Methadone Hydrocloride (Page 3 of 6)

PRECAUTIONS

Information for Patients

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression

Discuss the risk of respiratory depression with patients, explaining that the risk is greatest when starting Methadone Hydrochloride or when the dose is increased.

Educate patients and caregivers on how to recognize respiratory depression and emphasize the importance of calling 911 or getting emergency medical help right away in the event of a known or suspected overdose (see WARNINGS, Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression).

Patient Access to Naloxone for the Emergency Treatment of Opioid Overdose

Because patients being treated for opioid use disorder are at risk for relapse, discuss the importance of having access to naloxone with the patient and caregiver. Also discuss the importance of having access to naloxone if the patient has household members (including children) or other close contacts at risk for accidental ingestion or opioid overdose.

Inform patients and caregivers of the options for obtaining naloxone as permitted by individual state naloxone dispensing and prescribing requirements and guidelines (e.g., by prescription, directly from a pharmacist, or as part of a community-based program).

Educate patients and caregivers on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose.

Explain to patients and caregivers that naloxone’s effects are temporary, and that they must call 911 or get emergency medical help right away in all cases of known or suspected opioid overdose, even if naloxone is administered (see WARNINGS, Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Patient Access to Naloxone for the Emergency Treatment of Opioid Overdose).

If naloxone is prescribed, also advise patients and caregivers:

  • How to treat with naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose
  • To tell family and friends about their naloxone and to keep it in a place where family and friends can access it in an emergency
  • To read the Patient Information (or other educational material) that will come with their naloxone. Emphasize the importance of doing this before an opioid emergency happens, so the patient and caregiver will know what to do.

Interactions with Benzodiazepines and Other CNS Depressants

Inform patients and caregivers that potentially fatal additive effects may occur if Methadone Hydrochloride is used with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants, including alcohol. Counsel patients that such medications should not be used concomitantly unless supervised by a healthcare provider (see WARNINGSand PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).

Symptoms of Arrhythmia

Instruct patients to seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms suggestive of an arrhythmia (such as palpitations, near syncope, or syncope) when taking Methadone Hydrochloride (see WARNINGS).

Accidental Ingestion

Inform patients that accidental ingestion, especially by children, may result in respiratory depression or death (see WARNINGS). Instruct patients to take steps to store Methadone Hydrochloride securely. Advise patients to dispose of unused Methadone Hydrochloride by flushing down the toilet.

Abuse Potential

Inform patients that Methadone hydrochloride oral concentrate contains methadone, a Schedule II controlled substance that is subject to abuse (see WARNINGS). Instruct patients not to share Methadone Hydrochloride with others and to take steps to protect Methadone Hydrochloride from theft or misuse.

Important Administration Instructions (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION)

Instruct patients how to properly take Methadone Hydrochloride, including the following:

  • Methadone Hydrochloride is for oral administration only. The preparation must not be injected.
  • Inform patients that Methadone Hydrochloride should be taken only as directed to reduce the risk of life-threatening adverse reactions (e.g., respiratory depression), and the dose should not be adjusted without consulting a physician or other healthcare professional.
  • Reassure patients initiating treatment with Methadone Hydrochloride for opioid dependence that the dose of methadone will “hold” for longer periods of time as treatment progresses.
  • Apprise patients seeking to discontinue treatment with methadone for opioid dependence of the high risk of relapse to illicit drug use associated with discontinuation of Methadone Hydrochloride maintenance treatment.
  • Advise patients not to discontinue Methadone Hydrochloride without first discussing the need for a tapering regimen with the prescriber.

Serotonin Syndrome

Inform patients that Methadone Hydrochloride could cause a rare but potentially life-threatening condition resulting from concomitant administration of serotonergic drugs. Warn patients of the symptoms of serotonin syndrome and to seek medical attention right away if symptoms develop. Instruct patients to inform their physicians if they are taking, or plan to take serotonergic medications (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).

MAOI Interaction

Inform patients to avoid taking Methadone Hydrochloride while using any drugs that inhibit monoamine oxidase. Patients should not start MAOIs while taking Methadone Hydrochloride (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).

Adrenal Insufficiency

Inform patients that Methadone Hydrochloride could cause adrenal insufficiency, a potentially life-threatening condition. Adrenal insufficiency may present with non-specific symptoms and signs such as nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and low blood pressure. Advise patients to seek medical attention if they experience a constellation of these symptoms (see WARNINGS).

