Methadone Hydrochloride

METHADONE HYDROCHLORIDE- methadone hydrochloride concentrate
Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA


Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression

Respiratory depression, including fatal cases, have been reported during initiation and conversion of patients to methadone, and even when the drug has been used as recommended and not misused or abused [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1)]. Proper dosing and titration are essential and methadone should only be prescribed by healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable in the use of methadone for detoxification and maintenance treatment of opioid addiction. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of methadone or following a dose increase. The peak respiratory depressant effect of methadone occurs later, and persists longer than the peak pharmacologic effect, especially during the initial dosing period.

Risks from Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants

Concomitant use with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, is a risk factor for respiratory depression and death [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.2)].

Reserve concomitant prescribing of benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants in patients in methadone treatment to those for whom alternatives to benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants are inadequate.
Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation. If the patient is visibly sedated, evaluate the cause of sedation and consider delaying or omitting daily methadone dosing.

Life-Threatening QT Prolongation

QT interval prolongation and serious arrhythmia (torsades de pointes) have occurred during treatment with methadone [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3)]. Most cases involve patients being treated for pain with large, multiple daily doses of methadone, although cases have been reported in patients receiving doses commonly used for maintenance treatment of opioid addiction. Closely monitor patients with risk factors for development of prolonged QT interval, a history of cardiac conduction abnormalities, and those taking medications affecting cardiac conduction for changes in cardiac rhythm during initiation and titration of methadone.

Accidental Ingestion

Accidental ingestion of methadone, especially by children, can result in fatal overdose of methadone [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.4)].

Misuse, Abuse, and Diversion of Opioids

Methadone hydrochloride oral concentrate contains methadone, an opioid agonist and Schedule II controlled substance with an abuse liability similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.5)].

Interactions with Drugs Affecting Cytochrome P450 Isoenzymes

The concomitant use of methadone with all cytochrome P450 3A4, 2B6, 2C19, 2C9 or 2D6 inhibitors may result in an increase in methadone plasma concentrations, which could cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of concomitantly used cytochrome P450 3A4 2B6, 2C19, or 2C9 inducers may also result in an increase in methadone plasma concentration. Follow patients closely for respiratory depression and sedation, and consider dosage reduction with any changes of concomitant medications that can result in an increase in methadone levels [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.7), Drug Interactions (7)].

Conditions for Distribution and Use of Methadone Products for the Treatment of Opioid Addiction

For detoxification and maintenance of opioid dependence, methadone should be administered in accordance with the treatment standards cited in 42 CFR Section 8, including limitations on unsupervised administration [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.1)].


Methadone hydrochloride oral concentrate contains methadone, an opioid agonist indicated for the:

detoxification treatment of opioid addiction (heroin or other morphine-like drugs).
maintenance treatment of opioid addiction (heroin or other morphine-like drugs), in conjunction with appropriate social and medical services.


2.1 Conditions for Distribution and Use of Methadone Products for the Treatment of Opioid Addiction

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 42, Sec 8: Methadone products when used for the treatment of opioid addiction in detoxification or maintenance programs, shall be dispensed only by opioid treatment programs (and agencies, practitioners or institutions by formal agreement with the program sponsor) certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and approved by the designated state authority. Certified treatment programs shall dispense and use methadone in oral form only and according to the treatment requirements stipulated in the Federal Opioid Treatment Standards (42 CFR 8.12). See below for important regulatory exceptions to the general requirement for certification to provide opioid agonist treatment.

Failure to abide by the requirements in these regulations may result in criminal prosecution, seizure of the drug supply, revocation of the program approval, and injunction precluding operation of the program.

Regulatory Exceptions to the General Requirement for Certification to Provide Opioid Agonist Treatment

During inpatient care, when the patient was admitted for any condition other than concurrent opioid addiction (pursuant to 21 CFR 1306.07(c)), to facilitate the treatment of the primary admitting diagnosis.
During an emergency period of no longer than 3 days while definitive care for the addiction is being sought in an appropriately licensed facility (pursuant to 21 CFR 1306.07 (b)).

2.2 Important Dosage and Administration Information

Methadone is for oral administration only. The preparation must not be injected. Package in child-resistant containers and inform patients that methadone should be kept out of reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion [see Patient Counseling Information (17)].

Consider the following important factors that differentiate methadone from other opioids:

The peak respiratory depressant effect of methadone occurs later and persists longer than its peak pharmacologic effect.
A high degree of opioid tolerance does not eliminate the possibility of methadone overdose, iatrogenic or otherwise. Deaths have been reported during conversion to methadone from chronic, high-dose treatment with other opioid agonists and during initiation of methadone treatment of addiction in subjects previously abusing high doses of other opioid agonists.
There is high interpatient variability in absorption, metabolism, and relative analgesic potency. Population-based conversion ratios between methadone and other opioids are not accurate when applied to individuals.
With repeated dosing, methadone is retained in the liver and then slowly released prolonging the duration of potential toxicity.
Steady-state plasma concentrations are not attained until 3 to 5 days after initiation of dosing.

Methadone has a narrow therapeutic index, especially when combined with other drugs.

2.3 Patient Access to Naloxone for the Emergency Treatment of Opioid Overdose

Discuss the availability of naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose with the patient and caregiver. Because patients being treated with methadone may be at risk for opioid overdose during initiation or titration, or in the case of relapse to illicit use, strongly consider prescribing naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose, both when initiating and renewing treatment with methadone. Also consider prescribing naloxone if the patient has household members (including children) or other close contacts at risk for accidental ingestion or opioid overdose [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1 )].

Advise patients and caregivers that naloxone may also be administered for a known or suspected overdose with methadone itself [see Overdosage ( 10 )].

Inform patients and caregivers of their options for obtaining naloxone as permitted by individual state naloxone dispensing and prescribing regulations (e.g., by prescription, directly from a pharmacist, or as part of a community-based program) [see Patient Counseling Information (17)].

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