The effects of methadone cannot be understood without knowing what methadone is. The drug has been classified as a synthetic, narcotic analgesic, and can relieve pain. Methadone is meant for prescription usage, and is available in tablet, liquid and powder form. The only time this drug is prescribed is for severe and consistent pain because of its potential for addiction and side effects.

The methadone effects have additionally been proven to decrease withdrawal symptoms in people recovering from their narcotic addiction. Methadone is considered an effective treatment for recovering from narcotics like heroin. MMT, or methadone maintenance treatment makes recovering from withdrawal easier, and significantly decreases the side effects. This enables addicts undergoing treatment to focus on their recovery and treatment as opposed to coping with the cravings and painful side effects caused by withdrawal from opioids. As the individual begins to recover, the methadone dosage is gradually reduced by the physician until the substance is out of their system.

Methadone was designed to replace morphine. It can bind to the brains opioid receptors, and provide relief from pain. The methadone effects are milder and more gradual than opioids. The drug absorbs slowly, and provides relief from pain without the euphoria provided by morphine. This can help manage opioid cravings, but the drug is still abused. Methadone is an opioid, and although milder, it is still classified as a narcotic. The chance of becoming addicted is high, and the side effects are dangerous. Methadone can cause psychological and physical harm to the user, even if only taken for a short period. The most common methadone effects are unpleasant and include:

  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual impotence
  • Urinary retention

Methadone can additionally cause serious side effects requiring an immediate call to a physician. This includes:

  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Death caused by an overdose
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Tremors
  • Depressed respiratory function
  • Anaphylactic reactions
  • An unstable gait

Methadone also causes psychological side effects including:

  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired concentration
  • Anxiety

These side effects are serious, and it is important to speak with the prescribing physician. The dosage may need to be lowered, or the individual may need to take a different medication.

Methadone has many long-term side effects, and often leads to a chemical dependency on the drug. This is one of the reasons despite a patient with chronic pain, physicians do not like to prescribe methadone. When methadone is prescribed, the physician will monitor the prescriptions given to their patients, and look for signs of misuse and dependency. When an individual quits taking methadone, they will experience the same withdrawal symptoms as with prescription painkillers, heroin and other opioids.

Illicit use of methadone is often responsible for an addiction. This addiction is extremely dangerous for the user, and can damage the brain, liver and nerves. It is critical a physician analyzes and understands the severe risks associated with taking methadone or any opioid before writing a prescription. Sometimes methadone is necessary to effectively manage opioid abuse despite the dangers involved.

There have been numerous studies conducted regarding the benefits of a methadone treatment for people trying to overcome their opioid addictions. This treatment has been shown to improve the quality of life and the psychological state of the individual under treatment. Another study proved a treatment using methadone can help the user remain sober. The debate centers around the dangers of using opioids as a treatment, and the benefits shown. Methadone has enabled individuals suffering from opioid addiction to live productive, balanced lives.

The problem is millions of individuals are being given a prescription for methadone by their physicians. This raises the number of deaths occurring from an overdose of methadone. Methadone must be prescribed and used properly to be of benefit for recovering opioid addicts.