Methadose Oral Concentrate
During the induction phase of methadone maintenance treatment, patients are being withdrawn from heroin and may therefore show typical withdrawal symptoms, which should be differentiated from methadone-induced side effects.
They may exhibit some or all of the following signs and symptoms associated with acute withdrawal from heroin or other opiates: lacrimation, rhinorrhea, sneezing, yawning, excessive perspiration, goose-flesh, fever, chilliness alternating with flushing, restlessness, irritability, weakness, anxiety, depression, dilated pupils, tremors, tachycardia, abdominal cramps, body aches, involuntary twitching and kicking movements, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal spasms, and weight loss.
The initial methadone dose should be carefully titrated to the individual. Too rapid titration for the patient's sensitivity is more likely to produce adverse effects.
The major hazards of methadone are respiratory depression and, to a lesser degree, systemic hypotension. Respiratory arrest, shock, cardiac arrest, and death have occurred.
The most frequently observed adverse reactions include lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. These effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory patients and in those who are not suffering severe pain. In such individuals, lower doses are advisable.
Other adverse reactions include the following: (listed alphabetically under each subsection)
Cardiovascular (also see WARNINGS: Cardiac Conduction Effects) - arrhythmias, bigeminal rhythms, bradycardia, cardiomyopathy, ECG abnormalities, extrasystoles, flushing, heart failure, hypotension, palpitations, phlebitis, QT interval prolongation, syncope, T-wave inversion, tachycardia, torsade de pointes, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia
Special Senses - hallucinations, visual disturbances
Maintenance on a Stabilized Dose - During prolonged administration of methadone, as in a methadone maintenance treatment program, there is usually a gradual, yet progressive, disappearance of side effects over a period of several weeks. However, constipation and sweating often persist.
Drug Abuse And Dependence
Methadose contains methadone, a potent Schedule II opioid agonist. Schedule II opioid substances, which also include hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, and oxymorphone, have the highest potential for abuse and risk of fatal overdose due to respiratory depression. Methadone, like morphine and other opioids used for analgesia, has the potential for being abused and is subject to criminal diversion.
Abuse of Methadose poses a risk of overdose and death. This risk is increased with concurrent abuse of Methadose with alcohol and other substances. In addition, parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious disease such as hepatitis and HIV.
Since Methadose may be diverted for non-medical use, careful record keeping of ordering and dispensing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests is strongly advised.
Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re- evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.
Methadose, when used for the treatment of opioid addiction in detoxification or maintenance programs, may be dispensed only by opioid treatment programs certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (and agencies, practitioners or institutions by formal agreement with the program sponsor).
Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids may also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal symptoms (See PRECAUTIONS; Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery).
Read the Methadose Oral Concentrate (methadone hydrochloride) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects »
In vitro results suggest that methadone undergoes hepatic N-demethylation by cytochrome P450 enzymes, principally CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, and to a lesser extent by CYP2C9 and CYP2D6. Coadministration of methadone with inducers of these enzymes may result in a more rapid metabolism and potential for decreased effects of methadone, whereas administration with CYP inhibitors may reduce metabolism and potentiate methadone's effects. Although anti- retroviral drugs such as efavirenz, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, and lopinavir+ritonavir combination are known to inhibit CYPs, they are shown to reduce the plasma levels of methadone, possibly due to their CYP induction activity. Therefore, drugs administered concomitantly with methadone should be evaluated for interaction potential; clinicians are advised to evaluate individual response to drug therapy.
Opioid Antagonists, Mixed Agonist/Antagonists, and Partial Agonists
As with other mu-agonists, patients maintained on methadone may experience withdrawal symptoms when given opioid antagonists, mixed agonist/antagonists, and partial agonists. Examples of such agents are naloxone, naltrexone, pentazocine, nalbuphine, butorphanol, and buprenorphine.
Abacavir, amprenavir, efavirenz, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, lopinavir+ritonavir combination - Coadministration of these anti-retroviral agents resulted in increased clearance or decreased plasma levels of methadone. Methadone-maintained patients beginning treatment with these anti-retroviral drugs should be monitored for evidence of withdrawal effects and methadone dose should be adjusted accordingly.
Didanosine and Stavudine - Experimental evidence demonstrated that methadone decreased the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) and peak levels for didanosine and stavudine, with a more significant decrease for didanosine. Methadone disposition was not substantially altered.
Zidovudine- Experimental evidence demonstrated that methadone increased the AUC of zidovudine which could result in toxic effects.
Cytochrome P450 Inducers
Methadone-maintained patients beginning treatment with CYP3A4 inducers should be monitored for evidence of withdrawal effects and methadone dose should be adjusted accordingly. The following drug interactions were reported following coadministration of methadone with inducers of cytochrome P450 enzymes:
Rifampin - In patients well-stabilized on methadone, concomitant administration of rifampin resulted in a marked reduction in serum methadone levels and a concurrent appearance of withdrawal symptoms.