Anaphylaxis

Inform patients that anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in methadone hydrochloride oral concentrate. Advise patients how to recognize such a reaction and when to seek medical attention (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal

Advise women that if they are pregnant while being treated with Methadone Hydrochloride, the baby may have signs of withdrawal at birth and that withdrawal is treatable (see WARNINGS).

Lactation

Advise women who are breastfeeding to monitor the infant for increased sleepiness (more than usual), difficulty breathing or limpness. Instruct nursing mothers using Methadone Hydrochloride to watch for signs of methadone toxicity in their infants, which include increased sleepiness (more than usual), difficulty breastfeeding, breathing difficulties, or limpness. Instruct nursing mothers to talk to their baby’s healthcare provider immediately if they notice these signs. If they cannot reach the healthcare provider right away, instruct them to take the baby to the emergency room or call 911 (or local emergency services) (see PRECAUTIONS, Pregnancy).

Infertility

Advise patients that chronic use of opioids, such as Methadone Hydrochloride, may cause reduced fertility. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible (see ADVERSE REACTIONSand CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

Constipation

Advise patients of the potential for severe constipation, including management instructions and when to seek medical attention (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Drug Interactions

Benzodiazepines and Other Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

Clinical Impact:

Due to additive pharmacologic effect, the concomitant use of benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants, including alcohol, increases the risk of respiratory depression, profound sedation, coma, and death.

Intervention:

Cessation of benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants is preferred in most cases of concomitant use. In some cases, monitoring in a higher level of care for taper may be appropriate. In others, gradually tapering a patient off of a prescribed benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant or decreasing to the lowest effective dose may be appropriate.

Before co-prescribing benzodiazepines for anxiety or insomnia, ensure that patients are appropriately diagnosed and consider alternative medications and non-pharmacologic treatments (see WARNINGS).

If concomitant use is warranted, strongly consider prescribing naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose, as is recommended for all patients in treatment for opioid use disorder (see WARNINGS).

Examples:

Alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids.

Inhibitors of CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, or CYP2D6

Clinical Impact:

Methadone undergoes hepatic N-demethylation by several cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoforms, including CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, and CYP2D6. The concomitant use of methadone and CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, or CYP2D6 inhibitors can increase the plasma concentration of methadone, resulting in increased or prolonged opioid effects, and may result in a fatal overdose, particularly when an inhibitor is added after a stable dose of methadone is achieved. These effects may be more pronounced with concomitant use of drugs that inhibit more than one of the CYP enzymes listed above.

After stopping a CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, or CYP2D6 inhibitor, as the effects of the inhibitor decline, the methadone plasma concentration can decrease, resulting in decreased opioid efficacy or withdrawal symptoms in patients physically dependent on methadone.

Intervention:

If concomitant use is necessary, consider dosage reduction of methadone until stable drug effects are achieved. Monitor patients for respiratory depression and sedation at frequent intervals.

If a CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, or CYP2D6 inhibitor is discontinued, follow patients for signs of opioid withdrawal and consider increasing the methadone dosage until stable drug effects are achieved.

Examples:

Macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir), fluconazole, fluvoxamine, some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (e.g., sertraline, fluvoxamine)

Inducers of CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, or CYP2C9

Clinical Impact:

The concomitant use of methadone and CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, or CYP2C9 inducers can decrease the plasma concentration of methadone, resulting in decreased efficacy or onset of withdrawal symptoms in patients physically dependent on methadone. These effects could be more pronounced with concomitant use of drugs that can induce multiple CYP enzymes.

After stopping a CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, or CYP2C9 inducer, as the effects of the inducer decline, the methadone plasma concentration can increase, which could increase or prolong both the therapeutic effects and adverse reactions, and may cause serious respiratory depression, sedation, or death.

Intervention:

If concomitant use is necessary, consider increasing the methadone dosage until stable drug effects are achieved. Monitor for signs of opioid withdrawal. If a CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, or CYP2C9 inducer is discontinued, consider methadone dosage reduction and monitor for signs of respiratory depression and sedation.

Examples:

Rifampin, carbamazepine, phenytoin, St. John’s Wort, Phenobarbital

Potentially Arrhythmogenic Agents

Clinical Impact:

Pharmacodynamic interactions may occur with concomitant use of methadone and potentially arrhythmogenic agents or drugs capable of inducing electrolyte disturbances (hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia).

Intervention:

Monitor patients closely for cardiac conduction changes.

