What is Methadone?: Methadone is an opiate that was first introduced after World War II as an alternative to morphine. Methadone was originally thought to be less addictive because of its extremely long half life. Today, methadone is used as an analgesic for pain management and more popularly as replacement therapy for heroin and other opiate addictions. Methadone is a cheap alternative to other opiate based medications which outweighs it potency when prescribing.
In 2004 close to 4000 people died from methadone. In 2005 Methadone was implicated in over 4700 deaths. That does not include auto accidents caused by those driving under the influence of methadone.
Ask your doctor about alternatives
~ There are many other effective pain relievers on the market, do not just accept Methadone because it's cheaper...cheap is not always better
~ For addiction consider Suboxone, Buprenorphine, inpatient treatment, or detoxification...know that embarking on MMT is developing a new addiction that may be harder to overcome then your current one
Mixing other Medications or Drugs with Methadone can be deadly
~ Methadone is contraindicated with many medications you may need to take
~ Over the counter cough and flu medicines have been deadly mixed with Methadone
~ Benzodiazepines such as (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Restoril etc..) are the most common drugs found in the deceased victim
~ Even taking other medications as prescribed with Methadone can kill
~ Be wary of mixing certain herbal supplements and grapefruit juice with Methadone
Methadone is Cardio Toxic
~ Insist on regular EKG's and ECG's from your doctor while on Methadone
~ For additional information on the cardio toxicity of Methadone, QT Prolongation, and Torsades de Pointes please see the research articles
~ Notify your doctor if you have Asthma, Sleep Apnea or high blood pressure prior to accepting Methadone Treatment
~ If you are overweight you may have an increased risk for respiratory depression or sleep apnea while on Methadone
~ Notify your friends and family that you are taking Methadone
~ Ask your doctor for a prescription of NARCAN (this is the overdose antidote) during the induction phase (first 2 weeks of treatment) you are at increased risk for overdose and death
Call your doctor ASAP if you are experiencing
1. Migraines / Headaches
2. Difficulty / Shallow or Slow Breathing
3. Pinpoint Pupils
4. Vomiting / Nausea
6. Disorientation / Dizziness
7. Limp Muscles
8. Itching / Hives / Rash
~ Advise family and friends to call 911 immediately if they hear a loud, strange snoring or gurgling sound coming from you while you are sleeping
~ If you are feeling faint or nodding out (falling asleep spontaneously) do NOT take more Methadone ... contact your doctor and do NOT drive
I found this website called HARMD a while ago, the information in this website and the statistics about methadone are scary, and this does cover methadone maintenance and NUMEROUS people that died by taking one illicit 5 or 10 mg dose of methadone, JUST ONE PILL CAN KILL !! and the facts are staggering...
if you are interested in any of my research about methadone...just let me know. there is nothing safe about this medication at all, not even one songle dose is safe.
and as far as methadone maintenance therapy - I understand addiction and the facts that show and prove that addiction IS a disease. some people MAY require methadone for life. but do know if you thinking about MMT as your way top treat your disease, your dose MAY be upped on a regular basis, most, not all, but most find after being on the same dose of methadone for an extended time, the dose will need to be increased over and over again, your dose is never enough to sustain you for life in most not all cases...
suboxone is NOT like this and is also a preferred and recommended alternative to methadone in most if not all cases but HARMD.
HARMD also has a memorial page for any one that has lost a loved one to methadone, whether it be MMT or a 1 time illicit use of methadone.
METHADONE IS THE #2 KILLER DRUG IN AMERICA....FACT!
Very informative post. People have to be warned of the dangers of methadone. Until we began educating ourself, we knew nothing but the doctors biased info. It is sad but true that most doctors do not know near as much about that drug as many of us here.
I was a bit anger stricken at the post pushing methadone for detox,,,,the amounts she indicated taking could be lethal even to someone using opiates. Now I understand the post was meant to help, but that doesn't change the fact someone could die taking her advice. Am I just being a b*t*h?
no...you are right on target with that bit of info...check out that site i sent you...there are numerous people that have died from taking 1 methadone pill..1 pill can kill...its the truth...they also list the amout of deaths by state, and a lot of statistics...
i already lost a very close friend and ex-room mate to methadone, prescribed by a doctor in pill form...i cant get him back...but i can help warn people how utterly dangerous it is
i have NEVER seen you be a b***h...its not you, trust me...
we dont know...it showed he had only taken 6 methadone tablets in about a 48 hour time frame ,according to the autopsey results...so its hard to say if it was just 1 pill or the toxicity of methadone, the build up because of the half life...we will never really know.
my kids were crushed though...he was a gifted artist and lived with us for over a year before he moved out and then passed away about 8 months later...
