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Author: Justin Mckibben
In the fight against opioid addiction many have turned to medication maintenance programs as a means to help them curb their substance abuse. Methadone is one of the more commonly utilized medication maintenance drugs. However, the system is not without its inherent and relatively serious risks. In fact, methadone abuse is common.
While methadone may not produce the same high in the same manner as heroin, it can be abused to cause the same effects as most opiates, including:
When considering methadone, there are a lot of reasons to do your research and make sure you fully understand how methadone is used and what the dangers are. Dosing of methadone will depend on a few factors, including:
- Age of the individual
- General condition and medical status of the patient
- Other medications being taken
It is very important to note that methadone can have side-effects when interacting with other medications, such as:
- Narcotic pain medications
- Muscle relaxers
- Medicines that can cause drowsiness or slow your breathing
- Diuretics(water pills)
- Heart or blood pressure medications
- HIV medicines
- MAO inhibitors
- Seizure medication
If methadone is taken with some other medicines the combination can cause serious medical problems. Looking at the side-effects of methadone, one should talk to their doctor about any other medications they take.
What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Common Side-Effects
Methadone is a narcotic used as a pain reliever, and is also used as part of drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs. Methadone hydrochloride is the generic form. Common side effects of methadone hydrochloride include:
- Sleep problems
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased sex drive
Some of these more common side-effects may not be especially dangerous, but they can lead to much more serious complications.
What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Serious Side-Effects
When experiencing these serious side-effects, immediately contact your doctor or seek emergency medical treatment if you experience serious side effects of methadone hydrochloride including:
- Chest pain
- Muscle pain or cramps
- Bleeding gums
- Difficulty swallowing
- Blurred vision
- Blood in urine or stool
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Trouble breathing
- Extreme fatigue
One of the most critical mistakes many people make is assuming there is no danger in relying heavily on methadone as a means of recovery from opioid abuse. The reality is, approximately 5,000 people die due to abuse of methadone each year.
Admittedly, this is often more likely when methadone has been mixed with other substances, including alcohol and benzodiazepines. However, it is absolutely possible to overdose on methadone.
What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Overdose
It is possible to overdose on methadone, just as with any other powerful prescription opioid medication. Again, methadone is a narcotic and many of the overdose symptoms for methadone are the same as with other opioid medications, such as:
- Difficulty breathing/shallow breathing
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Twitching muscles
- bluish fingernails and lips
With drug overdose, especially with such strong substances, death is a possible side-effect. Therefore it is extremely important that all side-effects are taken seriously and that someone trying to utilize methadone consults with their doctor about the risks.
What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Mental Health
While the physical side-effects of methadone can be very difficult to deal with, methadone also has a tendency to cause some psychological side-effects, such as:
The truth is, these psychological side-effects can be just as serious as physical side-effects, and some people have more difficulty dealing with the psychological aspect of methadone.
Also, people who already struggle with other co-occurring mental health disorders may experience some side effects more intensely. It is important to make sure both mental and physical health is taken into account with every form of drug treatment.
What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Withdrawal
The reality that makes the use of methadone seem self-defeating is that methadone does indeed come with its own set of withdrawal symptoms that become more severe with prolonged use. These withdrawal symptoms are often similar to those from other opioid drugs, such as heroin. The most common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle pain and aches
- Rapid heartbeat
- Stomach cramps
Quitting methadone “cold turkey”, meaning abruptly without a safe medical taper or detox, can cause more severe withdrawal symptoms.
What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Detoxing from Methadone
Detoxing from methadone is safest and most efficient when done under the supervision in a medical detox of a drug treatment facility or hospital. Most medical detoxes provide a tapering off of the drug in order to reduce the severity of withdrawals. Quitting cold turkey is much more painful and difficult to do.
Drug treatment programs like Palm Partners also utilize the combined expertise of therapists and medical physicians in order to design a personalized treatment plan in order to give the individual the best opportunity for lasting recovery, and anyone who has been using methadone for an extended period or developed a tolerance to it should pursue an inpatient treatment option. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
New synthetic psychoactive drugs are hitting the streets and congesting the underground market somewhere every day, many of which can even be ordered legally and with great ease over the internet under the guise of incense blends or other ‘natural’ herbs or supplements. Others have been passed off as bath salts or plant fertilizers.
