Methadone and alcohol, like the combination of all opioid analgesics and alcohol is not recommended because of the additive central nervous system depressant effects of the two drugs. This combination can lead to potentially fatal respiratory depression.
Methadone is used both as a long acting analgesic and for the maintenance of heroin addicts on methadone instead of heroin to avoid withdrawal. Methadone was the first of the long acting opioids to come to market, and became popular as an analgesic for chronic pain in the 1960’s. It lost favor as more overdoses and deaths from methadone side effects became understood, and then became popular again primarily for methadone clinics in treatment of heroin addicts.
Mixing alcohol with Methadone can increase the depressive effect on the respiratory centers of the brain. This can lead to loss of respiratory drive leading to respiratory failure, coma and even death. In case of overdose, you will observe many symptoms such as drowsiness, breathing problem, fainting and nausea and vomiting. Methadone is unusual among analgesics in that the peak analgesic effect is not reached for up to several days after the medication is started. It is also unusual in that the analgesic effect lasts only about 8 hours necessitating three times daily dosing whereas the serum half-life is considerably longer. This can lead to accidental overdose when patients keep taking additional doses to try to get pain relief and get respiratory depression due to the cumulative serum levels of the drug.
Methadone and alcohol is a dangerous combination and should be avoided.
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