Dolophine, an opioid prescribed for severe pain, has a high risk of abuse and dependence, increasing the chances for addiction.

Dolophine, a brand name for methadone, is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the US under the regulation of the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA. As such, the drug has a legitimate medical use but also a high risk of abuse and dependence.

Article at a Glance:

  • Dolophine, a brand name for methadone, is used for severe pain and for opioid addiction treatment
  • As a Schedule II controlled substance, Dolophine is a high-risk drug for abuse and dependence
  • Serious side effects include slowed breathing, which can be fatal
  • Medical detox and rehab are options to help you overcome your struggle with Dolophine

Dolophine Addiction

Dolophine, like all prescription opioids, is highly addictive. Patients prescribed and taking the medication responsibly may still develop a dependence or tolerance. Signs which may point to addiction can include:

  • Becoming obsessed with finding and taking the drug
  • Losing interest in the hobbies or activities you once found enjoyable
  • Performing poorly or irregularly at school or at work

These should all be reported to a doctor or healthcare professional as soon as they become noticeable.

What is Dolophine?

Dolophine is the brand name of the synthetic opioid methadone. It’s classified as an opioid analgesic, which means that it changes the way the brain feels and responds to pain. The drug is manufactured as round, white 5 and 10 mg tablets. It is FDA-approved to treat chronic pain in patients who require around-the-clock pain relief. This medication should only be used to treat ongoing pain and is not meant for managing mild or breakthrough pain.

Experts consider Dolophine a safer option than many other opioids in people with kidney problems due to its limited breakdown products.

Other methadone products, including dissolvable tablets and liquids, are also FDA-approved to treat opioid addiction in a treatment program because they can stop cravings and withdrawal symptoms caused by other opioid drugs.

Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Abuse

Dolophine’s most common side effects include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating

Serious side effects are similar to other opioids and include respiratory depression and a severe drop in blood pressure.

Dolophine Overdose

The risk of overdose when taking Dolophine is highest is when it is taken without the guidance of a medical professional. For this reason, doctors generally prescribe only the lowest effective dose.

Further, the opioid is processed by the body in a slightly different way than many other opioids. This may increase the risk of overdose. The peak pain-relieving effect of Dolophine occurs before the peak risk of slowed breathing, or respiratory depression. Because it can take 3 to 5 days for your body to feel the full impact of a dose change, your doctor may increase your Dolophine dose slowly and over a long period of time to avoid accidental overdose.

Dolophine should never be used recreationally due to the high risk of overdose. Symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Flaccid muscles
  • Weakness
  • Purple/blue fingernails and lips
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Small pupils
  • Respiratory depression
  • Inability to stay awake or alert

Pinpoint pupils, severe respiratory depression and severely decreased levels of consciousness are the core symptoms of an overdose. They are referred to as the “opioid overdose triad.”

Dolophine, like other opioids, is a central nervous system depressant. It suppresses the body’s natural instinct to breathe by acting directly on the brain stem, the area of the brain that controls respiratory drive. The ultimate result is a serious drop in oxygen levels in the tissues (hypoxia) which can cause organ failure throughout the body. Hypoxia is responsible for the blue lips and fingers that characterize an overdose.

Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone contact Web Poison Control Services for online assistance.

Dolophine and Alcohol

The combined use of Dolophine with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol can lead to potentially life-threatening complications such as:

  • Extreme sedation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death

This occurs because central nervous system depressants can have an additive effect on the brain and body. As such, your central nervous system can become overly depressed, which may be fatal. Central nervous system depressants include:

  • Opioids
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Sedatives
  • Antihistamines
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Seizure medications
  • Antipsychotics
  • Alcohol
  • Some street drugs, including heroin

Long-Term Consequences

Due to its risk of abuse and dependence, misusing Dolophine over the long term can increase your risk of addiction. When you are addicted to a substance, it is difficult for you to stop taking the substance even if you are aware of its serious negative effects on your life.

Dolophine Withdrawal

Accredited rehab facilities may administer methadone products to people who are struggling to overcome opioid addiction. This strategy is often called medication-assisted treatment, or MAT.

If you no longer wish to use Dolophine, you should contact your doctor before adjusting your methadone dose. This is true regardless of if you are taking methadone products for pain relief or for MAT. In most cases, doctors will lower your dose over time. This strategy of tapering off the medication helps the body gradually adjust to less of the medication. In turn, you have a better chance of avoiding severe withdrawal symptoms.

