Generic Name: methadone (METH a done)
Brand Name: Dolophine, Methadose, Methadose Sugar-Free
What is Dolophine (methadone)?
Methadone is an opioid medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Methadone also reduces withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the "high" associated with the drug addiction.
Methadone is used as a pain reliever and as part of drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs. Methadone is available only from a certified pharmacy.
Methadone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Dolophine (methadone)?
You should not use methadone if you have severe asthma or breathing problems, or a bowel obstruction called paralytic ileus.
Methadone can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. Use only your prescribed dose, and swallow the pill whole to avoid a potentially fatal dose. Never share methadone with another person.
MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.
Methadone may cause a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder. Call your doctor at once if you have a headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, and fast or pounding heartbeats.
Methadone is available only from a certified pharmacy.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Dolophine (methadone)?
You should not use methadone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
severe asthma or breathing problems; or
a bowel obstruction called paralytic ileus.
Methadone may cause a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder. Your heart function may need to be checked during treatment.
Some medicines can interact with methadone and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
To make sure methadone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
heart disease, a heart rhythm disorder, or a personal or family history of long QT syndrome;
an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);
any type of breathing problem or lung disease;
a history of head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
a history of drug abuse, alcohol addiction, or mental illness;
liver or kidney disease;
problems with your gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid; or
if you use a sedative like Valium (diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Tranxene, Versed, Xanax, and others).
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. If you use methadone while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Methadone can pass into breast milk and may cause breathing problems or addiction and withdrawal symptoms in a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I use Dolophine (methadone)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Methadone can slow or stop your breathing, especially when you start using this medicine or whenever your dose is changed. Never use methadone in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Methadone may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Selling or giving away methadone is against the law.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Dissolve the dispersible tablet in at least 4 ounces of water, orange juice, or other citrus-flavored non-alcoholic beverage. Allow the tablet to disperse in the liquid. The tablet will not dissolve completely. Drink this mixture right away. To get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.
Never use methadone tablets or liquid to make a mixture for injecting the drug into your vein. This practice has resulted in death with the misuse of methadone and similar prescription drugs.
When methadone is used as part of a treatment program for drug addiction or detoxification, your doctor may recommend that methadone be given to you by a family member or other caregiver. Additional forms of counseling and/or monitoring may be recommended during treatment with methadone.
You should not stop using methadone suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
Keep track of how much of this medicine has been used. Methadone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.
Do not keep leftover methadone pills or liquid. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush any unused pills or liquid medicine down the toilet.
What happens if I miss a dose?
If you take methadone for pain: Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, then take your next dose 8 to 12 hours later. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose.
If you take methadone for drug addiction: Take your missed dose the next day at the regular time. If you miss your doses for longer than 3 days in a row, call your doctor for instructions. You may need to restart methadone at a lower dose.
Do not use extra medicine to make up a missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. A methadone overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow breathing and heart rate, severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, and fainting.
What should I avoid while using Dolophine (methadone)?
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with methadone.
Methadone may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with methadone and lead to unwanted side effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.
Dolophine (methadone) side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Even if you have used other narcotic medicines, you may still have serious side effects from methadone. Like other narcotic medicines, methadone can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
weak or shallow breathing;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
infertility, missed menstrual periods;
impotence, sexual problems, loss of interest in sex;
symptoms of a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder--a headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, and fast or pounding heartbeats; or
low cortisol levels-- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Methadone is more likely to cause breathing problems in older adults and people who are severely ill, malnourished, or otherwise debilitated.
Common side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Dolophine (methadone)?
Narcotic (opioid) medication can interact with many other drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:
other narcotic medications--opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine;
drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing--a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, sedative, tranquilizer, or antipsychotic medicine; or
drugs that affect serotonin levels in your body--medicine for depression, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with methadone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about Dolophine (methadone)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 19 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Generic Availability
- Drug class: narcotic analgesics
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about methadone.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.07.
Date modified: April 03, 2017
Last reviewed: October 06, 2016