Methadone has significant potential for both psychological and physical dependence and abuse. In fact, it is classified as a controlled substance, which means there are special rules and regulations for prescribing and obtaining the medication.
Although any prescriber who is authorized to prescribe controlled substances can recommend methadone for pain relief, the prescribing (and dispensing) of it for drug treatment is restricted to certain authorized clinics and prescribers (see Methadone Clinics).
Many of the rules and regulations regarding prescribing and dispensing this medication are designed to reduce the risk of methadone abuse.
When and How to Take MethadoneSome general considerations for those taking this drug include the following:
- This medication comes in the form of tablets, oral dispersible tablets, an oral solution (liquid), or injections. It is usually taken one to three times daily.
- Try taking methadone with food if it seems to bother your stomach.
- The dispersible tablets must be mixed in 120 mL (4 ounces) of water, orange juice, Tang®, citrus flavors of Kool-Aid® or other acidic fruit beverages prior to taking them. These particular tablets should not be swallowed whole or chewed. Although the methadone in the tablet will fully dissolve, some of the inactive ingredients in the tablets may not dissolve completely.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not increase your dose without your healthcare provider's approval. Do not suddenly stop taking methadone, especially if you have taken it regularly for more than several weeks (see Methadone Withdrawal).