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Methadone is approved for several uses, such as for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, detoxification treatment from heroin, and maintenance treatment of addiction to heroin. This prescription medication is a narcotic and a controlled substance, so there are strict rules regarding its sale and use. It is usually taken one to three times daily. Possible side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea.

What Is Methadone?

Methadone hydrochloride (Diskets®, Dolophine®, Methadose®) is an opioid medication approved for the following uses:
  • Treatment of moderate to severe pain
  • Detoxification treatment ("detox") from heroin or other morphine-like drugs
  • Maintenance treatment of addiction to heroin or other morphine-like drugs (long-term treatment with methadone in order to reduce usage of heroin).
This medication is a narcotic and is a "controlled substance" in the United States.
(Click What Is Methadone Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Methadone?

Brand-name Methadose is made by Mallinckrodt, Inc. Brand-name Dolophine is made by Roxane Laboratories. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers.

How Does Methadone Work?

Methadone is a narcotic, opioid medication. It binds to opioid receptors throughout the body and produces numerous different effects. It works for pain just like other opioids.
For detox and maintenance addiction treatment, methadone works in several ways, such as:
  • Reducing the cravings for opioids
  • Relieving opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • Blocking or reducing the euphoria and sedation of other opioids
  • Providing stability (fewer highs and lows), compared with other opioids, due to slow elimination of methadone from the body.
This drug is not effective for treating addiction to non-opioid substances.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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