Examples:

Drugs known to have potential to prolong QT interval: Class I and III antiarrhythmics, some neuroleptics and tricyclic antidepressants, and calcium channel blockers. Drugs capable of inducing electrolyte disturbances: Diuretics, laxatives, and, in rare cases, mineralocortocoid hormones.

Serotonergic Drugs

Clinical Impact:

The concomitant use of opioids with other drugs that affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter system has resulted in serotonin syndrome (see WARNINGS).

Intervention:

If concomitant use is warranted, carefully observe the patient, particularly during treatment initiation and dose adjustment. Discontinue Methadone Hydrochloride if serotonin syndrome is suspected.

Examples:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), triptans, 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, drugs that affect the serotonin neurotransmitter system (e.g., mirtazapine, trazodone, tramadol), certain muscle relaxants (i.e., cyclobenzaprine, metaxalone), monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and also others, such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue).

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Clinical Impact:

MAOI interactions with opioids may manifest as serotonin syndrome or opioid toxicity (e.g., respiratory depression, coma) (see WARNINGS).

Intervention:

The use of Methadone Hydrochloride is not recommended for patients taking MAOIs or within 14 days of stopping such treatment.

Examples:

phenelzine, tranylcypromine, linezolid

Mixed Agonist/Antagonist and Partial Agonist Opioid Analgesics

Clinical Impact:

Patients maintained on methadone may experience withdrawal symptoms when given opioid antagonists, mixed agonist/antagonists, and partial agonists.

Intervention:

Avoid concomitant use.

Examples:

butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine, buprenorphine

Muscle Relaxants

Clinical Impact:

Methadone may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.

Intervention:

Monitor patients for signs of respiratory depression that may be greater than otherwise expected and decrease the dosage of Methadone Hydrochloride and/or the muscle relaxant as necessary. Due to the risk of respiratory depression with concomitant use of skeletal muscle relaxants and opioids, strongly consider prescribing naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Diuretics

Clinical Impact:

Opioids can reduce the efficacy of diuretics by inducing the release of antidiuretic hormone.

Intervention:

Monitor patients for signs of diminished diuresis and/or effects on blood pressure and increase the dosage of the diuretic as needed.

Anticholinergic Drugs

Clinical Impact:

The concomitant use of anticholinergic drugs may increase risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus.

Intervention:

Monitor patients for signs of urinary retention or reduced gastric motility when Methadone Hydrochloride is used concomitantly with anticholinergic drugs.

Paradoxical Effects of Antiretroviral Agents on Methadone

Concurrent use of certain protease inhibitors with CYP3A4 inhibitory activity, alone and in combination, such as abacavir, amprenavir, darunavir+ritonavir, efavirenz, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, telaprevir, lopinavir+ritonavir, saquinavir+ritonavir, and tipranvir+ritonavir, has resulted in increased clearance or decreased plasma levels of methadone. This may result in reduced efficacy of Methadone Hydrochloride and could precipitate a withdrawal syndrome. Monitor patients receiving Methadone Hydrochloride and any of these anti-retroviral therapies closely for evidence of withdrawal effects and adjust the Methadone Hydrochloride dose accordingly.

Effects of Methadone on Antiretroviral Agents

Didanosine and Stavudine – Experimental evidence demonstrated that methadone decreased the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) and peak levels for didanosine and stavudine, with a more significant decrease for didanosine. Methadone disposition was not substantially altered.

Zidovudine – Experimental evidence demonstrated that methadone increased the AUC of zidovudine which could result in toxic effects.

Desipramine – Plasma levels of desipramine have increased with concurrent methadone administration.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Carcinogenesis – The results of carcinogenicity assessment in B6C2F1 mice and Fischer 344 rats following dietary administration of two doses of methadone HCl have been published. Mice consumed 15 mg/kg/day or 60 mg/kg/day methadone for two years. These doses were approximately 0.6 and 2.5 times a human daily oral dose of 120 mg/day on a body surface area basis (HDD). There was a significant increase in pituitary adenomas in female mice treated with 15 mg/kg/day but not with 60 mg/kg/day. Under the conditions of the assay, there was no clear evidence for a treatment-related increase in the incidence of neoplasms in male rats. Due to decreased food consumption in males at the high dose, male rats consumed 16 mg/kg/day and 28 mg/kg/day of methadone for two years. These doses were approximately 1.3 and 2.3 times the HDD. In contrast, female rats consumed 46 mg/kg/day or 88 mg/kg/day for two years. These doses were approximately 3.7 and 7.1 times the HDD. Under the conditions of the assay, there was no clear evidence for a treatment-related increase in the incidence of neoplasms in either male or female rats.

