Every substance has side effects, many of them unpleasant or even dangerous. Methadone, an opioid painkiller, is no exception. Many of its side effects are common among opiates, so they are well known both to people who use the drug for medical reasons and to those who abuse it recreationally. The following side effects are characteristic of opiates, such as methadone:
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Shallow breathing
- Risk of respiratory depression
- Appetite loss
Whether they are minor or dangerous, the aforementioned effects are exoteric consequences of opiate abuse. But, there are hidden dangers of every drug that only a small percentage of users will experience.
Lesser-Known Side Effects of Methadone
Methadone affects each user differently, so people who abuse this drug experience physical and psychological side effects that are unique to their individual cases. Just because a side effect is listed as rare does not mean that every user is safe. Some of the more esoteric side effects of methadone abuse include the following problems:
- Hallucinations – People who abuse methadone put themselves at high risk for the psychological effects of methadone abuse. These problems occur mainly due to how the drug affects opioid receptors. Auditory and visual hallucinations can confuse users about what is real and what is imagined.
- Increased spinal fluid pressure – Increased spinal fluid pressure is a serious medical concern, as the pressure can damage the spinal cord or the brain
- Irregular heartbeat – Methadone abuse can cause a rapid heartbeat, which may be life threatening
- Seizures – Although rare, seizures are one of the most life-threatening side effects of methadone abuse. People with a history of epilepsy should take special precautions when using methadone.
- Allergic reactions – Hives, difficulty breathing, rash, itching and swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat are symptoms of an allergic reaction to methadone
- Interactions with other drugs – Methadone can increase the effects of alcohol and other nervous system depressants, as well as interact dangerously with drugs that have the opposite effects, such as cocaine, Ritalin or other central nervous system stimulants
The side effects listed above are only a few of the many side effects, both common and rare, that can result from methadone use. It is important to respect the physical and psychological effects that methadone has, and users must be aware of the full range of risks that each medication poses.
Help for Methadone Addiction
If you or a loved one is addicted to methadone, call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about professional treatment options. Our staff is available 24 hours a day to connect you with a treatment program that will help you overcome methadone addiction safely. Please call today for instant, professional help.