Do not stop taking the drug suddenly or “cold turkey,” as this will greatly increase your risk of withdrawal symptoms. If you take methadone products for MAT, this may also seriously increase your risk of relapse.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Dolophine withdrawal symptoms are often less severe than those of other opioids like morphine. Nonetheless, symptoms can include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Diarrhea

Withdrawal Timeline and Symptom Duration

Long-acting opioids like methadone typically cause withdrawal symptoms that start between 12 and 48 hours after you have stopped the drug. These symptoms can last between 10 and 20 days.

If you are having difficulty managing withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended that you enter a medically-assisted detoxification program to help you during this troubling time. In this program, patients can detox in a safe place and ask medically-trained professionals questions about the withdrawal process.

Remember, no one experiences withdrawal in the same way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Dolophine Addiction Treatment & Detox

Overcoming a struggle with Dolophine or other methadone products is difficult on your own. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings can make it hard to stay sober. Medical detox, the first step in recovery, is important to help wean you off Dolophine while minimizing withdrawal symptoms. Following medical detox, rehab is important to teach you coping techniques for life without drugs and to explore why you started struggling with Dolophine in the first place.

Choosing a Dolophine Rehab Center

Choosing an accredited rehab facility that will suit your needs is an important step in living a happier, healthier substance-free life. To make the most informed decision possible, it is recommended that patients set up a meeting with their doctors to discuss their unique needs.

The Recovery Village has a variety of resources that can be tailored to fit each patient’s needs. To learn more about these life-saving programs, contact us today to talk with one of our helpful representatives.

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction or another form of substance abuse disorder, do not delay in seeking the help you need. Although recovery isn’t easy, our staff will be with you every step of the way.

FAQs & Related

How is Dolophine used?

Dolophine should only be used as your doctor prescribes it. It should be taken by mouth on a regular schedule – not as needed for any breakthrough pain.

If you are taking the opioid in its liquid form, be sure to measure doses carefully with the special measuring device given to you by your pharmacist. Do not use a household spoon or other measurement devices, as you will likely measure an incorrect dose of the medication.

In the event of an emergency, should naloxone be administered to reverse a Dolophine overdose?

Naloxone, also known by its brand names Narcan and Evzio, is an opioid antidote. It is usually given as a nasal spray, but also comes as an injectable drug. It should be used when an overdose victim has symptoms like:

  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Passing out and not waking up

If you give naloxone to someone, you should call 911. This is true even if the person seems to respond to the drug. Naloxone starts to work within three minutes. However, it wears off within 90 minutes. Therefore, it is possible for someone to stop breathing again after the drug wears off.

How long does Dolophine stay in your system?

Dolophine can take up to five days to build up to maximally effective levels in the body. The actual time it takes for the drug to be removed from your system varies according to each patient’s unique metabolic factors.

Generally, Dolophine can be detected in your blood for up to 55 hours and in your saliva for up to two days. It can show up in your urine for up to 14 days. Methadone is also found in the hair. In general, 1.5 inches of hair growth shows drugs taken in the past 90 days.

a man in a black shirt smiling at the camera.
Editor – Rob Alston
Rob Alston has traveled around Australia, Japan, Europe, and America as a writer and editor for industries including personal wellness and recovery. Read more
a woman wearing glasses and a white robe.
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more
Read Next

Drug Enforcement Administration. “Controlled Substances.” May 5, 2020. Accessed July 25, 2020.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Dolophine.” October 9, 2019. Accessed July 25, 2020.

Arnold, Robert; Verrico, Peg; Kamell, Andrew; Davison, Sara N. “Opioid Use in Renal Failure.” Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin, March 2020. Accessed July 25, 2020.

American Society of Addiction Medicine. “National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use.” June 1, 2015. Accessed July 25, 2020.

Schiller, Elizabeth; Goyal, Amandeep; Cao, Fei; Mechanic, Oren. “Opioid Overdose.” StatPearls, January 2020. Accessed July 25, 2020.

World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Manag[…]e in Closed Settings.” 2009. Accessed July 25, 2020.

Anne Arundel County Department of Health. “Naloxone: Frequently Asked Questions.” Updated September 9, 2019. Accessed July 25, 2020.

ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” January 2019. Accessed July 25, 2020.

Cansford Laboratories. “Oral Fluid (Saliva) Testing.” Accessed July 25, 2020.

Himes, Sarah K; Goodwin, Robert S; Rock, Colleen M. “Methadone and Metabolites in Hair of Met[…]en and Their Infants.” Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, June 1, 2013. Accessed July 25, 2020.

Gryczynski J, Schwartz RP, Mitchell SG, et al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-repor[…]isk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, May 17, 2014. Accessed July 25, 2020.

National Cancer Institute. “Central nervous system depressant.” Accessed July 25, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.