Mutagenesis – There are several published reports on the potential genetic toxicity of methadone. Methadone tested negative in tests for chromosome breakage and disjunction and sex-linked recessive lethal gene mutations in germ cells of Drosophila using feeding and injection procedures. In contrast, methadone tested positive in the in vivo mouse dominant lethal assay and the in vivo mammalian spermatogonial chromosome aberration test. Additionally, methadone tested positive in the E. coli DNA repair system and Neurospora crassa and mouse lymphoma forward mutation assays.

Impairment of Fertility – Published animal studies provide additional data indicating that methadone treatment of males can alter reproductive function. Methadone produces decreased sexual activity (mating) of male rats at 10 mg/kg/day (corresponding to 0.3 times the human daily oral dose of 120 mg/day based on body surface area). Methadone also produces a significant regression of sex accessory organs and testes of male mice and rats at 0.2 and 0.8 times the HDD, respectively. Methadone treatment of pregnant rats from Gestation Day 14 to 19 reduced fetal blood testosterone and androstenedione in male. Decreased serum levels of testosterone were observed in male rats that were treated with methadone (1.3 to 3.3 mg/kg/day for 14 days, corresponding to 0.1 to 0.3 times the HDD) or 10 to 15 mg/kg/day for 10 days (0.8 to 1.2 times the HDD).

Pregnancy

Risk Summary

The majority of available data from clinical trials, observational studies, case series, and case reports on methadone use in pregnancy do not indicate an increased risk of major malformations specifically due to methadone.

Pregnant women involved in methadone maintenance programs have been reported to have improved prenatal care leading to reduced incidence of obstetric and fetal complications and neonatal morbidity and mortality when compared to women using illicit drugs. Several factors, including maternal use of illicit drugs, nutrition, infection and psychosocial circumstances, complicate the interpretation of investigations of the children of women who take methadone during pregnancy. Information is limited regarding dose and duration of methadone use during pregnancy, and most maternal exposure in these studies appears to occur after the first trimester of pregnancy (see Data).

Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) is an expected and treatable outcome of prolonged use of opioids during pregnancy (see WARNINGS).

In published animal reproduction studies, methadone administered subcutaneously during the early gestational period produced neural tube defects (i.e., exencephaly and cranioschisis) in the hamster at doses 2 times the human daily oral dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m2 basis (HDD) and in mice at doses equivalent to the HDD. Administration of methadone to pregnant animals during organogenesis and through lactation resulted decreased litter size, increased pup mortality, decreased pup body weights, developmental delays, and long-term neurochemical changes in the brain of offspring which correlate with altered behavioral responses that persist through adulthood at exposures comparable to and less than the HDD. Administration of methadone to male rodents prior to mating with untreated females resulted in increased neonatal mortality and significant differences in behavioral tests in the offspring at exposures comparable to and less than the HDD (see Data). Based on animal data, advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus.

The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively.

Clinical Considerations

Disease-Associated Maternal and Embryo-Fetal Risk

Untreated opioid addiction in pregnancy is associated with adverse obstetrical outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth, and fetal death. In addition, untreated opioid addiction often results in continued or relapsing illicit opioid use.

Dosage Adjustment During Pregnancy

Dosage adjustment using higher doses or administering the daily dose in divided doses may be necessary in pregnant women treated with Methadone Hydrochloride. Pregnant women appear to have significantly lower trough plasma methadone concentrations, increased plasma methadone clearance, and shorter methadone half-life than after delivery (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATIONand CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Withdrawal signs and symptoms should be closely monitored and the dose adjusted as necessary.

Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reactions

Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome may occur in newborn infants of mothers who are receiving treatment with Methadone Hydrochloride.

Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome presents as irritability, hyperactivity and abnormal sleep pattern, high pitched cry, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or failure to gain weight. Signs of neonatal withdrawal usually occur in the first days after birth. The duration and severity of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome may vary. Observe newborns for signs of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and manage accordingly (see WARNINGS).

Labor or Delivery

Opioid-dependent women on methadone maintenance therapy may require additional analgesia during labor.

Monitor neonates exposed to opioid analgesics during labor for signs of excess sedation and respiratory depression.

