Methadone CAUTIONS

May 1, 2007

•Methadone can build up to toxic levels in the body if it is taken too often, if the dose is too high, or if it is taken with certain other medications or supplements.

When prescribing methadone, keep in mind the following:

•Methadone can build up to toxic levels in the body if it is taken too often, if the dose is too high, or if it is taken with certain other medications or supplements.

•Signs of methadone overdose include difficulty with or shallow breathing; extreme lethargy or somnolence; blurred vision; inability to think, talk, or walk normally; and feeling faint, dizzy, or confused.

•For pain relief, methadone should only be prescribed for patients with moderate to severe pain when their pain is not improved with other non-narcotic pain relievers.

•Pain relief from a dose of methadone lasts about 4 to 48 hours, but methadone can stay in the body between 8 and 59 hours. This can result in patients taking more of the drug before methadone clearance is complete.

(Source: US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. FDA public health advisory: methadone use for pain control may result in death and life-threatening changes in breathing and heart beat. November 27, 2006. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/advisory/methadone.htm. Accessed May 14, 2007.