What Is Methadone?

Methadone pillsMethadone is an opiod pain relieving medication that is similar to heroin with one distinctive difference — its effects last longer in the body. Methadone is used to treat people who have become addicted to heroin and other narcotic drugs  without giving them the “high” that is associated with the narcotic drug they are addicted to.

Methadone is a long-acting medicine that stays in the body for a long time. For this reason, dosages should be adjusted with caution, ideally by an addiction specialist. It may take a couple of days after the medicine is started before the dose of methadone is fully effective.

In some people methadone impairs balance, coordination, or the ability to think. Do not drive or operate any type of equipment if you are taking methadone.

Do not drink alcohol or use other drugs while you are taking methadone.

Methadone is a Schedule II drug.

How Does Methadone Work?

Methadone works on parts of the brain and spinal cord to block the “high” caused by using opiates (such as heroin). It also helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms caused by opiate use. The action of methadone is similar to other synthetic (man-made) medicines in the morphine category (opioids).

Methadone impairs balance, coordination, or the ability to think in some people. You should not drive or operate any type of equipment if you are taking methadone.

Do not drink alcohol or use other drugs while you are taking methadone.

If you are addicted to heroin it means that you develop withdrawal symptoms within a day or so of the last dose. Therefore, if you are addicted to heroin you need a regular dose to feel ‘normal’.

If you stop taking heroin, methadone can prevent or reduce the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Many people stay on methadone long-term, but some people gradually reduce the dose and come off drugs altogether. You should not take any street drugs or much alcohol when you are taking methadone.

Side Effects of Methadone

All medicines have side effects. Side effects of methadone use include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Hives
  • Fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat
  • Increased sweating
  • Redness or flushing of the face
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or feeling faint
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting

Signs of an overdose, include:

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Confusion
  • Severe nervousness or restlessness
  • Severe dizziness, drowsiness, or weakness
  • Slow breathing
  • Seizures


Just because someone exhibits some or all of the above signs and symptoms does not necessarily warrant that the individual is using, or addicted to Methadone. Certain medical conditions may also produce the above signs and/or symptoms.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this Website is gathered from visitors to this site, government documents, books, Websites and other resources. This information is solely for educational purposes only, and should not be considered by the reader as medical advice of any kind. Detoxification of drugs should only be done under strict medical and professional supervision. Do not attempt to detox from drugs without proper medical supervision, as it can be life threatening. At the very first signs of drug withdrawal symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. If this is a medical emergency dial 911 immediately.

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