About Methadone

Why is this medication prescribed?

Methadone is used to relieve moderate to severe pain that has not been relieved by non-narcotic pain relievers. It is a long-acting synthetic narcotic that was developed by the Germans during World War II for treating its soldiers. It also is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients who were addicted to opiate drugs and are enrolled in treatment programs in order to stop taking or continue not taking the drugs.

Methadone has been used for over 40 years in approved clinics in the treatment of opiate addiction. Because of its longactionit is ideal for two reasons.

How should this medicine be used?

Methadone comes as a tablet, a dispersible tablet (can be dissolved in liquid), a solution (liquid), and a concentrated solution (liquid that must be diluted before use) to take by mouth.  If you take methadone as part of a treatment program, your doctor will prescribe the dosing schedule that is best for you usually once a day.

Your doctor may change your dose of methadone during your treatment. Your doctor may increase or decrease your dose as necessary as your treatment continues.

Do not stop taking methadone without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably want to decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking methadone, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, teary eyes, runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, muscle pain, and widened pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes).