How to Use Methadone: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

Table of contents:

How to Use Methadone: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Use Methadone: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

Methadone is a drug used as a pain reliever or to help detoxify and reduce withdrawal symptoms in people who are addicted to opiates such as heroin. The way methadone works is by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. This relieves pain from opiate withdrawal symptoms. As a strong drug that can only be obtained with a doctor's prescription, methadone must be taken exactly according to the doctor's instructions so that you do not experience addiction or other negative side effects.


Part 1 of 2: Taking Methadone

Take Methadone Step 1
Take Methadone Step 1

Step 1. Consult a doctor

If you are interested in using methadone to help with opioid addiction, first consult a doctor for an interview and physical exam. Methadone is usually given through a government program called the Methadone Maintenance Therapy Program (PTRM), and must be supervised by a licensed physician. Thus, if you fall into the program inclusion category, you will need to see your doctor every 24-36 hours to get your dose.

  • The length of methadone therapy varies, but is generally not less than 12 months. There are also patients who require years of treatment.
  • Methadone is usually given by mouth, in tablet, powder, or liquid form.
  • A single dose of methadone does not exceed 80-100 mg per day. The effectiveness of this drug lasts between 12-36 hours, depending on the user's age, weight, level of addiction, and tolerance.
Take Methadone Step 2
Take Methadone Step 2

Step 2. Talk about the potential use of methadone at home

After a minimum of two months of regular, steady and consistent use of methadone, you may be given larger quantities of this medication to take home and take on your own. You'll still need to go to the clinic for counseling and social support meetings, but at least you'll be a little more free from the clinic. This decision is taken by a doctor or MMT facility, and must be supported by the doctor's trust and a positive track record that shows good faith to work together and fight addiction.

  • Clinics usually give liquid methadone to patients. To take home, you will usually be given methadone in tablet or powder form.
  • Never give your methadone dose to another person. Giving or selling methadone is a crime.
  • Store your methadone in a safe place out of reach of children.
  • Methadone is not given in the form of injection in the clinic or by a doctor who attends the house. Illegal methadone users sometimes use injectable methadone.
Take Methadone Step 3
Take Methadone Step 3

Step 3. Never change the dose

Methadone dosage is generally based on body weight and body opiate tolerance. However, the exact dose has been calculated and changed over time, according to the body's progress in reducing the need for opiates. After your doctor has determined a dose and then gradually reduced it, you need to follow the doctor's instructions exactly and exactly. Never take more or less methadone in hopes of speeding up its action. If you have missed a dose of methadone, or the methadone you are taking doesn't seem to be working, don't take more. Continue your schedule as usual, then ask for another dose the next day.

  • Methadone tablets usually contain 40 mg of methadone. This dose is commonly used by people who take methadone at home.
  • If you can't remember your doctor's instructions, carefully follow the directions on the prescription package. Ask a pharmacist anything you don't understand.
Take Methadone Step 4
Take Methadone Step 4

Step 4. Learn how to use methadone at home

If you are given liquid methadone to take home, measure this medication with a dosing syringe or with a special measuring spoon or cup (available at the pharmacy). Do not mix methadone with water. If you are given a tablet, put it in at least 120 ml of water or orange juice. The powder will not dissolve completely. Drink the mixture immediately, then add a little more water to dissolve and drink the remaining powder. Never chew dry methadone tablets.

  • You may be asked to take half a tablet. Cut the tablet exactly on the engraving line.
  • Take methadone at the same time each day, or follow your doctor's instructions.
  • Set an alarm on your watch or phone to remind you of the time.
Take Methadone Step 5
Take Methadone Step 5

Step 5. Avoid methadone if you have risk factors

You should not use methadone if you have a negative reaction to it, or if you have asthma, severe breathing problems, a heart rhythm disorder, heart disease, or paralytic ileus. These diseases tend to increase the risk of a negative reaction to methadone.

  • Patients should tell their doctor about their medical conditions and drug history so that methadone can be used safely.
  • Normally, the doctor will reduce the dose or tell you to reduce the dose throughout the course of treatment. However, they may increase your dose if you experience painful and unexpected withdrawal symptoms.

Part 2 of 2: Understanding the Use of Methadone

Take Methadone Step 6
Take Methadone Step 6

Step 1. Know what methadone is usually used for

Methadone was first synthesized in the 1930s, in response to a doctor's request for a pain reliever (analgesic) that was less addictive than morphine. In the early 1970s, methadone was used less and less for pain relief, but is increasingly being used to help people reduce or overcome opiate addictions including morphine and heroin. Methadone is now the main choice for treating opiate addiction and is the main drug used in the Methadone Maintenance Therapy Program, which includes counseling and social support.

  • If you have significant chronic pain and are looking for long-term pain relief, methadone is probably not the right drug because it has many side effects.
  • When taken as directed by a doctor and for a short period of time, methadone is relatively safe and effective for helping people overcome drug addiction.
Take Methadone Step 7
Take Methadone Step 7

Step 2. Know how methadone works

Methadone works as an analgesic drug, by changing the response of the brain and nervous system to pain signals or sensations. While methadone can be used to reduce the painful withdrawal symptoms of heroin, it can also block the euphoric effects of opiates. The result of the combination of these two things is the loss of pain and the disappearance of the "high" feeling. A patient can take methadone while reducing the opiate dose, until there are no more painful withdrawal symptoms. Then, the patient was released from methadone.

  • Methadone is available as a pill, liquid, and in a layered form. Methadone is taken once daily and the pain relief lasts between four to eight hours, depending on the dose.
  • Included in the opiates are heroin, morphine, and codeine. Semisynthetic opiates are oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Take Methadone Step 8
Take Methadone Step 8

Step 3. Recognize the possible side effects

Methadone is considered relatively safe, but side effects persist. The most common side effects of methadone are dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and excessive sweating. More serious but less common side effects are difficult or shallow breathing, chest pain, fast heart rate, giddiness, severe constipation, or hallucinations/confusion.

  • Although methadone is prescribed to relieve withdrawal symptoms, addiction, and opiate dependence, this drug can still be addictive.
  • Ironically, methadone is also abused as a street drug, although its ability to make people "high" (feel euphoric) is not as strong as opiates.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women can take methadone to fight addiction. This drug will not cause harm to the fetus and may reduce the risk of miscarriage.
Take Methadone Step 9
Take Methadone Step 9

Step 4. Consider alternatives to methadone

In addition to methadone, there are several treatment options for opioid addiction. For example, buprenorphine and L-alpha-acetyl-metadol (LAAM). Buprenorphine (Buprenex) is a very strong semisynthetic narcotic that can be used to fight heroin addiction. Compared to methadone, buprenorphine does not cause as many respiratory problems and is thought to be difficult to overdose. LAAM is a good alternative to methadone because its effect is longer. Patients only need to take this drug three times a week and not every day like methadone. LAAM is also like methadone: it doesn't "high". In terms of side effects, this drug is also safer.

  • Buprenorphine does not cause physical dependence or painful withdrawal symptoms. Discontinuation of use is easier than with methadone.
  • LAAM can cause anxiety, liver dysfunction, hypertension, skin irritation and nausea.


  • Do not combine alcohol with methadone because it can cause severe complications, even sudden death.
  • Methadone may interfere with your ability to think and react. While using methadone, avoid driving a car or operating machinery.

Popular by topic