Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
The opioid epidemic can start in places you wouldn’t think of, such as your medicine cabinet. Illegal street drugs like heroin certainly contribute to rising overdose deaths, but prescription medications are also to blame. Drugs like Methadose can cause addiction and overdose in patients and abusers alike.
Methadose is a branded medicine that contains methadone, an opioid drug. It can be administered as an oral tablet, a liquid solution or a dispersible tablet that dissolves in a drink. Patients going through heroin addiction or chronic pain can receive it as a treatment. While addiction therapists use Methadose to treat opioid addiction, it can still cause the side effects associated with opioids, such as:
In severe cases, Methadose can cause adverse effects like breathing problems and fainting, which should get immediate medical help — these symptoms indicate the patient has overdosed. Patients who take opioids like Methadose often have a rescue medication in case of emergency.
Manufacturers designed Methadose to discourage abuse, creating it so it congeals when injected. However, this formula also stays in the system for a shorter time than other kinds of methadone. During addiction treatment, methadone’s long-lasting dose lets patients feel fewer withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, this reduced effectiveness has encouraged some patients to go back to drugs like heroin to feel better.
Taking methadone drugs like Methadose as directed has a fairly low chance of addiction, but it can be easy to misuse them. Patients can build a tolerance to opioids like Methadose quickly without realizing it, feeling like they need more of it to feel relief. Methadone medications also offer relatively short pain relief, increasing the chance of misuse. It can be easy to overdose on an opioid like Methadose when a patient doesn’t take it properly.
Despite Methadose’s addictive properties, plenty of doctors still prescribe it to patients — even in situations not recommended by the FDA. It has a lower price than other prescription painkillers, making it more likely to have insurance coverage. One in three prescription painkiller deaths in 2009 involved methadone, with a likely connection to the four million methadone prescriptions physicians wrote that year. Overprescribing Methadose doesn’t only put patients in harm, but it makes more of it available to traffickers.
Many doctors prescribe Methadose and other opioids because they feel they have no other option. Not every patient responds well to other painkillers, and addiction is incredibly difficult to treat. But, what if there was another option?
Medical marijuana can treat chronic pain and opioid addiction without the risks associated with Methadose. It offers pain relief similar to or better than opioids. Addicts can use it to curb withdrawal symptoms without having to use an opioid medication. Cannabis medicine has an incredibly low chance of dependence and zero risk of lethal overdose.
The scientific evidence doesn’t lie, either. In a comprehensive review, Scavone et al. examined studies exploring how opioids and cannabinoids affect the brain. They found that cannabis targets the same parts of the brain as opioids, satisfying withdrawal cravings without the side effects. Medicinal marijuana has possibly reduced the number of opioid painkillers prescribed — in legal medical marijuana states, patients have received fewer opioid prescriptions since the legislation changed.
As more states legalize medical marijuana, we get more resources to fight the opioid addiction epidemic. Keep an eye on our blog and follow our social media to learn the latest about cannabis medicine for opioid dependence.
Check out our resources on specific opiates and medical marijuana: