methadone (Dolophine; Methadone HCl Intensol; Methadose; Methadose Sugar-Free) (cont.)

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Anti-retroviral agents including abacavir (Ziagen), amprenavir (Agenerase), efavirenz (Sustiva), nelfinavir (Viracept), Nevirapine (Viramune, Viramune XR), Ritonavir (Norvir), and lopinavir/ ritonavir (Kaletra) have been shown to decreased the blood levels of methadone making it necessary to adjust the dose of methadone to prevent narcotic withdrawal effects.

Some drugs that slow the heart rate for example, dofetilide (Tikosyn), procainamide (Pronestyl, Procan-SR), quinidine, and sotalol ((Betapace), as well as laxatives and diuretics that cause low magnesium or low potassium in the body, for example, furosemide (Lasix), can cause rare serious and fatal irregular heartbeats.

PREGNANCY: Safety during pregnancy has not been established. Methadone has been shown to cross the placenta, and it is found in cord blood, amniotic fluid and in the newborn urine. Children born to mothers who were taking methadone for a prolonged period may exhibit respiratory depression or withdrawal symptoms.

NURSING MOTHERS: Methadone enters breast milk, and this can cause sedation and respiratory depression in the breastfeeding infant. The benefit to the mother of taking methadone while breast feeding should be weighed against the risks to the infant.

SIDE EFFECTS: Methadone is very addicting and causes significant sedation and respiratory depression. Methadone side effects include constipation, stomach upset, nausea, shallow breathing, hallucinations or confusion, chest pain, dizziness, drowsiness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat, trouble breathing, feeling light-headed, or fainting, and flushing the first few days as the body adjusts to the medication. Methadone also may cause irregular heartbeat, anxiety, tremors, seizures, rash and itching. Some of these side effects may go away with continued use.

REFERENCE: FDA.gov Prescribing Information.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/16/2014


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