How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System?

Methadone is a medication, which has a narcotic effect. It is used for dealing with the withdrawal symptoms, which become visible in heroin or drug addicted persons. Since it reduces the withdrawal symptoms, it is used as a part of drug detox and management. Methadone is also used to relieve pain. But, since methadone has narcotic properties, it can be bought only from pharmacies which have been certified. The medicine must be taken only under medical supervision, as there are chances of abuse or addiction. This article tells you everything about methadone. What are the uses of methadone? What are the side effects that this medication causes? What are the precautionary measures that have to be taken while using this medicine? How long does methadone stay in your system? And many more questions are answered in this article.

How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System

What Are The Uses Of Methadone?

Methadone is available in various forms such as tablets, oral solutions, powders and liquid concentrates. The medication is taken orally in most cases, and when it is snorted or injected, it may indicate the abuse of the drug. Primarily, methadone is an opioid, which when used in an appropriate dosage, can reduce the craving for stronger opioid. This makes it useful as a therapeutic drug used in the treatment of drug addiction patients. Additionally, methadone has analgesic properties, and can be used as a pain relief medication when other similar ones fail to have any impact on the patient. On the other hand, there are chances that the patient may fall prey to addiction or abuse of methadone if it is taken for reasons other than medical ones. Even if taken in the form of regular doses, it can be habit- forming, and can make a person an addict to it in the long run. Misuse or overdose of methadone can have very serious consequences, particularly in young children and people with history of drug abuse.

Precautionary Measures To Be Taken While Using Methadone

Since methadone can be categorized as an abusive drug, certain precautions need to be taken while making its regular use. Here they are:

  1. Always, take the medication after consulting a medical practitioner, who will inform you about the correct dosage as well as the safe period for it to be taken. An unprecedented increase in the dosage or taking it for a period longer than the recommended one can lead to dire consequences. These may include slowing down or even stopping of the breathing. Also, the patient must follow the directions mentioned in the prescription label.
  2. Inform your doctor as soon as you notice that the medication is no longer reducing or relieving your pain. Do not stop using the drug at once; instead, consult your doctor to guide you regarding the same.
  3. Accurate measurement of the medicine is particularly important in case of liquid form of methadone. A special kind of measuring spoon or dosing syringe is available at pharmacies for this purpose. On the other hand, the dispersible tablet needs to be dissolved in nearly 4 ounces of water, citrus juice or any other alcohol free beverage. The patient must immediately drink the mixture even if the tablet has not dissolved fully. Some more water can be added to the remaining portion of the tablet and drunk at once.
  4. The tablet or liquid form methadone should never be used as intravenous injection as it may lead to fatal consequences. If a patient is being treated with methadone on a regular basis, he may require additional counseling to prevent any chances of addiction or abuse.
  5. In case, the medication is being used to manage a de-addiction program, each dosage needs to be administered by a caregiver so that the patient does not abuse it.

All these precautions will go a long way to ensure that the medication is not used in the wrong way and the patient does not get addicted to it.

Contradictions Related To Use Of Methadone

Certain groups of people should not use methadone, while others should let the doctor know about their condition so that he can recommend the dosage accordingly.

  1. Patients suffering from serious breathing problems such as asthma cannot use methadone. Similarly, those with paralytic ileus, a kind of bowel obstruction are prohibited from using this medication.
  2. People suffering from heart disease or having a history, personal or family, of long QT syndrome must inform the doctor before being administered methadone.
  3. It is also not safe for people suffering from disease of gallbladder, lungs, pancreas, kidney or thyroid.
  4. Those having a history of mental disease, drug or alcohol addiction should also discuss the same with their doctor.
  5. Another case where special care needs to be exercised is that of patients with brain tumors or head injury.
  6. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should also stay away from methadone as the medication may influence the health of unborn or breast-fed child, as the case may be. The baby might suffer from breathing problems or withdrawal symptoms of the drug.
  7. If you happen to miss a dose of methadone, you need not take an extra dose to make up for it. Skip the dose and take the next scheduled one or have a gap of at least 8-12 hours between two subsequent doses, in case you are using it for pain relief. For de-addiction patients who happen to miss the medicine for a stretch longer than 3 days, they should consult their doctor. They may be recommended a lower dosage to start again.

Note: Taking precautions about abuse of methadone is essential in all these groups of persons.