Phenytoin - In a pharmacokinetic study with patients on methadone maintenance therapy, phenytoin administration (250 mg b.i.d. initially for 1 day followed by 300 mg QD for 3 to 4 days) resulted in an approximately 50% reduction in methadone exposure and withdrawal symptoms occurred concurrently. Upon discontinuation of phenytoin, the incidence of withdrawal symptoms decreased and methadone exposure increased to a level comparable to that prior to phenytoin administration.
St. John's Wort, Phenobarbital, Carbamazepine
Administration of methadone along with other CYP3A4 inducers may result in withdrawal symptoms.
Cytochrome P450 Inhibitors
Since the metabolism of methadone is mediated primarily by CYP3A4 isozyme, coadministration of drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 activity may cause decreased clearance of methadone. The expected clinical results would be increased or prolonged opioid effects. Thus, methadone-treated patients coadministered strong inhibitors of CYP3A4, such as azole antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole) and macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), should be carefully monitored and dosage adjustment should be undertaken if warranted. Some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (e.g., sertraline, fluvoxamine) may increase methadone plasma levels upon coadministration with methadone and result in increased opiate effects and/or toxicity.
Voriconazole - Repeat dose administration of oral voriconazole (400 mg Q12h for 1 day, then 200 mg Q12h for 4 days) increased the Cmax and AUC of (R)- methadone by 31% and 47%, respectively, in subjects receiving a methadone maintenance dose (30 to 100 mg QD). The Cmax and AUC of (S)-methadone increased by 65% and 103%, respectively. Increased plasma concentrations of methadone have been associated with toxicity, including QT prolongation. Frequent monitoring for adverse events and toxicity related to methadone is recommended during coadministration. Dose reduction of methadone may be needed.
Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) Inhibitors - Therapeutic doses of meperidine have precipitated severe reactions in patients concurrently receiving monoamine oxidase inhibitors or those who have received such agents within 14 days. Similar reactions thus far have not been reported with methadone. However, if the use of methadone is necessary in such patients, a sensitivity test should be performed in which incremental doses of methadone are administered over the course of several hours while the patient's condition and vital signs are under careful observation.
Desipramine - Plasma levels of desipramine have increased with concurrent methadone administration.
Potentially Arrhythmogenic Agents
Extreme caution is necessary when any drug known to have the potential to prolong the QT interval is prescribed in conjunction with methadone. Pharmacodynamic interactions may occur with concomitant use of methadone and potentially arrhythmogenic agents such as class I and III antiarrhythmics, some neuroleptics and tricyclic antidepressants, and calcium channel blockers.
Caution should also be exercised when prescribing Methadose concomitantly with drugs capable of inducing electrolyte disturbances (hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia) that may prolong the QT interval. These drugs include diuretics, laxatives, and, in rare cases, mineralocorticoid hormones.
Interactions with Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse
Methadone may be expected to have additive effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids or CNS depressants, or with illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression. Deaths have been reported when methadone has been abused in conjunction with benzodiazepines.
Anxiety - Since methadone as used by tolerant patients at a constant maintenance dosage does not act as a tranquilizer, patients will react to life problems and stresses with the same symptoms of anxiety as do other individuals. The physician should not confuse such symptoms with those of narcotic abstinence and should not attempt to treat anxiety by increasing the dose of methadone. The action of methadone in maintenance treatment is limited to the control of narcotic withdrawal symptoms and is ineffective for relief of general anxiety.
Acute Pain- Patients in methadone maintenance treatment for opioid dependence who experience physical trauma, postoperative pain or other acute pain cannot be expected to derive analgesia from their existing dose of methadone. Such patients should be administered analgesics, including opioids, in doses that would otherwise be indicated for non-methadone-treated patients with similar painful conditions. Due to the opioid tolerance induced by methadone, when opioids are required for management of acute pain in methadone patients, somewhat higher and/or more frequent doses will often be required than would be the case for non-tolerant patients.
Physical dependence is manifested by withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation of a drug or upon administration of an antagonist. Physical dependence is expected during opioid agonist therapy of opioid addiction.
If a physically dependent patient abruptly discontinues use of methadone, or the dose of methadone does not adequately "cover" the patient, an opioid abstinence or withdrawal syndrome may develop and is characterized by some or all of the following: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other symptoms may also develop, including: irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate.
Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids may also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal symptoms (see PRECAUTIONS: Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery).
In general, opioids should not be abruptly discontinued (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: For Medically Supervised Withdrawal After a Period of Maintenance Treatment).
Special-Risk Patients - Methadone should be given with caution, and the initial dose reduced, in certain patients such as the elderly and debilitated, and those with severe impairment of hepatic or renal function, hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, prostatic hypertrophy, or urethral stricture. The usual precautions should be observed and the possibility of respiratory depression requires added vigilance.
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/1/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Methadose Oral Concentrate Information
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