Sad, very sad. There are many in your journal that only took one dose of methadone and it killed them right?
It is so inexcusable for Dr.'s to prescribe it for any old reason. I HATE METHADONE!!
DANGEROUS! DANGEROUS! DANGEROUS!!!!
yes...and there were so many more i could have posted...some were so sad to read...it s just unbelievable....
and my friend that died was a big man too...6'4" about 270 lbs...so its not like he took too much for his body size or anything either...if that even matters...i miss him...my husband was and is devastated...
That is so sad. I am sorry for your loss. As I stated, I am fortunate to still have my friend after the methadone. I just get very angry over the whole methadone topic. I have to get some sleep now. Have a good night and a wonderful Easter!!
There are also many people greatly helped by methadone. So long as it is licit and EKC/ECG are checked regularly, many people have been given their lives back by this drug. It is dangerous no doubt due to respiratory depression (all opiates #1 killing mechanism), but especially the long half-life.
6 x 10mg. pills in a 48 hour period would kill most opiate-naive individuals or come very close. It sounds as if his use was illicit.
Automobile accidents cause hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, yet automobiles continue to be legal because they are practical and people/economy benefit from them. THe same objective analyses must be applied to methadone and it's place in society. I don't want my uncle going back to smack now that he's able to work as a network administrator due to methadone maintenance.
There are always multiple truths, and there are always multiple points of view. Let's keep it objective. Be safe out there!
Further, methadone is absolutely necessary for certain groups of chronic pain patients whom only respond to nmda-antagonist portion of the methadone, as well as the added potency (read: comfort) for end-stage cancer/renal patients on the precipice of death.
Most other opiates except buprenorphine and laam are mu-agonist only; the nmda-antagonist portion of the methadone etiology is a life saver for certain groups with severe intractable pain, and end stage patients. The long half-life helps keep the patient from experiencing daily roller-coasters of euphoria and dysphoria. In fact, methadone can barely produce a "high" at all, such as those compared with hydrocodone/oxyocodone.
I suspect the cardiotoxicity/torsades issue will be dealt with once the scientists circumvent the potent potassium blocking mechanism indigenous to methadone.
It is so sad that so many people are dying from prescription drugs. Is it because there are more people in the world? Or more ways to report and discover the trends ? Or is it because pills are en vogue right now ? (hollywood is all vicodin all the time these days).
Our most important issues are to stop diversion ( stopping most deaths) while making sure that accessibilty remains for those whos quality of life would otherwise be nil to unbearable.
Opiates are an enigma. It's OK to be mad when bad things happen, but make sure you move past that and continue to use reason and rational thought when approaching an issue that affects so profoundly hundreds of thousands (million(s) ?) quality of life.
Always more than one truth. Examine from ALL sides, not just YOUR side.
Just wondering, if someone could glean the stat... .how many people die each year from being hit by drunk drivers ? How much irrepairable damage done by alcoholic behavior and poor decisions on alcohol ?
Alcohol doesn't even have any positive effects for patients!!!!! Something to chew on.....
One 5mg or 10mg methadone pill is physically incapable of killing anyone, even if they are 100% opiate naive. The only realistic way would be allergy/anaphylactic shock, which is exceedingly rare for anyone to be allergic. Even if, 5-10mg would probably not cause anaphylaxis serious enough to cause death.
A 40mg. 'wafer" (which have now been restricted to clinic/in-person use only, which I wholly approve of BTW), could very well stand a chance of approaching LD50 for an opiate naive person.
6 pills in 48 hours for a relatively opiate naive person could also enter ld50 territory.
Weight doesn't much to do with propensity to die from N dose. 80-90% of a methadone dose is absorbed via po (oral) use (a VERY efficient percentage for oral medication), placing it rapidly into contact with the blood/brain barrier.
Interestingly, while the half-life carries on for 18-100 hours, the effective analgesia only lasts up to 8 hours; which is why physicians titrate pain mgmt. patioents up to tid or bid 10-20mg. usage per day in a 3-4 week period; and then continue to carefully titrate up from there as the patient describes symptoms.
The DEA does not however practice medicine, so they or lay people may see #180 10mg. methadone tabs per month as excessive, when in fact, that is a perfectly normal pain mgmt. prescription for intractable moderately-severe intractable pain (especially neuropathic pain that doesn't respond as welll to mu-agonists only).
Life is full of pros and cons, they must be very carefully weighed. I know this much, much like the automobile, there is far more good being done by methadone than there is harm. I would LOVE to see a nano-technology be invented to identify who is diverting their prescriptions and lock them up. What was alcohol good for again ?
