Methadone

Methadone

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    Methadone is a prescription drug, and is part of a group of drugs known as Opioids. Opioids are depressant drugs, which means they slow down the messages travelling between the brain and the rest of the body. Methadone is taken as a replacement for heroin and other opioids as part of treatment for dependence on these drugs. Replacing a drug of dependence with a prescribed drug in this way is known as pharmacotherapy.

    As well as improving wellbeing by preventing physical withdrawal, pharmacotherapy helps to stabilise the lives of people who are dependent on heroin and other opioids, and to reduce the harms related to drug use. Methadone is also used to relieve pain following heart attacks, trauma and surgery.

  • Common Names

     

    Done or “The Done”

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    How is it used?

    Maintenance (long-term programs): May last for months or years and aim to reduce the harms associated with drug use and improve quality of life.
    Withdrawal (short-term detoxification programs): Run for approximately 5-14 days and aim to ease the discomfort of stopping the use of heroin.les, powder or crystal.

    For pain relief methadone is administered through an injection or tablets.

  • How effective is it?

    Methadone treatment is more likely to be successful if it is part of a comprehensive treatment program, which addresses the body, mind and environment in which heroin has been used. For example, treatment may include a combination of methadone, counselling, alternative therapies and the development of a positive support network of peers, friends and a support group. Methadone maintenance may not work for everyone, so it is important to work with a doctor or drug counselor to find the best approach.

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Advantages of using Methadone

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    • Using methadone on its own is unlikely to result in an overdose.
    • Methadone maintenance keeps the person stable while they make positive changes in their life.
    • Health problems are reduced or avoided, especially those related to injecting, such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses, skin infections and vein problems.
    • Doses are required only once a day, sometimes even less often, because methadone’s effects are long lasting.
    • Methadone is much cheaper than heroin.

Side Effects of Methadone

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    There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries risk – even medications can produce unwanted side effects.

    Methadone affects everyone differently, based on:

    • Size, weight and health
    • Whether the person is used to taking it
    • Whether other drugs are taken around the same time
    • The amount taken

    The effects of methadone last much longer than the effects of heroin. A single dose lasts for about 24 hours, whereas a dose of heroin may only last for a couple of hours. People with pre-existing impaired liver function (due to conditions such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or prolonged alcohol use) may require careful monitoring while receiving methadone treatment.

    Copied
    There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries risk – even medications can produce unwanted side effects.

    Methadone affects everyone differently, based on:

    • Size, weight and health
    • Whether the person is used to taking it
    • Whether other drugs are taken around the same time
    • The amount taken

    The effects of methadone last much longer than the effects of heroin. A single dose lasts for about 24 hours, whereas a dose of heroin may only last for a couple of hours. People with pre-existing impaired liver function (due to conditions such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or prolonged alcohol use) may require careful monitoring while receiving methadone treatment.

  • The most common side effects of methadone are:

    Sweating (drink at least 2 litres of water each day to prevent dehydration)

    Difficulty passing urine

    Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting

    Abdominal cramps

    Constipation

    Aching muscles and joints

    Irregular periods

    Low sex drive

    Rashes and itching

    Sedation

    Copied
    The most common side effects of methadone are:

    Sweating (drink at least 2 litres of water each day to prevent dehydration)

    Difficulty passing urine

    Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting

    Abdominal cramps

    Constipation

    Aching muscles and joints

    Irregular periods

    Low sex drive

    Rashes and itching

    Sedation

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    Dose-related effects:

    Some people on methadone programs will experience unwanted symptoms during their treatment due to their dosage not being right for them. This occurs particularly at the beginning of treatment.

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    Dose-related effects:

    Some people on methadone programs will experience unwanted symptoms during their treatment due to their dosage not being right for them. This occurs particularly at the beginning of treatment.

  • Long-term effects:

    Methadone in its pure form will not cause damage to the major organs of the body. Prolonged use of methadone will not cause any physical damage.

    Copied
    Long-term effects:

    Methadone in its pure form will not cause damage to the major organs of the body. Prolonged use of methadone will not cause any physical damage.

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The effects of taking Methadone with other drugs including over-the-counter or prescribed medications can be unpredictable and dangerous.