The Many Uses of Methadone

Methadone

Methadone is primarily known as a treatment drug for those who are weaning off an addiction to heroin. However, it has been used in other ways as well. This article will discuss the other uses of methadone in addition to its use as an opiate addiction treatment method.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Method

Methadone has been the standard form of sober living treatment for opioid addiction for over 30 years. When taken properly, medication-assisted treatment with methadone suppresses opioid withdrawal, blocks the effects of other problem opioids, and reduces cravings.

It should be noted, however, that opiates and opioids are not the same. Opiates are a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. It can be used as a strong pain reliever and many medications are derived from it, including:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Opium

However, opioids are synthetic. These drugs that are meant to work in the same way as opiates and are the main activating drug found in painkillers, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, diphenoxylate, morphine, codeine, and methadone.

Opioids are synthesized from morphine. Because methadone is an opioid, just like heroin is an opiate, methadone can be used to help those who have an opiate addiction slowly wean off their addiction under the care of a medical provider.

Pain Reliever

As briefly mentioned above, methadone has been used to help people manage their chronic pain. The drug is used as an analgesic as it works on the same opioid pain receptors as morphine. In fact, most people given the option to take methadone for pain will do so because its analgesic effects last longer than many other types of opioid. However, it should be noted that too much of a pain reliever can create too much of a high.

Some people who take methadone find themselves also taking a downer, such as a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepine are drugs that help minimize anxiety and tension. Yet the combination of methadone and benzodiazepines can be fatal. The combination can increase the risk of cardiac arrest, nausea, dizziness, and even lead to unconsciousness.

Cough Syrup

Methadone is also used as an ingredient in cough syrups to suppress violent coughing. Just like some cough syrups come with codeine, which is a pain reliever, some cough suppressants come with a small dose of methadone. This is to help a person relieve any pain they might have as a result of coughing or a cold.

Caution

If you are using methadone, it’s important that you do so under the direction of a doctor, even if it is for a cough or cold. Some men and women can easily overdose on methadone and doing so can obviously be dangerous. Also, when you’re ready to withdraw from the drug, you might experience the following symptoms if the withdrawal period is not handled with care.

  • Agitation and mental confusion
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Body pains
  • Body shakes
  • Body sweats
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • High pulse rate and high blood pressure
  • Inability to sleep
  • Intense itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting

As mentioned above, methadone can be a dangerous drug to develop a dependence on. If you’re using the drug to manage pain or treat an addiction, talk to a doctor or mental health provider about the risks that come with the use of methadone.