Methadone is a synthetically created narcotic that creates a bodily response that mimics that of opiates such as heroin or certain other prescription painkillers. The drug is commonly used in the treatment of opiate dependence but can also be prescribed to treat pain such as that associated with chronic illness or progressive disorders. Methadone was once believed to be a non-addictive medication and was widely used for pain relief until doctors realized the addictive nature of the drug and the vast ability for users to become physically dependent on it in a short period of time.
Methadone does not have all of the side effects of using heroin which is why it is so widely used in the maintenance of heroin addiction as a treatment method. According to the US National Library of Medicine, when prescribed and taken properly, methadone can work well to reduce cravings and eliminate withdrawal symptoms making the ability for an opiate user to stay away from other dangerous drugs much easier—but there are some side effects associated with taking methadone which can be increased or become more persistent if too much of the drug is taken.
Side effects of methadone include:
- Drowsiness or weakness
- Headache, muscle aches and pains
- Vision problems, blurred vision
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Sweating and dehydration
- Mood swings
The most common name used is Methadone which is the actual brand name of the drug as well as the name of the drug itself. Methadone products are also sold under the following brand names:
Various street names for methadone exist to describe the drug itself or the manner in which the drug is taken. Methadone is often sold in 40mg or 80mg tablets that are very large in size (about the size of a quarter) and called “biscuits.” These orange colored pills dissolve in juice or water and are often mixed with orange juice and then taken as a drink which is why some people call methadone juice or drink on the streets.
Other street names for methadone include:
Using methadone can lead to physical dependence and addiction that is just as difficult, or perhaps more difficult to treat than any other opiate addiction. It’s important for anyone who takes methadone to understand the potential side effects and the risks associated with becoming physically dependent on the drug with sustained or continued use. Methadone addiction may make it difficult for the user to stop taking the drug even in the even that he or she knows what’s best and has a legitimate desire to quit.
Addiction to methadone is not the end of the world—but it can cause a lapse in judgment, can make things difficult and will definitely require treatment. Various methods of treatment now exist to help those who become addicted to methadone including medications, rapid detox, counseling and behavioral therapies.
Treatment will usually take quite some time as the user slowly and gradually reduces the amount of methadone being consumed to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms from occurring. With steady reduction of the drug and counseling to avoid relapse, this addiction, like other narcotics addictions, can be effectively treated.