Drug Addiction Treatment
Man holds head in hand considering the side effects of methadone
By BrightView
Published: July 13, 2022
Updated: October 23, 2023

Methadone is a medication that can be used to treat opioid dependence. It is a long-acting synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine, and when used as part of a treatment plan, can help people to stop using heroin or other opioids and to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

At BrightView, the evidence supports that using a comprehensive approach that includes medication assisted treatment, can help someone on their path to recovery. Treatment programs at our clinics involve outpatient treatment that includes both individual and group mental health counseling along with medications such as Vivitrol, Suboxone, and methadone.

Can Methadone Treat Withdrawal Symptoms?

Methadone can be used to help treat withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addiction. When used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, methadone can help to ease the symptoms of withdrawal and make it easier for people to stop using opioids.

What Are the Side Effects of Methadone?

The drug was first approved by the FDA in 1947 for analgesic and antitussive uses. It was later approved for the treatment of opioid addiction. The drug itself is an opiate and should only be used in a controlled environment. There are many potential side effects of methadone. Beyond some of the more commonly discussed side effects, one important side effect to note is loss of time. The disease of drug addiction can be very debilitating and take over many areas of your life, including your job and daily activities, which is quite discouraging to those that are trying to get back on their feet.

At BrightView, our outpatient approach focuses on allowing patients to maintain as many of their normal day-to-day activities as possible while on the road to recovery. Studies show that this has a long-term positive effect on the success of recovery. Methadone is an observed daily dose medication, which limits the activities that patients can participate in while in treatment. Other common side effects of methadone include:

  • Digestive issues such as nausea, constipation, vomiting, or stomach pains
  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite

Side effects of liquid methadone are similar to the oral tablet, although there has been more common constipation reported with the liquid form.

Does Methadone Make You Tired?

Yes, one of the primary side effects of methadone can be extreme drowsiness and even slowed breathing. This also contributes to the loss of time related to its usage. It is hard to complete daily activities, let alone job functions when you are exhausted.

It is also important to note that when taking methadone, one must be extremely careful about other drug interactions. Always inform your doctor of any other medications that you may be taking. Even common antibiotics such as clarithromycin and erythromycin can further the effects of increased drowsiness and slowed breathing. Other common drugs taken as antifungals, along with drugs used in the treatment of HIV also increase the risk of drowsiness and exhaustion when taking the drug. For other important potential drug interactions, be sure to consult with your doctor.

Other Serious Methadone Side Effects

There are some potentially more serious complications that can arise when taking this controlled substance. If you find that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you seek medical attention right away.

  • Shallow breathing or trouble breathing
  • Chest pains or irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness or feeling like you are going to faint or pass out
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Low blood pressure

Because the drug itself is an opiate, you should also report to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any opioid withdrawal symptoms related to methadone use. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Erratic breathing
  • Sweating, chills, or irritability prior to receiving your next dose
  • Runny nose or watery eyes
  • Nausea or vomiting

Find Help for Addiction at BrightView

If you are facing a substance use disorder help is available. If you are struggling with drug abuse related to opioid dependence, there are other medication assisted treatment options available to you that can help you avoid some of these concerning side effects. If you or a loved one need help, contact BrightView today at 888.501.9865. Our friendly staff answers the phone 24 hours a day and we are here to help you get the treatment that you deserve.