Data

Human Data

The majority of available data from clinical trials, observational studies, case series, and case reports on methadone use in pregnancy do not indicate an increased risk of major malformations specifically due to methadone. Findings regarding specific major malformations, decreased fetal growth, premature birth and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have been inconsistent. Children prenatally exposed to methadone have been reported to demonstrate mild but persistent deficits in performance on psychometric and behavioral tests and visual abnormalities.

In a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial [Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Research (MOTHER)] designed primarily to assess neonatal opioid withdrawal effects, opioid-dependent pregnant women were randomized to buprenorphine (n=86) or methadone (n=89) treatment, with enrollment at an average gestational age of 18.7 weeks in both groups. A total of 28 of the 86 women in the buprenorphine group (33%) and 16 of the 89 women in the methadone group (18%) discontinued treatment before the end of pregnancy.

Among women who remained in treatment until delivery, there was no difference between methadone-treated and buprenorphine-treated groups in the number of neonates requiring NOWS treatment or in the peak severity of NOWS. Buprenorphine exposed neonates required less morphine (mean total dose, 1.1 mg vs. 10.4 mg), had shorter hospital stays (10.0 days vs. 17.5 days), and shorter duration of treatment for NOWS (4.1 days vs. 9.9 days) compared to the methadone-exposed group. There were no differences between groups in other primary outcomes (neonatal head circumference), or secondary outcomes (weight and length at birth, preterm birth, gestational age at delivery, and 1-minute and 5-minute Apgar scores), or in the rates of maternal or neonatal adverse events. The outcomes among mothers who discontinued treatment before delivery and may have relapsed to illicit opioid use are not known. Because of the imbalance in discontinuation rates between the methadone and buprenorphine groups, the study findings are difficult to interpret.

Animal Data

Formal reproductive and developmental toxicology studies for methadone have not been conducted. Exposure margins for the following published study reports are based on a human daily dose (HDD) of 120 mg methadone using a body surface area comparison.

In a published study in pregnant hamsters, a single subcutaneous dose of methadone ranging from 31 mg/kg (2 times the HDD) to 185 mg/kg on Gestation Day 8 resulted in a decrease in the number of fetuses per litter and an increase in the percentage of fetuses exhibiting neural tube defects including exencephaly, cranioschisis, and “various other lesions.” The majority of the doses tested also resulted in maternal death. In a study in pregnant JBT/Jd mice, a single subcutaneous dose of 22 to 24 mg/kg methadone (approximately equivalent to the HDD) administered on Gestation Day 9 produced exencephaly in 11% of the embryos. In another study in pregnant mice, subcutaneous doses up to 28 mg/kg/day methadone (equivalent to the HDD) administered from Gestation Day 6 to 15 resulted in no malformations, but there were increased post-implantation loss and decreased live fetuses at 10 mg/kg/day or greater (0.4 times the HDD) and decreased ossification and fetal body weight at 20 mg/kg/day or greater (0.8 times the HDD). In a second study of pregnant mice dosed with subcutaneous doses up to 28 mg/kg/day methadone from Gestation Day 6 to 15, there was decreased pup viability, delayed onset of development of negative phototaxis and eye opening, increased righting reflexes at 5 mg/kg/day or greater (0.2 times the HDD), and decreased number of live pups at birth and decreased pup weight gain at 20 mg/kg/day or greater (0.8 times the HDD).

No effects were reported in a study of pregnant rats and rabbits at oral doses up to 40 mg/kg (3 and 6 times, respectively, the HDD) administered from Gestation Days 6 to 15 and 6 to 18, respectively.

When pregnant rats were treated with intraperitoneal doses of 2.5, 5, or 7.5 mg/kg methadone from one week prior to mating, through gestation until the end of lactation period, 5 mg/kg or greater (0.4 times the HDD) methadone resulted in decreases in litter size and live pups born and 7.5 mg/kg (0.6 times the HDD) resulted in decreased birth weights. Furthermore, decreased pup viability and pup body weight gain at 2.5 mg/kg or greater (0.2 times the HDD) were noted during the preweaning period.

Additional animal data demonstrate evidence for neurochemical changes in the brains of offspring from methadone-treated pregnant rats, including changes to the cholinergic, dopaminergic, noradrenergic and serotonergic systems at doses below the HDD. Other animal studies have reported that prenatal and/or postnatal exposure to opioids including methadone alters neuronal development and behavior in the offspring including alterations in learning ability, motor activity, thermal regulation, nociceptive responses, and sensitivity to drugs at doses below the HDD. Treatment of pregnant rats subcutaneously with 5 mg/kg methadone from Gestation Day 14 to 19 (0.4 times the HDD) reduced fetal blood testosterone and androstenedione in males.