Synthetic cannabinoids are very deadly, but they are also increasingly difficult to identify chemically, especially with the smallest piece of the formula being altered frequently. Therefore investigating all the possible unwanted toxic effects that can occur following their consumption has barely been an exact science.
Between 2005 and 2012, the European Union’s early warning system established:
- Just under 240 new psychoactive substances
- Around 140 of them contained synthetic cannabinoids
All this and more have fueled a synthetic epidemic that has started to gain more and more recognition as the damage being done becomes progressively visible.
Now, new research is suggesting some disturbing ideas on how these dangerous compounds could actually contribute to cancer.
SPICE I and II Seeking Signs of Damage
SPICE I and SPICE II Plus are international cooperation projects at EU level that have been led by the Institute of Medical Jurisprudence at the University Hospital of Freiburg (Prof. Volker Auwärter) and which have also involved the MedUni Vienna and the Goethe University of Frankfurt, the University of Helsinki, the Institute of Therapy Research in Munich, as well as input from partners such as the Federal Criminal Office of Wiesbaden.
As part of the international the European Union (EU) project “SPICE II Plus” teams of scientists from the MedUni Vienna’s Institute for Cancer Research have reportedly found evidence synthetic substances do serious damage to human cell’s DNA, which therefore means there is a possibility synthetic drugs have an impact fundamentally cancer-causing.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. It is also the ingredient synthetic cannabinoids mimic when binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, triggering similar neurophysiological effects.
Siegfried Knasmüller from the Institute for Cancer Research at the MedUni Vienna warns,
“The substances are directly active, in other words they are not activated via enzymes that metabolise foreign substances. The respiratory organs and the digestive tract especially are subjected to increased concentrations of these drugs.”
Knasmüller goes on to explain his times investigations on human cell lines in the laboratory have demonstrated synthetic cannabinoids are likely to trigger damage to the DNA that may have significant consequences for the consumers of such substances. This especially relevant in the high concentrations found in cells in the oral cavity or in the lungs.
Again, what points to their impact on developing cancer is that they damage chromosomes, which is directly associated with cancer.
Difficult Differences in Dangers
A huge hurdle to try and overcome when comparing and connecting these drugs and their effects to the symptoms and signs of cancer is most synthetic cannabinoids bind very differently and some have different but profound effects even in very small quantities.
Consumers have absolutely no information about the varying levels of effect thanks to the devious efforts made by manufacturing entities, making people purchasing these products unaware of the detailed composition of unnaturally chemical drugs.
As we had mentioned before, even with “known” products the makers will change the type and quantity of ingredients added constantly to slip through loopholes in the system. The risk of an unwanted overdose is congruently great, with an increasing number of deaths being credited to overdoses of synthetic drugs.
With the added possibility that synthetic drugs could be causing cancer these is no doubt more will be done to combat this issue. Still, with such a growing popularity and being so difficult to track it could take a long time to prove which chemicals are causing cancer. What is even more disheartening is will it even matter to the producers or consumers?
One thing is for sure, with all the detrimental side-effects already known, adding that these drugs destroy your DNA at a cellular level should be more than enough.
Legal or not, synthetic or ‘designer’ drugs are much more lethal than far too many people give credit. Although they are relatively new and not all details are understood, there are still effective rehabilitation programs built to help. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
In the news is a powerful new prescription painkiller that The Food and Drug Administration is trying to decide whether it should be approved. This new drug is called Moxduo and it’s not exactly new; it’s a combination of two already-established drugs: morphine and oxycodone in one capsule. It was designed to relieve severe pain quickly, however with fewer side effects than other opiate painkillers.
Moxduo is the result of the first time these 2 drugs have been combined, as far as in a legitimate, medical way. “It’s designed to provide quick relief to patients suffering severe pain from accidents or surgeries,” says Ed Rudnic, COO of QRxPharma, the company that makes Moxduo.
Rudnic asserts that the benefits of Moxduo are that it allows the patient to take lower doses of the two narcotics – morphine and oxycodone, it’s two ingredients – than they’d need if they took either of the medicines alone as well as with fewer side effects.
“We believe that we’ve achieved some benefit in reducing the risk of some of the respiratory complications of these strong opioids,” he says.
But just like with any other opiate painkiller and illicit opiates such as heroin, the most serious risks associated with Moxduo are suppressed breathing and other respiratory complications, which is what leads to fatal overdoses.
