Dealing with Methadone Treatment Side Effects
Methadone’s overall purpose works to eliminate uncomfortable withdrawal and drug cravings effects, which pose the greatest overall threat to a person’s recovery efforts, according to the University of Maryland. That being so, methadone still carries a side effect profile much like any other form of treatment.
Methadone treatment side effects can vary depending on how the body responds to the drug. Fortunately, there are ways of gaining relief, some involving simple over-the-counter remedies, while others may require help from your physician.
Methadone Side Effects
Since methadone belongs to the same class of drugs as other opiate drugs, methadone treatment side effects, for the most part, mirror those of other opiate-type drugs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side effects commonly experienced include:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Nausea and/or vomiting
It takes time for the body to adjust to methadone’s effects, so side effects experienced may actually subside over time, according to the University of Hawaii. Ultimately, it can take two to six weeks before a stable dosage level can be found, during which time methadone treatment side effects may come and go.
Ways to Deal with Methadone Treatment Side Effects
Opiate’s slowing effects in general inevitably slow down the body’s gastrointestinal tract causing persistent constipation problems, according to the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health. Methadone’s opiate ingredient has the same effect.
Relieving constipation symptoms can be as easy eating more fiber-rich foods, such as:
- Bran cereals
- Whole-wheat bread
- Fresh fruit
Drinking plenty of water can also help the body’s digestive processes along.
People on high doses of methadone may well experience episodes of profuse sweating. While having your doctor lower your dose can help in this regard, other more serious problems, like drug cravings may increase accordingly. In effect, people on lower dosage levels can just as easily experience sweating throughout the course of methadone treatment so it all depends on a how a person’s body responds to the drug’s effects. In some cases, this methadone treatment side effect may persist no matter what.
The effects of methadone treatment on sex drive can also vary from person to person. Whereas some people see an improvement in their sex drive, others may experience impotence as well as a total loss of sex drive. If sexual dysfunction is the case, your physician should be able to offer some helpful advice.
Nausea & Vomiting
For some people in methadone treatment, gastrointestinal problems extend well past constipation, causing ongoing feelings of nausea and in some cases vomiting. While uncomfortable, common everyday over-the-counter remedies, such as Pepto-Bismol and Imodium A-D can go a long way towards relieving this line of methadone treatment side effects.
Methadone treatment side effects, such as drowsiness and/or dizziness can develop as a result of low blood pressure levels. Likewise, symptoms of fatigue or sedation may indicate your methadone dose is too high. Under these conditions, its best to speak with your doctor as a dosage adjustment may be in order.
Considerations: Potential Drug Interactions
People taking other types of medication while on methadone can experience what may seem like methadone treatment side effects, but are actually drug interaction effects. Methadone is known to interact with any drugs that act on the body’s central nervous system, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, antidepressants, alcohol and hypnotics. As a general rule, it’s always best to let your doctor know about any other medications you may be taking.