Methadone is an opiate, which is a drug classification that is normally used to treat moderate to severe pain. Methadone is more often utilized to combat opiate addiction, especially heroin, which can lead to severe and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Not only is methadone capable of reducing heroin withdrawal symptoms, but it is capable of decreasing the urge to use again.
Methadone is believed to block the dopamine receptors, which prevents the individual from experiencing an opiate euphoria. In the central nervous system dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for helping balance locomotion, pleasure, and cognition. There are 5 dopamine receptors that play huge roles in behavioral responses, mood control, motor coordination, learning, cognitive function, pleasure, and addictive behavior.
When entering a detox facility to withdraw from methadone, the individual will be supervised and administered an initial dose accordingly.
- Initial dose – 20-30 mg with an additional 5-10 mg administered within 2-4 hours of initial dose, if withdrawal symptoms are still present
- Maximum dose is never over 30 mg, because of the life-threatening side effects, which are higher during the first 72 hours after consumption of initial dose. Respiratory suppresses is very common in opioids, which seems to be higher in methadone
- Maximum daily dose is 40 mg
- Doses will often be titrated to a total 40 mg a day dose, until the target range of 80-120 mg a day is reached
- Pain maintenance – initial dose is 2.5 mg to be administered every 8-12 hours, but no more than 3 doses a day
Methadone And Pregnancy
If you become pregnant, while you are being treated with methadone, your OB/GYN will determine if the benefits outweigh the risk of dangers to the fetus. Methadone is classified as a category C drug, which basically means that neonate has a high risk in physical dependency.
The pharmacokinetic differences during pregnancy may call for a dose adjustment. There have been medical research studies completed that proved that there was no potential or very low teratogenic risk, if the pregnant female is being treated with a maintenance dose through a supervised programed.
Breastfeeding And Methadone
It is important to consult with your pediatric and OB/GYN, before making the decision to breastfeed. Pregnancy and methadone is very risky, because methadone does pass through the placenta to the fetus. Yes, methadone can pass through breast milk, so the newborn will receive a small amount of the methadone.
Make sure that you arm yourself with the methadone side effects including dyspnea (difficulty breathing), lethargy (sluggish), and inability to feed. If you observe these symptoms, you should seek emergency treatment for your infant immediately.