Published animal data have reported increased neonatal mortality in the offspring of male rodents that were treated with methadone at doses comparable to and less than the HDD for 1 to 12 days before and/or during mating (with more pronounced effects in the first 4 days). In these studies, the female rodents were not treated with methadone, indicating paternally-mediated developmental toxicity. Specifically, methadone administered to the male rat prior to mating with methadone-naïve females resulted in decreased weight gain in progeny after weaning. The male progeny demonstrated reduced thymus weights, whereas the female progeny demonstrated increased adrenal weights. Behavioral testing of these male and female progeny revealed significant differences in behavioral tests compared to control animals, suggesting that paternal methadone exposure can produce physiological and behavioral changes in progeny in this model. Examination of uterine contents of methadone-naïve female mice bred to methadone-treated male mice (once a day for three consecutive days) indicated that methadone treatment produced an increase in the rate of preimplantation deaths in all post-meiotic states at 1 mg/kg/day or greater (0.04 times the HDD). Chromosome analysis revealed a dose-dependent increase in the frequency of chromosomal abnormalities at 1 mg/kg/day or greater.

Studies demonstrated that methadone treatment of male rats for 21 to 32 days prior to mating with methadone-naïve females did not produce any adverse effects, suggesting that prolonged methadone treatment of the male rat resulted in tolerance to the developmental toxicities noted in the progeny. Mechanistic studies in this rat model suggest that the developmental effects of “paternal” methadone on the progeny appear to be due to decreased testosterone production. These animal data mirror the reported clinical findings of decreased testosterone levels in human males on methadone maintenance therapy for opioid addiction and in males receiving chronic intraspinal opioids.

Lactation

Risk Summary

Based on two small clinical studies, methadone was present in low levels in human milk, but the exposed infants in these studies did not show adverse reactions. Based on an average milk consumption of 150 mL/kg/day, an infant would consume approximately 17.4 mcg/kg/day which is approximately 2 to 3% of the oral maternal dose. There have been rare case reports of sedation and respiratory depression in infants exposed to methadone through breast milk (see Data). Monitor infants exposed to Methadone Hydrochloride through breastmilk for excess sedation and respiratory depression. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for methadone and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from the drug or from the underlying maternal condition.

Data

In a study of ten breastfeeding women maintained on oral methadone doses of 10 to 80 mg/day, methadone concentrations from 50 to 570 mcg/L in milk were reported, which, in the majority of samples, were lower than maternal serum drug concentrations at steady state. Peak methadone levels in milk occur approximately 4 to 5 hours after an oral dose.

In a study of twelve breastfeeding women maintained on oral methadone doses of 20 to 80 mg/day, methadone concentrations from 39 to 232 mcg/L in milk were reported. Based on an average milk consumption of 150 mL/kg/day, an infant would consume approximately 17.4 mcg/kg/day, which is approximately 2 to 3% of the oral maternal dose. Methadone has been detected in very low plasma concentrations in some infants whose mothers were taking methadone.

Females and Males of Reproductive Potential

Infertility

The effect of Methadone Hydrochloride on fertility is unknown. Chronic use of opioids may cause reduced fertility in females and males of reproductive potential. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible (see ADVERSE REACTIONSand CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

Reproductive function in human males may be decreased by methadone treatment. Reductions in ejaculate volume and seminal vesicle and prostate secretions have been reported in methadone-treated individuals. In addition, reductions in serum testosterone levels and sperm motility, and abnormalities in sperm morphology have been reported.

In published animal studies, methadone produces a significant regression of sex accessory organs and testes of male mice and rats and administration of methadone to pregnant rats reduced fetal blood testosterone and androstenedione in male offspring.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients below the age of 18 years have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of methadone did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently compared to younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for elderly patients should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Methadone is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.

Hepatic Impairment

The use of methadone has not been extensively evaluated in patients with hepatic insufficiency. Methadone is metabolized in the liver and patients with liver impairment may be at risk of accumulating methadone after multiple dosing. Start these patients on lower doses and titrate slowly while carefully monitoring for signs of respiratory and central nervous system depression.

Renal Impairment

The use of methadone has not been extensively evaluated in patients with renal insufficiency. Since unmetabolized methadone and its metabolites are excreted in urine to a variable degree, start these patients on lower doses and with longer dosing intervals and titrate slowly while carefully monitoring for signs of respiratory and central nervous system depression.

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