Methadone use poses risks

Wellness Update - - What Doctors Know And Your Should, Too! -

Methadone is fre­quently pre­scribed for pain.

Methadone, like other painkillers, is com­monly pre­scribed for chronic prob­lems like back pain even though it might not help th­ese prob­lems in the long run. More than 4 mil­lion methadone pre­scrip­tions were writ­ten for pain in 2009, de­spite US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion warn­ings about the risks as­so­ci­ated with methadone. Methadone is avail­able as a low-cost generic drug. It is of­ten listed as a pre­ferred drug by in­sur­ance com­pa­nies.

Methadone’s risks in­clude:

The dif­fer­ence be­tween ap­pro­pri­ate pre­scribed doses and danger­ous doses of methadone is small. Methadone has spe­cial risks as a painkiller. For ex­am­ple, tak­ing it more than 3 times a day can cause the drug to build up in a per­son’s body, lead­ing to dan­ger­ously slowed breath­ing. Methadone can se­ri­ously dis­rupt the

heart’s rhythm. Methadone can be par­tic­u­larly risky when used with tran­quil­iz­ers or other pre­scrip­tion painkillers. In one study, four in ten over­dose deaths in­volv­ing sin­gle pre­scrip­tion painkillers in­volved methadone, twice as many as any other pre­scrip­tion painkiller.

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