Dr. Joseph Audette of Harvard Medical School is not convinced the company has yet proved that Moxduo has fewer side effects.
“They haven’t really done the hard work of absolutely showing … in humans with real pain problems that synergy is making a big difference,” Audette says, “compared to just using the agents that we [already] have available.”
Andrew Kolodny, an addiction specialist at Phoenix House as well as leading member of the Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, which is fighting for tighter control of prescription painkillers, has his misgivings, too. “I have serious concerns about this product.”
Millions of people are addicted to these legal narcotics already, Kolodny says, with thousands dying from overdoses each year. Drugs like Moxduo will only make that worse.
“This is pure morphine and pure oxycodone,” he says. “This is a product that is very easy to misuse, very easy to crush and snort or crush and inject. So it’s significantly more dangerous than the products that it would be competing with.” Kolodny gives examples of other narcotic painkillers that already exist and that contain multiple other ingredients that make them difficult to abuse in those ways. Drugs such as Vicodin and Percocet are prescription painkillers already in use that are made in such a way as to deter abuse and would be Moxduo’s competitors. Kolodny added that patients requiring treatment for pain issues already have plenty of options and said that a marketing push to prescribe Moxduo could spell trouble.
“If they get this product put on the market and are able to have a sales force going in and out of doctors’ offices encouraging prescribing with the marketing claim that this is somehow a safer product … I believe that’s likely to exacerbate an already severe public health crisis,” Kolodny added.
Rudnic, on the other hand, argues that QRxPharma already has good evidence that Moxduo is a safer painkiller with fewer side effects. And he denies that Moxduo is easier to abuse.
Rudnic said that his company will set up a system to quickly spot any signs that Moxduo is being misused and further said that the manufacturer is already developing a version of the drug that would make it harder to abuse.
FDA Committee on Moxduo
An FDA advisory committee held a day-long hearing Tuesday to decide whether to recommend FDA approval of the drug. The outcome: all 14 members of the FDA’s Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously against recommending approval of Moxduo.
This is the second time the agency has shot down Moxduo, the first time being in August.
The committee members said they failed to see enough evidence that Moxduo is safer than either morphine or oxycodone alone for the treatment of moderate to severe acute pain. “It is the sense of this committee that the applicant has not provided sufficient evidence to support a claim that Moxduo is safer than morphine or oxycodone,” Chairperson Randall Flick, MD, MPH, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN stated. “The primary failing was in study design and the inability of the committee to be able to rely with confidence on multiple post-hoc analyses.”
The FDA has until May 25th to decide whether to approve Moxduo.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
So far, we’ve given you some great movies, documentaries and shows to watch on Netflix that are about addiction and eating disorders. It would also be nice to know some titles that are about mental illness; so I’ve thought of the 10 best movies/documentaries/shows on Netflix about Mental Illness.
10 Best Movies/Documentaries/Shows on Netflix about Mental Illness:
1. OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie –
Photo Credit: www.imdb.com
This documentary is about Bud Clayman, whose ambition to become a filmmaker was disrupted in college when he was diagnosed with a mental illness that overwhelmed him. 30 years later he was able to overcome this hurdle and made a documentary about his difficulties to achieve his dreams.
2. Prozac Nation –
Photo Credit: www.en.wikipedia.org
This movie is based on the memoir of Elizabeth Wurtzel. It stars Christina Ricci who is playing a girl who is on the edge of losing her grasp on life after she leaves her emotionally unstable home for college and her psychiatrist prescribes her Prozac.
3. Of Two Minds –
Photo Credit: www.rottentomatoes.com
Merging together the stories of numerous interesting Americans living with bipolar disorder, this documentary explores their successful highs, miserable lows and struggles to live in a culture that doesn’t always understand them.
4. Augustine –
Photo Credit: www.trailers.apple.com
When a teenager named Augustine is diagnosed as hysteric and confined in a hospital for the mentally ill in 1885, she becomes the pet patient of prominent neurologist Professor Charcot in this performance based on the actual relationship between the two.
5. Wilfred –
Photo Credit: www.imdb.com
This show, which was adapted from the Australian TV series, is an alternative comedy that follows the bizarre experiences of Ryan. Ryan is an extremely depressed man who becomes convinced that his neighbor’s dog is really a man wearing a costume.
