treat their chronic, severe pain. Normally, a person will not be prescribed methadone for pain unless they specifically need it. This is because the drug, although a viable treatment option for opioid addiction, can quickly cause addictive behavior in those who end up abusing it. Therefore, most doctors will attempt to use another medication instead of methadone to treat pain. If no other method works and if the patient truly requires a long-acting pain medication, they may be prescribed methadone for their pain management.
How is Methadone Dosed When Used for Pain Management?
According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, “Although it has unique pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics properties, the general principles of dosing methadone are similar to those of other opioids.” A patient will normally receive the dose that best manages their pain symptoms without causing the euphoric effects of the drug. The patient will also need to be weaned off the medication once they no longer need it, or they will experience severe withdrawal effects such as muscle and bone pain, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Is It Safe to Take Methadone as a Pain Medication?
When a doctor doses the drug correctly, stays informed with their patient, and generally works hard to ensure that the individual is being managed safely on the medication, yes, it is perfectly safe to take methadone as a pain management drug. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. states there are “growing accounts of this medication’s adverse effects––which likely stem from its increased use for treating pain, along with physician inexperience in prescribing it.” It is important for doctors to be very careful when prescribing this medication.
It is not only the doctor’s job, though, to make sure the patient is taking their medication safely. Patients must also avoid abusing the medication in any way and must inform their physician if they are considering doing so. It is very dangerous for a person to abuse their methadone medication because methadone addiction is extremely serious and prevalent. If you are prescribed methadone for pain, you must stay aware of your feelings toward the drug as well as your dosage amount at all times.
Methadone Can Treat Pain…
But it is important to remember that, like other opioids, it can cause addiction and other dangerous consequences if misused. If you would like to learn more about methadone as a medication or the many uses for the drug, call 800-530-0431Who Answers? today.