Don't forget, most overdoses are polydrug abuse situations. You see "METHADONE OVERDOSE" in the headlines, but the sensationalist article fails to mention that valium, or xanax, or ativan, or many times another opiate, usually heroin; was found along with the <<<<<>>>>> that caused the death.
poly drug overdoses comprise 90%, methadone singly only 10%, according to my sources, which may not be entirely on point. It certainly indicates a trend towards polydrug abuse being the primary situation where death occurs though. Methadone is taking over as whipping boy where "hillbilly heroin" oxycontin once stood before purdue settled. Hillbilly Heroin, such a class-warfare term, and misnomer to boot; most people with the money to pay illicit prices were quite affluent and decidely NON hillbillyish. Rush Limbaugh anyone ?
i am not sure what you point is about the alcohol..it is late and i am sleepy, but i do not believe anybody is suggesting or promoting alcohol has any benifits. bottom line is the benifits of methadone are few, there maybe some incidences where it is needed, but that is to be decided by an M/D. i do not think it is something that should be suggested on this forum as an alternative or a method to help anyone get off opiates. at the very least to an addict methadone is dangerous....i highly recommend no one on this forum try it...as a matter of fact i suggest you leave it alone, and stay as far away from it as possible. it does kill
Methadone is deadly!!
I personally agree with you about end stage cancer paients, by all means, put them on methadone to make as comftorable as possible. Also, if there is an addict (strictly to heroin, etc.) that can not function due to their drug use, and methadone seems to be the last resoet for them, go for it. BUT those are the only times that I feel it should EVER be used. Thanks for your thoughts and opinion. Have a good night and a Happy Easter. Again, this is MY OPINION.
The alcohol was thrown in there as an illustration of how sensationalism and the cause "du jour" continues to drive the legislation and cause of the day; while a known family destroyer and killer of hundreds of thousands of innocent drivers continues to occur; war is waged by non-M/D's against highly beneficial drugs.
The assertion that the "benefits of methadone are few" is just flat out false. Tens of thousands of pain patients have been given back a large portion of their quality of life, which prior had been next to 0. Unbearable. Not to mention the re-integration of former heroin addicts back into society.
I'm with you 100% against the illicit diverters and that one should seek other remedies before ever considering a course of opiate medication, but the "methadone has few benefits" is false. It is superbly effective due to it's properties beyond the standard morphine and derivatives (mu agonist only; methadone has nmda-antagonist properties also of great use for neuropathic pain.)
Again, I'll use the automobile analogy. A great many people are killed, maimed for life and murdered in them daily by drunk/careless other drivers, yet the automobile persists because of the greater good. Methadone will continue as well due to the greater good.
1. STOP DIVERSION (I myself am working on microscopic poly-serial numbers to place in each pill that can't been seen without a microscope, nor sifted away completely by a drug dealer; to ID the source of the diverter. Not sure it's doable yet, but I will continue to do my best on it).
2. Acknowledge that opiates (methadone and others) are an enigma, and come with pros and cons.
3. Opiate therapy should always be a last resort. Alternative pain therapy for pain patients, and abstinence for abusers should always be the ultimate targets.
4. Stop with the blame games and visceral reactions to things that occur as part of life. The root cause of the rise in methadone deaths is diversion. It is still far preferrable to have the hundreds of thousands continue to have massively improved quality of life, than to viscerally react and pull methadone completely due to a much smaller percentage of deaths due to ILLICIT DIVERSION OF PRESCRIPTIONS.
I fully respect your opinion. Mine is also an opinion only. Informed as I can make it, but an opinion nonetheless. I just want people to know that there is more benefit to methadone than there is death and destruction.
You stand a far better chance on methadone maintenance than you do driving an automobile, that's for certain.
agreed, mostly, except for 2 things...methadone is a far less effective remedy for pain than any other opiate i had ever been on,...been there, done that, doesnt work that well at all. others work sooo much better
and second, 1 methadone pill does kill...visit the memorial site at harmd.org and tell SOME of the parents there that lost their children from 1, 10 mg pill, that was slipped in their drink, or was offered for a headache...they died...it DOES happen, and more often than most are aware of or care to admit.
happy easter.. good night...
methadone DOES kill...and some of those car accident you speak of...could have been related to methadone....nodding out...?
methadone for terminal, end of life treatment? AGREED, and YES..i actually know of some people who are on methadone for life because it is necessary for them to live a somewhat normal life because of years upon years of damage from heroin...but for a backache? nope... not necessary. like i said, there are other opiates that work FAR better for pain than methadone...
alcohol?...nothing but useless in my eyes. pretty bad legal drug IMO!
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