What is Methadone?

Methadone, an opiate analgesic, reduces withdrawal symptoms from heroin and other narcotics, but does not cause euphoria, or a “high”. Methadone is primarily used in maintenance and detoxification programs for people addicted to narcotics; sometimes, doctors may prescribe it to alleviate severe pain. Take methadone exactly as prescribed.

Combining it with alcohol, tranquilizers, sedatives, or other narcotics can be life-threatening. Don’t stop taking methadone abruptly; like all narcotics, it is physically addictive. If you experience hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the lips or face, see emergency treatment for an allergic reaction to this medication.


What Does Methadone Do?

Methadone modifies you and your body in 3 ways.

  1. Once you are on your correct dose, methadone will stop cravings for other opiates.
  2. Methadone will block other opiates. Methadone fills your receptor sites, so if another opiate is introduced to your body, the methadone will block it.
  3. Methadone allows you to work and function like a “normal” person. A person on a correct dose shows absolutely no signs of being on methadone. However, if methadone patients take other medications, like benzodiazepines, it causes extreme sedation which, in many circumstances, is blamed on methadone.

More information on methadone, including side effects and potential health concerns, can be found at