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medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders

Follow Directions - How To Use Methadone Safely

Follow Directions - How To Use Methadone Safely

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Follow Directions

How to Use Methadone Safely

Methadone Is a Proven Road to Relief...If You Keep Your Eyes on the Road

Methadone provides relief to patients who do not respond to non-narcotic pain medications and to individuals who suffer from addiction and dependence on heroin and narcotic pain medicines.

Here are some simple ways to reduce the risks:

  • Know and share your complete health history with health professionals, especially if you are a first-time user. Other medicines may interact with methadone and cause heart conditions.
  • Take methadone exactly as prescribed. Follow your doctor's directions exactly.
  • Never use more than the amount prescribed, at the times prescribed. If you miss a dose or if you feel it is not working, do not take extra.
  • Use caution when taking methadone. Don't consume alcohol. Be careful driving or operating machinery.
  • Take care not to abuse methadone. It can be addictive.
  • Call 911 if you take too much methadone or overdose.
  • Take steps to prevent children from accidentally taking methadone; never give methadone to anyone else.
  • Store methadone at room temperature and away from light.
  • Dispose of unused methadone by flushing it down the toilet.

Take Side Effects Seriously

Some are emergencies. Patients should stop taking methadone—and contact a physician or emergency services right away—if they:

  • Have difficulty breathing or shallow breathing
  • Feel lightheaded or faint
  • Get hives or a rash; have swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Feel chest pain
  • Have a fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Have hallucinations or confusion

Need More Information?

Patients who develop a problem with methadone or have questions should speak with a physician or contact 1-800-662-HELP.

Helpful information can also be found at the following Web sites:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)

CSAT's Division of Pharmacologic Therapies

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

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