Methadone use poses risks
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.