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Methadone Hydrochloride Oral suspension

It is used to treat severe pain

Generic Name: methadone

Brand Names: Diskets, Methadose, Dolophine, Methadone Hydrochloride

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

    Conditions for Distribution and Use for the Treatment of Opiate Dependence
  • When used for the treatment of opiate dependence in detoxification or maintenance programs, methadone should be dispensed only by programs certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and approved by the designated state authority (consult Federal Standards for regulatory exceptions). Certified treatment programs should dispense only oral methadone products as outlined in the Federal Opioid Treatment Standards (42 CFR 8.12).
  • Failure to follow the requirements outlined in the regulations may result in criminal prosecution, seizure of the drug supply, revocation of the program certification, and injunction precluding operation of the program.

    Serious Adverse Effects
  • Death and life-threatening adverse effects (i.e., respiratory depression, cardiac arrhythmias) reported in patients receiving methadone. These events have been reported in patients initiating methadone therapy for pain and in patients transferring to methadone from other opiate therapy; death reported in patients initiating methadone therapy for opiate dependence. Interactions with other drugs (legal and illicit), respiratory and cardiac effects of methadone, or rapid dose titration may have contributed to these events. Consider pharmacokinetic and pharmacologic properties of methadone when initiating therapy, transferring patients from other opiate therapy, and during dose titration. (See Pharmacokinetics.)
  • Respiratory depression is the major toxicity associated with methadone. Peak respiratory depressant effect occurs later and persists longer than peak analgesic effect, particularly during the early dosing period. These properties can contribute to inadvertent overdosage, especially during treatment initiation and dose titration. (See Respiratory Depression under Cautions.)
  • Possible prolongation of the QT interval and serious cardiac arrhythmias, including torsades de pointes. Most cases have occurred in patients receiving relatively high dosages (>200 mg daily) for the treatment of chronic pain, but also reported in patients receiving lower dosages for maintenance treatment of opiate dependence. (See Cardiac Effects under Cautions.)
  • For pain management, initiate only if potential benefits outweigh risks of methadone therapy.

What is this medicine?

METHADONE (METH a done) is a pain reliever. It is used to treat severe pain. The medicine is also used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to other drugs.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • adrenal gland problem (Addison's disease)
  • brain tumor
  • drug abuse or addiction
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • gallbladder disease
  • head injury
  • frequently drink alcohol-containing drinks
  • kidney disease or problems going to the bathroom
  • liver disease
  • low blood pressure
  • lung disease, asthma, COPD, or sleep apnea
  • mental problems
  • seizure disorder
  • thyroid disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to methadone, other opioid analgesics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take the medicine by mouth. Determine the number of tablets you need for your dose. Dissolve the tablets in a glass of water, orange juice, citrus Tang, or citrus flavors of Kool-Aid. Stir well for one minute. You will see some of the tablet in the glass. The tablet will not completely melt. Drink all of the liquid in the glass. Do not chew or swallow whole tablets. The tablets must be dissolved. If the medicine upsets your stomach, take the medicine with food or milk. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not take more medicine than you are told to take.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • antibiotics like chloroquine, clarithromycin, erythromycin, grepafloxacin, pentamidine, sparfloxacin, troleandomycin
  • arsenic trioxide
  • cisapride
  • droperidol
  • halofantrine
  • haloperidol
  • medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, bretylium, disopyramide, dofetilide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol
  • pimozide
  • ranolazine
  • rasagiline
  • selegiline
  • sertindole
  • ziprasidone

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • alcohol
  • alfuzosin
  • antibiotics like gatifloxacin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin, mefloquine, moxifloxacin, ofloxacin, telithromycin
  • antihistamines for allergy, cough and cold
  • desipramine
  • MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
  • medicines for blood pressure
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • medicines for irregular heart beat like flecainide, propafenone
  • medicines for nausea or vomiting like dolasetron, ondansetron, palonosetron
  • medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
  • medicines for sleep
  • medicines for sleep during surgery
  • medicines to numb the skin
  • muscle relaxants
  • narcotic medicines (opiates) for pain
  • octreotide
  • peginterferon Alfa-2b
  • phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
  • rifampin, rifapentine
  • some medcines for cancer like dasatinib, lapatinib, sunitinib
  • some medicines for HIV like delavirdine, didanosine, efavirenz, nevirapine
  • St. John's wort
  • tacrolimus
  • tramadol
  • vardenafil
  • vorinostat

Last Updated: August 24, 2012
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