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Acute overdosage of methadone is manifested by respiratory depression, somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, maximally constricted pupils, skeletal-muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, and sometimes, bradycardia and hypotension. In severe overdosage, particularly by the intravenous route, apnea, circulatory collapse, cardiac arrest, and death may occur.
Treatment of Overdose
In case of overdose, priorities are the re-establishment of a patent and protected airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation if needed. Employ other supportive measures (including oxygen, vasopressors) in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema as indicated. Cardiac arrest or arrhythmias will require advanced life support techniques.
The opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, are specific antidotes to respiratory depression resulting from opioid overdose. Opioid antagonists should not be administered in the absence of clinically significant respiratory or circulatory depression secondary to methadone overdose. Such agents should be administered cautiously to patients who are known, or suspected to be, physically dependent on DOLOPHINE. In such cases, an abrupt or complete reversal of opioid effects may precipitate an acute withdrawal syndrome.
Because the duration of reversal would be expected to be less than the duration of action of methadone in DOLOPHINE, carefully monitor the patient until spontaneous respiration is reliably re-established. If the response to opioid antagonists is suboptimal or not sustained, additional antagonist should be given as directed in the product's prescribing information.
In an individual physically dependent on opioids, administration of an opioid receptor antagonist may precipitate an acute withdrawal. The severity of the withdrawal produced will depend on the degree of physical dependence and the dose of the antagonist administered. If a decision is made to treat serious respiratory depression in the physically dependent patient, administration of the antagonist should be begun with care and by titration with smaller than usual doses of the antagonist.
DOLOPHINE is contraindicated in patients with:
- Significant respiratory depression
- Acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment
- Known or suspected paralytic ileus
- Hypersensitivity (e.g., anaphylaxis) to methadone [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Prescribing Document Revised: April 2014This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/21/2015
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