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The Side Effects of Methadone Use

Posted on :  February 25th, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Strange as it may sound, but in order to treat opiate abuse, another opiate must be used as a support when the drug abuser stops the original drug used. The purpose is to try and limit the intense drive to seek and abuse opiates like heroin for example. In this instances, the usual choice would be methadone primarily because it is widely available and comparatively cheap. Unfortunately, it can be abused and comes with its own set of side effects. What are the potential methadone treatment side effects that may be experienced?

Major Side Effects

Are you aware that there are about 5,000 people that die from methadone abuse every year? This normally occurs when the drug integrates with substances like benzodiazepines and alcohol. The major side effects can be just as bad as those manifested by heroin. Even the injectable form of methadone can result in side effects especially when needle is shared or used in multiple doses. Here are some of the major side effects that may manifest:

  • Bleeding gums;
  • Black, tarry stool;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Blood in stool or urine;
  • Soft and bulging spot on head of infant;
  • Difficulty in distinguishing colors, especially yellow and blue;
  • Skin color changes;
  • Chest pains or difficulty in breathing;
  • Convulsions;
  • Feeling of confusion;
  • Chronic coughing, sometimes with pink frothy sputum;
  • Decreased amount of urine;
  • Noisy or wheezing breathing;
  • Dilated neck veins;
  • Difficulty in swallowing;
  • Feeling of dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Extreme fatigue or weakness;
  • Headaches;
  • Slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat;
  • Skin rashes, itching, or hives;
  • Sweating;
  • Frequent thirst;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Muscle cramps or pain;
  • Vomiting or nausea;
  • Tingling sensation in the hands, feet, or lips;
  • Pale colored skin, lips, or fingernails;
  • Red spots on the skin;
  • Swelling of around the eyes, lips, tongue, face, fingers, or legs;
  • Seizures;
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding; and
  • Weight gain.

Minor Side Effects

There will also be some side effects that do not necessarily need medical attention. These are usually symptoms of your body’s adjustment to the methadone treatment, which should go away after some period. Healthcare professionals may give advices how these minor side effects can be minimized or prevented. Here are some effects that you may experience during the treatment:

  • Irregular menstrual periods;
  • Blurry, double, or loss of vision;
  • Feeling anxious or confused;
  • Constipation
  • Decreased sexual appetite or erection problems;
  • Affects color perception;
  • False sense of well-being;
  • Seeing halos around lights;
  • Irritable or feeling restless;
  • Feeling weak;
  • Night blindness;
  • Swelling, redness, or soreness of the tongue;
  • Tunnel vision;
  • Welts; and
  • Unexplained weight changes.

Short-Term Effects

Aside from the major and minor side effects, there are also some short-term effects with varying intensity. Normally, these can last up to 24 hours. However, if these effects last longer or become more intense, you must seek medical attention immediately. What are these short-term effects?

  • Feeling of extreme happiness or relaxation;
  • Drowsiness; and
  • Sedation

Overdose Symptoms

Although similar to heroin, methadone does not create an effect that is the same as that of heroin. It is still open to abuse just like any type of opiate. Therefore, it can still have a potential to do harm, but, based on its track record, more good is done for the people that undergo methadone treatment.

Reduction of the dosage can be done safely even if it remains relatively safe even when used in high doses. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why it is highly recommended for maintenance therapy. Just to help you to be aware, here are some of the overdose symptoms that can be experienced when taking methadone:

  • Difficult or shallow breathing;
  • Low or high blood pressure;
  • Twitching of the muscles;
  • Sudden nausea or vomiting;
  • Bluish appearance of the lips and fingernails (cyanosis); and
  • Coma

To know more about methadone treatment side effects and other effective ways to get rehabilitated, get in touch with Towards Recovery Clinics Inc. now.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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