Direction180 - We assist opioid dependent populations reach their full potential.     |     Halifax, Nova Scotia     |     P: 902-420-0566

What is Methadone?

Definition:

The regular use of an opioid drug over time leads to long-term chemical changes in the brain, which require an increasing amount of opioid drug to obtain effect. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the drug is stopped. Methadone is a synthetic opioid that acts on opioid receptors in the brain to produce many of the same side effects of opioids (Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Hydromorph Contin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Oxyneo, Percocet), Morphine (MS Contin, MOS, M-Eslon, Kadian), Fentanyl (Duragesic patch), Codeine (Tylenol#1, Tylenol#3, Fiorinal) or Heroin). Methadone relieves the physical withdrawal symptoms of opioid dependence. Methadone is used as an opioid replacement therapy and is used as a tool at Direction 180 along with counselling, recovery meetings (NA), peer support, trustee programs, and acupuncture to help treat the addiction.

Side-Effects and Symptoms

Side-effects and symptoms of Methadone may include, yet are not limited to:

  • Fatigue, which current clients say contributes to weight gain
  • Sugar Cravings
  • Decreased Libido
  • Dry mouth – current clients emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene
  • Depression – current clients emphasize the importance of recognizing this and bringing it up with your doctor, case manager, and/or counsellor
  • Constipation
  • Sweating
  • Overdose, if used with alcohol, benzodiazepines, and/or other opioids

How will methadone make me feel?

Drinking methadone will not make you high, but it can help to keep away the physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
There is a risk of overdose within first few days (stabilization period). Inform your doctor if you are experiencing any drowsiness.

Can methadone interact with other drugs?

Methadone is a very potent drug. It will interact with alcohol, street drugs, and prescription drugs (e.g Benzodiazepines, prescription opioids, and others). These drugs can interfere with the effectiveness of methadone or lead to an overdose. Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medications or other drugs you are taking.

What are my responsibilities?

It is your responsibility to come to Direction 180 every day if required. If you have carries make sure you store them safely in a locked box. Your doses are to be taken by you and you only. Selling or giving away any of your doses is serious as it may lead to a life-threatening overdose. You will lose your carry privileges and you may be discharged from the program
If you do not stop injecting make sure you have access to clean needles. Use your own water, filters, and spoons. Discard your used needles at the local needle exchange program.