Methadone (By mouth)
Treats moderate to severe pain. Also used together with medical supervision and counseling for treatment of narcotic drug addiction. This medicine is a narcotic pain reliever.
Methadone HCl Intensol, Methadose, Diskets Dispersible, Dolophine HCl
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to methadone. Do not use this medicine if you have serious asthma or other breathing problems, or if you have paralytic ileus (blocked bowel).
How to Use This Medicine
Liquid, Tablet, Tablet for Suspension
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- It is best to take this medicine with food or milk to avoid stomach upset.
- Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
- Mix the oral concentrate with 2 tablespoons of liquid (unless your doctor tells you something different). Drink the medicine right away.
- Mix the tablet for suspension with water or another liquid, then drink the mixture right away. Do not swallow the tablet, and do not use it without mixing it in liquid first.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help avoid constipation.
- This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Store the oral liquid at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- Flush all leftover medicine down the toilet after you have finished your treatment. Also flush old medicine after the expiration date has passed. This medicine is one of only a few medicines that should be disposed of this way.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are using buprenorphine (Buprenex®), butorphanol (Stadol®), nalbuphine (Nubain®), naloxone (Narcan®), naltrexone (Revia®), pentazocine (Talwin®), telaprevir (Incivek®), or St John's wort. Tell your doctor if you also take medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as abacavir, amprenavir, darunavir/ritonavir, didanosine, efavirenz, lopinavir/ritonavir, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, saquinavir/ritonavir, stavudine, tipranavir/ritonavir, zidovudine, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Sustiva®), medicine to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, Dilantin®, Tegretol®), or medicine to treat a fungal infection (such as clotrimazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole, Diflucan®, Nizoral®).
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, desipramine, fluvoxamine, nortriptyline, sertraline, Elavil®) or certain antibiotics (such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, rifampin, telithromycin, Rifadin®). Tell your doctor if you are also using a laxative or diuretic (water pill, such as furosemide, torsemide, Lasix®), heart rhythm medicine (such as amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide, flecainide, Cordarone®, Norpace®, Tambocor®, Tikosyn®), or a calcium channel blocker to lower blood pressure (CCB, such as amlodipine, diltiazem, verapamil, Caduet®, Lotrel®). Tell your doctor if you use atropine, dicyclomine (Bentyl®), glycopyrrolate (Robinul®), hyoscyamine (Cystospaz®), propantheline (Pro-Banthine®), or scopolamine (Transderm Scop®).
- Tell your doctor if you have used an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate® within the past 14 days. Make sure your doctor knows if you use a phenothiazine medicine such as promethazine, Phenergan®, or Thorazine®. These medicines may be used to treat severe vomiting, coughing, psychiatric problems, or other conditions.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
- Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, heart rhythm problems, low potassium or magnesium levels in your blood, gallbladder problems, pancreas problems, or trouble urinating. Tell your doctor if you have a history of head injury, brain tumor, seizures, depression, or mental problems. Also tell your doctor if you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
- This medicine may slow down your breathing and cause you to not get enough oxygen. Make sure your doctor knows if you already have a breathing or lung problem, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. This effect on breathing is more likely to happen when you first start this medicine or when your dose is increased. Tell your doctor if you have trouble breathing, slow or shallow breathing, or any other changes.
- Do not take more of this medicine or take it more often than your doctor tells you to. This can be life-threatening, especially in children. Symptoms of an overdose include extreme dizziness or weakness, trouble breathing, slow heartbeat, seizure, and cold, clammy skin.
- Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem such as QT prolongation.
- This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
- Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
- This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or lightheaded. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. Stand or sit up slowly if you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
- This medicine may cause constipation. This is more common if you use it for a long time. Ask your doctor if you should also use a laxative to prevent and treat constipation.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Chest pain
- Extreme weakness or sleepiness, cold or clammy skin
- Fainting, lightheadedness, dizziness
- Slow, fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
- Trouble breathing, shallow breathing
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Constipation, nausea, vomiting
- Mild tiredness or dizziness
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013