Methadone Addiction

A synthetic opioid or narcotic commonly used to reduce withdrawal symptoms, particularly in people addicted to heroin, Methadone is used primarily as part of treatment for drug addiction. Methadone is used in place of heroin during the detoxification stage of treatment, and it can also be used for recovery maintenance. This narcotic was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1947, and while it can be helpful in the treatment of addiction to other drugs, people who use it, whether for pain or addiction withdrawal symptoms, are becoming addicted at increasingly high rates. Methadone tends to be powerful, and the impacts last for a long time. It’s also less expensive than other prescription painkillers, which are some of the primary reasons it’s become a popular and often deadly drug.
Methadone is a synthetic, prescription opioid that acts as a painkiller, with effects similar to morphine. It is a narcotic that tends to have a slower onset, and the thought in its use as a withdrawal treatment option is that because of this, users don’t experience the same high they do with other drugs. The objective in its initial development was to create a pain reliever with similar effects of morphine, without the addictive elements.

Methadone was first introduced as an alternative to morphine in the mid-1900s by scientists in Germany. Methadone was introduced in the U.S. in 1947 as a pain reliever, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that research started focusing on its use to deal with addiction to other narcotics.

In 1971, the U.S. Federal Government began regulating the use of methadone for the treatment of addiction to heroin, and in 2001, regulations were altered. These changes started to allow health care providers to provide methadone more consistently.

It’s been shown to help people addicted to other drugs experience a reduction in symptoms for up to 36 hours. Despite the effectiveness in terms of reducing withdrawal symptoms, methadone is very addictive in and of itself, and users quickly build a tolerance to the drug, which can lead them to take very high, and often lethal doses. Methadone can also have a significant impact on the user’s physical and psychological health, particularly over time.

Methadone treatment for people addicted to heroin and other drugs has shown some success. However, treatment providers and researchers increasingly see that resulting methadone addiction isn’t a rarity. Instead, it’s something that happens with the majority of people treated with the synthetic opioid. There are also people who become addicted to methadone and utilize it as their drug of choice, even without having been prescribed it through a treatment program.

The generic name of the drug is methadone, and brand names include:

  • Dolophine
  • Methadone HCI Intensol
  • Methadose
  • Methadose Sugar-Free
Methadone is available in both liquid and pill form. The pill form is available at varying dosages, and the pills may look different from one another based not only on the dosage but also the manufacturer.

For example, Roxanne Laboratories manufacturers pills in 5mg, 10 mg, and 40 mg tablets. The 5mg and 10mg tablets are small, white and round with scoring on one side, while numbers are printed on the other.

The Dolophine brand is a round, white tablet, imprinted with different numbers based on dosage as well, and some brands, such as Methadose, have the brand name also printed on the tablet, along with scoring on the opposite side.

Methadone is also available as an oral concentrate, and brand names include Methadose Oral Concentrate (methadone hydrochloride oral concentrate USP), and Methadose Sugar-Free Oral Concentrate (methadone hydrochloride oral concentrate USP), which is dye-free and sugar-free. The oral concentrate is available in a 10 mg/mL dosage. Also available is an oral solution, with dosages of 5 and 10 mg directed per teaspoon.

Methadone, as with many of the other most addictive prescription medications, is a potent Schedule II opioid pain medication. Other Schedule II opioids include oxycodone, oxymorphone, and morphine. This synthetic opiate is used in drug treatment for addictions to other substances like heroin and is often given under the guidance of medical professionals in treatment facilities and what are called methadone clinics. Despite this, as mentioned, many people who receive methadone become addicted to it. Methadone addiction is real.

Regular use of this opiate can cause physical dependency, regardless of whether or not you’re prescribed it, and this can mean you then have withdrawal symptoms if you stop using it. Often, people who are dependent on methadone say that withdrawal symptoms are more long-lasting and serious than with other opiates, and can include everything from irritability and sweating, paranoia and even suicide.

Studies have shown that people who start taking methadone often continue taking it for 20 years or more.

Many people wonder how does methadone make you feel?

The methadone high can create feelings of euphoria although not like what’s seen with drugs like heroin. It can also stop cravings, which is a key reason it’s used in detox and drug treatment programs. When taking it, the person will usually experience pain relief or anywhere from 4-8 hours, and methadone actually blocks the things that make people feel high from drugs like heroin and oxycodone. What’s important to note with methadone, however, is that with proper dosages, the person taking methadone shouldn’t really feel a high.

Methadone is a slow-release drug, so it doesn’t necessarily give the instant kick of euphoria unless large amounts are taken, but that desire to get a methadone high is what leads many people to overdose. In an attempt to get a euphoric feeling, if someone takes methadone more quickly than their body can metabolize it, toxicity and poisoning can occur.

Methadone depresses the central nervous system, and using it along with other drugs that have a similar impact can be dangerous or deadly. Some of the types of drugs that can have a particularly negative effect when combined with methadone include sedatives, hypnotics, and other opioids.

Tranquilizers, general anesthetics, and alcohol can also lead to an increased risk of problems including depression of the respiratory system, sedation, coma, and death. Benzodiazepines, which are tranquilizers used in the treatment of anxiety, can be especially harmful when paired with methadone.

Specific examples of interactions that can slow the metabolism, lead to coma and ultimately result in death when paired with methadone include morphine, Vicodin, and OxyContin.

Suboxone is another prescription medication often used to treat people who are addicted to opioids, so people wonder whether or not they can take methadone and suboxone together, and if so, what the interaction effects will be. According to the manufacturers of Suboxone, methadone and suboxone shouldn’t be taken together, because it can result in dangerous results related to the nervous system and breathing problems.

Medicines used to treat a range of conditions including mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, infections, nausea, and migraines can also interact with methadone, leading to something called serotonin syndrome.

While clinicians still see some benefits to the use of methadone for the treatment of withdrawal symptoms, and also for some instances of pain management, there has also been an increasing number of deaths resulting from its use.

  • The most popular brand of methadone is Dolophine, but other brand names include Methadose, Methadone Diskets, and Methadose Sugar-Free
  • Methadone stays in the system of the user up to 60 hours, which is much longer than heroin, which only remains in the system for around 4-6 hours
  • The number of poisoning deaths that involved methadone went up more than 700 percent between 2001 and 2014
  • People who die from opioids, in general, are mostly white males who are between the ages of 34 and 55
  • States with the highest death rates related to opioid use include Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine
  • According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly 2.5 million people over the age of 12 reported abusing methadone in their life in 2012. This was more than an increase of two million people from the prior year.
  • In 2011, more than 65,000 emergency room visits were attributed to the use of methadone.
(Patterson, n.d.) (Abuse, 2011) (Center, 2003) (Everyday Health, n.d.) (, n.d.) (CESAR, n.d.) (Omudhome Ogbru, n.d.)
Methadone Addiction was last modified: July 8th, 2017 by The Recovery Village