Storage And Disposal Of Methadone

Methadone needs to be stored at room temperature so that it is not exposed to extreme heat and moisture. Also, young children and unauthorized persons should not have access to the medication to prevent its wrong usage. Additionally, it is essential that you keep a track on the medicine so that it is ensured that no one is using it without prescription or your knowledge. After you cease taking methadone, it is necessary to know the right way to dispose the medicine. Never keep it at home lest it might be used in a wrong way. The unused pills or liquid has to be flushed away in the toilet, unless they can be returned under a take back program. Such strong steps need to be taken since this is a drug likely to cause addiction if it falls in wrong hands.

What Are The Side Effects Of Methadone?

Like all other medicines, methadone can have some side effects. Patients need to be aware of them and also should know when they need to consult a doctor for emergency medical aid. Here are some common side effects associated with methadone:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness and drowsy feeling

These side effects need not be taken very seriously. However, one must get immediate medical help if any of the following symptoms are manifested:

  • Allergic reaction accompanies by swelling of face, tongue or throat
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Extreme constipation
  • Feeling light headed as if you are going to faint
  • Pain in the chest accompanies by headache, rapid heartbeat and dizziness. These may signify a lethal condition known as heart rhythm disorder

In case of any of these serious side effects are visible, the patient must not wait and get in touch with the doctor at once. If there is an accidental overdose of medicine in a child or adult, one must reach out to the Poison Helpline immediately. Timely action can help you save lives in cases of drug overdose.

Drugs, Which May React With Methadone Are:

There are certain drugs, which should not be taken in combination with methadone as they may cause serious implications when taken together. These include sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, narcotic painkillers and medication for depression and anxiety. Even if you are taking any over the counter medicines, herbal supplements or vitamin tablets, it is wise to inform the doctor before starting methadone consumption as a part of your treatment. Another thing to take care of is to never combine alcohol with methadone as the combination may turn out to be lethal and can even lead to death of the patient. Besides direct consumption of alcohol, patients should also ensure that they do not take it as a part of any medicine or food items. Reading the labels and ingredients may be helpful in this respect. Grapefruit and its juice may also react adversely when taken in combination with methadone; so, this combination too, should be avoided. Consultation with a doctor at every step can help you find the proper method of using methadone for your treatment, whether as a painkiller or a de addiction therapeutic drug.

Addiction With Methadone

Methadone is drug, which has effective analgesic properties, but being an opioid, it can have euphoric influence too. This makes it a drug likely to be abused and cause addiction in some people. At the same time, it also finds use in de addiction therapy. In case a patient feels that he is developing too much dependence on the drug without any medical need, he must take it as a signal that he is falling prey to addiction. This is the right time to realize the problem and try to fix it. Self-introspection is the first step towards getting rid of the problem and a doctor will be there to help you out in case you seek help. Drug addiction is not something untreatable; all one needs is determination and support of family and loved ones.

How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System?

Since methadone has narcotic in influence, the key question is- how long does methadone stay in your system? After the body metabolizes methadone, it can be detected in the bloodstream, urine and saliva. Most of the time, the drug is detected by making a urine test, though blood and saliva tests may also show results but they are less popular due to high cost and complication levels. So, how long does methadone stay in your urine? Typically, it is possible to detect methadone in the urine for 2 to 4 days after it has been used, which implies that this is the period for which methadone stays in your system. On the other hand, the detection window of methadone in blood is approximately 24 hours, while that in saliva is about 1 to 10 days. It can also be tested in the hair follicle, for a period reaching to 90 days. The time period of detection of the drug in the system is also determined by an array of variable such as the age of the individual, his body mass, metabolism rate, physical activity and overall health condition.

Methadone Half Life And Peak Levels

The half-life of methadone ranges between 8 to 59 hours, which is bifurcated into 15 to 60 hours in case of (R-S) Methadone and 10 to 40 hours for (R) Methadone. Its analgesic action can be manifested between 4 to 8 hours, while the peak levels of the drug in the blood plasma are reached after 4 hours. At the same time, it is possible to detect the drug in the blood just 30 minutes after it has been ingested or injected intravenously.

It is important to know that the complete analgesic influence of the drug is derived only after its dose is taken for 3 to 5 days. In addition, it can lead to adverse side effects such as cardiovascular issues and respiratory problems. Moreover, there is a risk of falling prey to drug abuse in the long run. Therefore, it is essential to weigh the risks and benefits of regular intake of the medicine before staring the medication. Moreover, the medicine is not safe for people who are aged or suffering from malnutrition or some very serious disease. Consultation with an experienced physician is necessary to learn about the right dosage and the duration of its usage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.