Methadone Dosage

Methadone dosageMethadone is a powerful opioid pain-killer typically prescribed to treat severe pain. Because it acts quickly and is stored in a body’s tissues, methadone is often the first choice medication for treating pain. Knowing how the drug works, dosage information, and symptoms of overdose can prepare you to expect some situations while cautioning you against dangerous ones.

How Methadone Works

When a patient takes methadone, the drug does not dissolve and run amok, relieving pain all throughout the body. Methadone is stored in tissues, which takes time because tissues have to construct stores that maintain serum levels. In other words, some immediate relief can be felt anywhere from two to four hours, but methadone continues to affect patients from 15-60 hours after only a single dosage. While some immediate relief is indeed experienced, doctors choose methadone because of these longer lasting effects that dull pain for several hours after intake.

However, because methadone works the way it does, it affects everyone differently. Obviously, every person’s body is unique—unique genetics, medical history, race, gender, weight, muscular build, etc.—therefore everyone requires a bit of experimentation to pinpoint the best dosage for themselves. Some people may require considerably higher doses in order to feel the same level of relief as other people, and it does take some time to determine how much is sufficient. Expect some experimentation when beginning a prescription on methadone.

Prescribed Doses of Methadone

Many doctors begin prescribing dosage at small levels, only five to seven milligrams a day for the first week. In this way, they hope to prevent the chances of over-medication, while introducing patients to a powerful drug. However, if this small dosage does not adequately manage pain, doctors typically increase the dosage by around 50%, prescribing patients to take that amount for another week. Little by little doctors bump the dosage higher and higher until patients report satisfactory levels of relief.

During this initial phase of medication, patients should closely follow the doctor’s orders. Deviating from the prescription will debunk the doctor’s trial run, thereby forcing her to start over when a follow-up appointment is had. Furthermore, there is a serious potential for overdose with methadone, so do yourself a favor and follow the doctor’s orders.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

While patients follow the doctor’s prescription, methadone overdose is unlikely, but it may still be possible. Recognizing some common symptoms of overdose listed below can help save a life:

  • Drowsiness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Confusion
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Shallow breathing
  • Fainting
  • Stopped breathing

If you recognize these symptoms, determine the age and weight of the patient, how much was taken and when, then call 911. Do not take alcohol while using this drug, as alcohol can have serious consequences, including death, for methadone patients. Again, overdose is unlikely if someone stays with the doctor’s plan, but knowing these symptoms can help avoid drastic circumstances.

Find Treatment Centers and Methadone Addiction Rehab

If you have questions regarding methadone addiction, we can help. Our helpline is operated 24 hours a day and our phone number is toll-free. Call us today for information and support. We want to partner with you on the road to recovery.