As an opiate, methadone causes physical dependency with repeated use or abuse.  It is used primarily to detoxify heroin, morphine, and other opiate addicts.  Some of the withdrawal symptoms are similar to heroin or other opiates:  drowsiness, constipation, Methadonecontracted pupils, and suppressed cough reflex.  Many women using this drug have experienced irregular menstrual periods, but are still able to become pregnant.  Methadone is a long-acting opioid that can remain in the body for several days.  see…Methadone Withdrawal

How Does Methadone Work?

Methadone works by reducing the cravings associated with heroin use, and it also blocks the euphoric effects.  It is usually taken orally once a day to help control withdrawal symptoms for 24 to 36 hours.  This process is known as “methadone maintenance.”  In most cases, methadone users don’t experience the ups and downs that result from the wavering of heroin in blood levels. Although the person is still dependent on the opioid, they are no longer encumbered by the compulsive and disruptive behavior normally seen in heroin addicts.

see….Methadone Abuse

Methadone Side Effects & Deaths

Methadone TreatmentIn methadone programs there is a chance for death to occur in the beginning stage of addiction treatment due to excessive doses based on estimated tolerance levels, and often the individual is also suffering with a concomitant disease such as hepatitis or pneumonia.  Methadone users can experience the full spectrum of opioid side effects such as respiratory depression, increased tolerance and physical and psychological dependence.

Other symptoms are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Sedation
  • Vertigo
  • Edema


Withdrawal from methadone is much slower than that from heroin. As a result, it is possible to maintain an addict on methadone without harsh side effects. Many patients require continuous methadone rehabilitation , sometimes over a period of years.

Drug Specific Information On Methadone.