6. High Anxiety –
Photo Credit: www.en.wikipedia.org
This movie, made in 1977, is about psychiatric administrator Dr. Thorndyke who finds some strange shenanigans taking place at the Psychoneurotic Institute for the exceptionally nervous. When Dr. Thorndyke is framed for a murder, he must confront his own neurotic demons to clear his name.
7. Strange Voices –
Photo Credit: www.fanpix.net
Lynn and Dave Glover are trying to toughen their unraveling family union and convince their resistant college-aged daughter Nikki to consent to treatment as she rapidly begins acting erratically and is diagnosed with schizophrenia.
8. 6 Souls –
Photo Credit: www.rottentomatoes.com
In this creepy thriller, a forensic psychiatrist who has spent her profession uncovering cases of multiple personality disorder must think outside the box when she takes on a patient whose several identities are those of murder victims.
9. Side Effects –
Photo Credit: www.imdb.com
Emily deals with with her depression by taking antidepressant medication. But when her horrible state apparently twists out of control due to her husband’s prison discharge, she turns to a different medication that changes her life forever.
10. United States of Tara –
Photo Credit: www.imdb.com
Artist and mom Tara Gregson has her hands full managing her career, her kids and a major case of dissociative identity disorder. This show follows Tara’s fight to find her real self while keeping her six others straight.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.
45-year-old Robert Stewart rushed into the Pinelake Health and Rehab Nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina and opened fire on March 29th 2009. Eight people were killed and two were injured; his target for the shooting was his ex-wife who worked in the nursing home. She was hiding in the bathroom during the shooting and was unharmed. Robert Stewart was charged with eight counts of 1st degree murder and even though the actions were premeditated, his defense team effectively debated that since he was under the influence of Ambien during the shooting, he wasn’t in control of his activities. Stewart ended up being convicted of eight counts of 2nd degree murder and receive 142-179 years in prison.
Ambien (also known as zolpidem) is a sedative, also titled a hypnotic. It affects chemicals in your brain that may become uneven and cause sleep complications. Ambien is most commonly used to treat insomnia. The instant release pill is used to help you fall asleep when you first go to bed. The extended release pill (Ambien CR) which has a first coating that dissolves quickly to help you fall asleep, and a second layer that dissolves gradually to help you stay asleep. Ambien was approved by the FDA in 1992 and was designed for short term use to battle insomnia and was a welcome change from the prevailing sleep aid at the time, Halcion, which had been associated in psychosis, suicide, and addiction and had been banned in half a dozen countries.
Ambien rapidly rose to domination in the sleep assistance market after it was approved. Sanofi, Ambien’s French manufacturer, made $2 billion in sales at its peak. In 2007 the generic version of Ambien was out, Zolpidem, and at less than $2 per pill, it still continues to be one of the most prescribed drugs in America, beating popular painkillers like Percocet and prescription strength ibuprofen.
Although the Ambien prescribing info cautioned (in small print) that drugs in the hypnotic class had chance side effects including bizarre behavior, sleep walking and unusual thinking, these behaviors were listed as exceptionally uncommon, and any circumstantial evidence of sleep driving, sleep eating or sleep shopping (all behaviors now related with Ambien blackout) were characterized as unusual flukes, or credited to mixing the medication with alcohol. It wasn’t until Patrick Kennedy’s 2006 late night car accident and following description to arriving officers that he was running late for a vote that the strange side effects of Ambien began to receive nationwide attention. Kennedy claimed that he had taken the sleep aid and had no memory of the happenings that evening.
Soon after the Kennedy occurrence, Sanofi was sued for unusual sleep-eating behaviors while on the drugs. Due to the lawsuit and growing reports coming in about cases of sleep driving, the FDA directed all hypnotics to issue stronger warnings on their labels. The new warning labels not only gave consumers extra info so they could use the medication more carefully but also gave legitimate reasoning to the Ambien (or Zombie) defense.
Ambien has also been implicated in a number of sexual assault cases. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Ambien is quickly overtaking illegal sedatives as the most common date-rape drug. Perpetrators of sexual assault have used zolpidem on unsuspecting victims.
I know that I personally have experience with taking Ambien with other drugs and alcohol and if I could remember the high it gave me I would tell you about it; but that’s just it – I can’t remember it! It was said and I have to agree that if people just took Ambien how it was prescribed and went to sleep a lot of the incidents that went on due to the drug could have been avoided. New sleep medications are being tested every day and hopefully they come up with one that can top Ambien on the market and is safer for consumers. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.