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Article Summary

About Methadone

Methadone is reported to be a synthetic opioid that is commonly used as an analgesic; additionally, Methadone is used to treat individuals who have become developed an addiction to many of the various different types of opiates, such as Vicodin or OxyContin. Currently in the United States, physicians are increasingly prescribing this synthetic opioid for the treatment of pain; unfortunately, because Methadone is reported to be cheap and highly effective, healthcare providers have begun to favor the use of this powerful drug.

Methadone is available in liquid form, but tablets and ampules that can be injected are also sometimes prescribed; like many prescription medications, Methadone is sometimes diverted and sold on the street. Methadone offers effects that are less intense, but that mimic heroin use; these effects include a warm sense of contentment, in which the user becomes drowsy and is not troubled about anything.

Methadone Side Effects

The side effects of Methadone encompass a host of symptoms, which may include, but are not limited to: slow and labored breathing, difficulty urinating, dry mouth, lightheadedness, constipation, drowsiness and weakness in the extremities. The side effects of methadone that are not as common may include double vision, vomiting, sweating, skin rashes, intoxication, nausea, impaired concentration, itching, palpitations, facial flushing, headaches, blurred vision, and depression. The side effects of Methadone that are the much more serious, and that could potentially be deadly can include but may not be limited to: tremors, an unstable gait, high blood pressure, fainting, muscle spasms and twitching, anaphylactic reactions, disorientation, and hallucinations.

Methadone Addiction

Just because Methadone is legal, it is still one of the most highly addictive drugs of abuse in the United States. Many heroin users will just switch drugs, as they move away from a heroin addiction, only to acquire an addiction to this powerful synthetic opioid. Methadone is similar to heroin, although it is reported to be less powerful; the effects of this synthetic opioid include euphoria and a sense of well being that is also similar to that which is derived from heroin. No matter why a person has begun taking Methadone, they are likely to become develop a physical addiction to this powerful drug. Upon developing a tolerance to the drug, the person will have to take more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same initial effects.

The signs of a Methadone addiction commonly include telling the doctor that pain is worse that it is so that they will prescribe higher doses of the drug, combining the drug with alcohol and various other drugs, and taking larger doses of the synthetic opiate than has been directed by a physician; additionally, individual that are enrolled in a Methadone Maintenance Program, yet continue to use heroin are likely struggling with a Methadone addiction.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone can be extremely difficult to detox from, because of the severity of many of the associated withdrawal symptoms, which include, but are not limited to: constant yawning, watery eyes, sneezing, body aches, fever, excessive sweating, extreme irritability, dilated pupils, abdominal cramps and tremors. It is important to note that many former heroin addicts have claimed that withdrawing from heroin is much less painful that the horror that is related to the Methadone detoxification process; for this reason alone, it is vital that anyone who is going through withdrawal from this synthetic opiate does so under the supervision of caring detox professionals within the context of a drug rehab program.

Methadone Overdose Symptoms

A Methadone overdose occurs when a person takes a higher dose of the medication that there body can readily process; unfortunately, the greatest majority of people that have died as the result of an overdose from this potent opioid were being prescribed this medication for legitimate types of pain. Because the use of Methadone for pain is relatively new in the U.S., many doctors have not taken the time to educate their patients about some of the serious effects of the drug; these same health care providers were not aware of how closely their patients should be monitored in relation to Methadone overdose symptoms. The insert that comes with the packaging recommends taking "2.5 mg. to 10 mg. every four hours as needed, which could potentially add up to as much of 80 milligrams of the powerful drug per day; on the other hand, many patients throughout the United States have died of an accidental overdose while they were taking as little as 50 milligrams of Methadone for pain.

Although Methadone overdose symptoms can vary from person to person, the most common symptoms the drug can include, but may not be limited to: blue lips, labored breathing, weak pulse, dizziness, pinpoint pupils, confusion, drowsiness, fainting, seizures and coma. When a person who has taken Methadone loses consciousness, an emergency medical team should be summoned immediately; because the drug has such a rapid effect on the user's respiratory system, a person who has used the drug could easily choke if they are encouraged to vomit.

For the best possible outcome in the case of a Methadone overdose, the emergency medical team should be given as much information about the amount of the drug that has been taken, and should be told if the user has combined the drug with alcohol or any other types of drugs; lastly, knowing the approximate time of ingestion could help the healthcare providers to determine what the best course of effective treatment should be. Treatment for a methadone overdose could include the administration of a narcotic antagonist, in order to counteract the effects of the drug; other medical options may include pumping the content of the stomach and administering IV fluids.

Methadone Treatment

The only viable solution to a Methadone addiction is to locate and secure quality drug treatment. An inpatient drug rehab center that offers Methadone treatment will help the user to finally get to the root of their substance abuse problems; they will generally accomplish this through drug education, behavioral therapy, and a quality aftercare program.

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