Methadone Side Effects
What should I watch for?
Tell your doctor or health care professional if your pain does not go away, if it gets worse, or if you have new or a different type of pain. You may develop tolerance to the medicine. Tolerance means that you will need a higher dose of the medicine for pain relief. Tolerance is normal and is expected if you take this medicine for a long time.
Do not suddenly stop taking your medicine because you may develop a severe reaction. Your body becomes used to the medicine. This does NOT mean you are addicted. Addiction is a behavior related to getting and using a drug for a non-medical reason. If you have pain, you have a medical reason to take pain medicine. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. If your doctor wants you to stop the medicine, the dose will be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.
There are different types of narcotic medicines (opiates). If you take more than one type at the same time or if you are taking another medicine that also causes drowsiness, you may have more side effects. Give your health care provider a list of all medicines you use. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. Do not take more medicine than directed. Call emergency for help if you have problems breathing or unusual sleepiness.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
This medicine will cause constipation. Try to have a bowel movement at least every 2 to 3 days. If you do not have a bowel movement for 3 days, call your doctor or health care professional.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water may help. Contact your doctor if the problem does not go away or is severe.
Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of breast-feeding while using this medicine. This medicine does pass into breast milk. Talk to your doctor if you plan to begin or stop using this medicine while breast-feeding or if you plan to stop breast-feeding.
Common and Rare Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Incidence not known
Black, tarry stools
blood in the urine or stools
bulging soft spot on the head of an infant
change in the ability to see colors, especially blue or yellow
changes in skin color
chest discomfort or pain
coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum
decreased urine output
difficult or troubled breathing
difficult, fast, noisy breathing, sometimes with wheezing
difficulty with swallowing
dilated neck veins
dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
loss of appetite
muscle pain or cramps
nausea or vomiting
numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
pinpoint red spots on the skin
puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not known
Absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
blurred or loss of vision
confusion about identity, place, and time
decreased interest in sexual intercourse
disturbed color perception
false or unusual sense of well-being
halos around lights
inability to have or keep an erection
lack or loss of strength
loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
overbright appearance of lights
redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
stopping of menstrual bleeding
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.