Effects of Methadone : More Than For Methadone Treatment

What Are The Effects of Methadone ?

Effects of Methadone

Effects of Methadone

There are mainly two groups of people who need to know the effects of methadone.  The person who is being treated for pain with methadone is one.  The other is the opioid addicted individual who wants information on methadone treatment. It is important to realize that the opioid dependent person is not longer limited to the stereotypical heroin addict.

Over the last decade, there has been a rise in the use of oxycontin in addition to methadone for the treatment of various forms of pain.  Many people who never had an addiction started these medications through their primary care doctor for a legitimate reason such as a broken leg or perhaps severe back pain. Some are more susceptible to the addictive effects of methadone.

Although getting an addictive disorder is on of the effects of methadone, when use as directed under the care of a physician, the risk of addiction to pain medications is low (4-5%). There are estimated to be about 30 million patients in the United States so even this small percentage of abusers is a large number. There has been a more recent article indicating up to 1/3 of people being treatment for non-cancer pain on a chronic basis get addicted to opioid medications.  Apparently, this was in the July 2011 issue of the Journal for Addictive Diseases and I have not reviewed the actual article. Here is one link.

There are, however, a much larger number of individuals who are abusing the medication through non-medical sources. Most people abusing opioids are getting the medication through family or friends rather through “drug dealers.” They may be using is for recreational use.  There are many others who are at higher risk to having an one of the addictive effects of methadone: especially those who are  mentally ill and those with an existing addiction,

Effects of Methadone

  • Treatment of Pain : Excellent for acute (sudden) pain. Can work well for chronic (long-term) pain, however, the effectiveness for long-term pain is being questioned as compared to other pain relieving medication.  The exception is cancer pain.
  • Increase in energy: Patient report to me lower doses give them energy
  • Euphoria: People describe a “better than sex” feeling.  A feeling of falling backward, being half dead and alive and sleepy.
  • Reduce or stop coughing
  • Reduce or stop diarrhea
  • Treatment of Opioid Addiction (such as methadone maintenance)

Side Effects of Methadone : Go to my article or See Below

Methadone Side Effects List :

  • nausea
  • decreased libido
  • urination problems
  • decreased appetite
  • sedation
  • weight gain
  • flushing
  • abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • vision changes
  • mood swings
  • swelling of limbs
  • weakness
  • difficulty with sleep
  • vomiting
  • missed menstrual periods

Serious Side Effects of Methadone : Call Your Doctor Immediately:

  • rash
  • seizures
  • itching


  • irregular heartbeat and death

Summary of Effects of Methadone

Methadone is a very good pain reliever and has some other medical uses such as for cough, diarrhea, and the treatment of opioid addiction. Although it can be safely used under proper medical supervision, there is a real risk of addiction. The risk of addiction is more for those with mental illness, a genetic predisposition, and current addicts. Patients taking methadone should be aware of the side effects of methadone to know what to discuss with their doctor.

Other Resourses Related to the Effects of Methadone :

National Pain Foundation FAQ on Opioids

US Department Of Health and Human Services : Research on Prescription Drug Abuse

History of Methadone

Methadone Treatment Center Directory and Suboxone Doctor Directory

Dr. Rich is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with licenses in Texas and Hawaii. He specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction with buprenorphine and runs a FREE locator service to find Methadone Treatment including Suboxone treatment for opioid addiction. Find a Suboxone Doctor in your area.
Dr. Rich has written more articles on the cost of oxycontin, buprenorphine (Suboxone) including frequently asked questions and a recent post : Signs of Painkiller Addiction