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 Hydrochloride. 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 Hydrochloride 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)].
|For detoxification and maintenance of opiate dependence, methadone should be administered in accordance with the treatment standards cited in 42 CFR Section 8.12, including limitations on unsupervised administration.|
Administer the initial methadone dose under supervision, when there are no signs of sedation or intoxication, and the patient shows symptoms of withdrawal. An initial single dose of 20 to 30 mg of methadone will often be sufficient to suppress withdrawal symptoms. The initial dose should not exceed 30 mg.
To make same-day dosing adjustments, have the patient wait 2 to 4 hours for further evaluation, when peak levels have been reached. Provide an additional 5 to 10 mg of methadone if withdrawal symptoms have not been suppressed or if symptoms reappear.
The total daily dose of methadone on the first day of treatment should not ordinarily exceed 40 mg. Adjust the dose over the first week of treatment based on control of withdrawal symptoms at the time of expected peak activity (i.e., 2 to 4 hours after dosing). When adjusting the dose, keep in mind that methadone will accumulate over the first several days of dosing; deaths have occurred in early treatment due to the cumulative effects. Instruct patients that the dose will “hold” for a longer period of time as tissue stores of methadone accumulate.
Use lower initial doses for patients whose tolerance is expected to be low at treatment entry. Any patient who has not taken opioids for more than 5 days may no longer be tolerant. Do not determine initial doses based on previous treatment episodes or dollars spent per day on illicit drug use. Also consider concurrent medications and the general condition and medical status of the patient when selecting the initial dose.
During the induction phase of methadone maintenance treatment, patients are being withdrawn from other opioids and may show typical withdrawal symptoms. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal including: lacrimation, rhinorrhea, sneezing, yawning, excessive perspiration, goose- flesh, fever, chilliness alternating with flushing, restlessness, irritability, weakness, anxiety, depression, dilated pupils, tremors, tachycardia, abdominal cramps, body aches, involuntary twitching and kicking movements, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal spasms, and weight loss and consider dose adjustment as indicated.
For a brief course of stabilization followed by a period of medically supervised withdrawal, titrate the patient to a total daily dose of about 40 mg in divided doses to achieve an adequate stabilizing level. After 2 to 3 days of stabilization, gradually decrease the dose of methadone. Decrease the dose of methadone on a daily basis or at 2-day intervals, keeping the amount of methadone sufficient to keep withdrawal symptoms at a tolerable level. Hospitalized patients may tolerate a daily reduction of 20% of the total daily dose. Ambulatory patients may need a slower schedule.
Titrate patients in maintenance treatment to a dose that prevents opioid withdrawal symptoms for 24 hours, reduces drug hunger or craving, and blocks or attenuates the euphoric effects of self-administered opioids, ensuring that the patient is tolerant to the sedative effects of methadone. Most commonly, clinical stability is achieved at doses between 80 to 120 mg/day. During prolonged administration of methadone, monitor patients for persistent constipation and manage accordingly.
There is considerable variability in the appropriate rate of methadone taper in patients choosing medically supervised withdrawal from methadone treatment. Dose reductions should generally be less than 10% of the established tolerance or maintenance dose, and 10- to 14-day intervals should elapse between dose reductions. Apprise patients of the high risk of relapse to illicit drug use associated with discontinuation of methadone maintenance treatment. Do not abruptly discontinue Methadone Hydrochloride in a physically dependent patient [see Warnings and Precautions (5.15)].
Abrupt opioid discontinuation can lead to development of opioid withdrawal symptoms [see Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.3)]. Opioid withdrawal symptoms have been associated with an increased risk of relapse to illicit drug use in susceptible patients
Patients in methadone maintenance treatment for opioid dependence who experience physical trauma, postoperative pain, or other acute pain cannot be expected to derive analgesia from their existing dose of methadone. Such patients should be administered analgesics, including opioids, in doses that would otherwise be indicated for non-methadone-treated patients with similar painful conditions. When opioids are required for management of acute pain in methadone maintenance patients, somewhat higher and/or more frequent doses will often be required than would be the case for non-tolerant patients due to the opioid tolerance induced by methadone.
Methadone clearance may be increased during pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman’s methadone dose may need to be increased or the dosing interval decreased [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
- 10 mg methadone hydrochloride (equivalent to 8.95 mg of methadone) per mL (10 mg/mL) as a red, cherry-flavored solution in 30 mL or 1-liter bottles
Methadone Hydrochloride is contraindicated in patients with:
- Significant respiratory depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]
- Acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.8)]
- Known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus [see Warnings and Precautions (5.13)]
- Hypersensitivity (e.g., anaphylaxis) to methadone or any other ingredient in Methadone Hydrochloride [see Adverse Reactions (6)]
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