Methadone - Uses, Side Effects, and Withdrawal


Methadone is an opiate narcotic analgesic. Methadone has two main functions. It is prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain in patients when non-narcotic pain relievers do not achieve adequate results. It is also used to prevent withdrawal symptoms and dependence in patients who are addicted to opiate drugs, such as heroin or morphine.

Methadone for Pain Relief

When used to treat moderate to severe pain, methadone works by changing the way the nervous system and the brain respond to pain. Methadone is considered an opiate (narcotic) analgesic.

Methadone is used every four to 12 hours to relieve pain. The prescribing physician will decided on the correct dosage based on the needs of the individual patient. Dosages may be increased or decreased depending on the level of pain relief achieved.

Methadone should not be stopped without first discussing this with the prescribing doctor. Doctors generally decrease the dosage to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone for Treatment of Narcotic Addiction, Withdrawal, and Dependence

Methadone has been used for over 30 years to safely and effectively treat narcotic withdrawal and dependence. Heroin or morphine type drugs release an excess of dopamine in the body and cause users to need heroine or the drug of choice to continuously occupy the opioid receptor in the brain. Methadone works by occupying the opioid receptor and is the stabilizer to allow addicts to change their behavior and stop heroin or other opioid drug use by eliminating withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone suppresses narcotic withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours. It reduces cravings associated with heroin or other opioid drugs and blocks the high and does not provide an euphoric rush. Patients on methadone do not experience extreme highs and lows associated with different heroin levels in the blood stream.

Methadone withdrawal is slower than heroin withdrawal. Addicts on methadone do not experience the harsh side effects of heroin. Many patients require continuous treatment for several years.

Methadone treatment programs are highly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Patients on a methadone treatment program for opioid addiction are required to report to methadone clinics and physician offices to obtain doses of methadone.

Side Effects of Methadone

Methadone can cause a number of side effects. Any of the following side effects, if severe, should be reported to the prescribing physician:
  • weakness
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • drowsiness
  • weight gain
  • vision problems
  • mood changes
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • swelling of the hands, arms, feet or legs
  • sweating or flushing
  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • difficulty urinating
  • dry mouth
  • missed menstrual periods
  • decreased sexual ability or desire

Patients need to contact their doctor immediately if they experience any seizures, itching, hives, or have a rash.

Warning Regarding Methadone Usage

Methadone may cause an irregular heartbeat or slowed breathing, both can be life-threatening. Patients should contact their physician immediately if they experience:
  • difficulty breathing
  • extreme drowsiness
  • shallow or slow breathing
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • severe dizziness
  • faintness
  • confusion

The risk of these side effects is greatest when methadone is first used. Doctors may start a patient on a low dose and gradually increase the dose as the body adjusts to the medication.

Never take more methadone than prescribed. If taking methadone for pain management, pain may return before it is time for the next dose of methadone. Do not take an extra dose. Methadone can build up in the body and cause a life threatening side effect. Talk to the doctor if the pain medication is not lasting long enough between doses.

Considerations Regarding Methadone Use

Methadone is an effective treatment for patients in severe pain. It can be used safely and has shown positive results in opioid addicted patients.

Methadone should be stored in a safe place and never be used by a person that was not prescribed the medication. Keep track of how many tablets or how much solution is left to help determine if any is missing.

Always keep appointments with doctors, clinics, and laboratories. Physicians will need to check on every patient's response to methadone. Methadone is not a refillable prescription. Patients will need to see the doctor each time a prescription is needed.

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How to Protect Others When Someone Has Flu

flu prevention tips

Someone in the house has been diagnosed with the flu. This places others in the household, especially close contacts (those within six feet of the sick person), at risk for developing an influenza infection as well. While providing basic care, home caregivers of a person with the flu can protect themselves and others from unnecessary exposure to the influenza virus, may benefit from anti-viral prophylactic treatment, and can use sanitary practices that may lessen the spread of flu germs.

Are People in the Household High Risk for Flu Complications?

People who are high risk for complications of the flu should contact their healthcare provider regarding whether or not to obtain anti-viral treatment if they are in close contact with someone diagnosed with the flu.

High risk groups for serious complications from the flu include, but are not limited to, those who are:
  • 65 years old and older
  • Pregnant or are within two weeks of an ended pregnancy
  • Diagnosed with a chronic illness such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease
  • Young children, especially younger than two but children up to age four may be higher risk than older children
  • Receiving treatments that decrease immunity, such as certain cancer treatments

If possible, people who are at high risk for complications from the flu should avoid exposure to people who have flu-like symptoms. If the primary caregiver in the home is in a high-risk category, ideally another caregiver should be designated to care for the person with flu symptoms. If another caregiver is not an option, try to limit exposure as much as possible.

Many people who are in high-risk categories are encouraged to get the flu shot, and people in their household may also be encouraged to get the influenza vaccine whether or not the high-risk person is eligible for the shot, but the vaccine will not help someone who has already developed flu-like symptoms. People who get the seasonal influenza shot and/or the H1N1 (swine) flu shot can still get the flu.

How to Help Prevent the Spread of Flu in the Home

Below are some ways to protect others in the household if someone has the flu, if possible:
Tips for seeking the advice of a healthcare professional include:
  • Others in the home may contact their healthcare provider or a flu hotline to see if they should obtain a prescription for anti-viral medications, whether or not they are in a high risk category for flu complications.
  • If others in the home begin to have flu-like symptoms, they should contact a healthcare provider or flu hotline.

Tips for limiting exposure to the flu virus include:
  • Avoid close contact with the sick person by having that person stay in a separate room with a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Encourage visitors to call rather than to visit in person.
  • Have the ill person or others in the same room wear face masks.
  • Designate one person, preferably someone that is not high risk for complications, to care for the sick person.
  • Avoid having a sick person to care for those who are high risk for complications of the flu, such as infants or elderly members of the household.
  • Have all persons in the household cover their coughs or sneezes with their inner arm. People who are carrying small children who are coughing and/or sneezing may protect themselves by carrying the child with his chin on the caregiver’s shoulder.

Cleaning tips in the home when someone has the flu include:
  • Wash hands appropriately and frequently. For more information on handwashing, see the article entitled Washing Hands Saves Lives.
  • Consider using paper towels rather than cloth towels during the infectious phase.
  • Ensure that all disposable items, such as tissues, used by the infected person are put in the trash after use.
  • Keep surfaces and other items in the home as clean as possible by disinfecting them per manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Common eating utensils should be washed before another person uses them.
  • Dirty linens should be handled carefully and washed with laundry detergent and dried on a hot setting. Readers may wish to read How to Make a Bed With Someone in It.

Protecting Others When Someone Has the Flu at Home

When someone in a household is diagnosed with the flu, others are at risk for developing influenza as well. Other contacts within the home, especially those at risk for serious complications of the flu, can use these guidelines to help protect themselves and others from getting the flu as well. No preventive measures will guarantee that others will not get the flu, but these guidelines may help lessen the flu symptoms of close contacts if they do get the viral infection as well.

Although the source listed below is geared toward H1N1 or swine flu, many of the suggestions above can help if someone in the household has seasonal flu as well.

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How To Break Any Addiction


No matter the addiction -- drugs, gambling, shopping, smoking, alcohol or more -- people who want to kick their habit this year might find help in a new Harvard University publication.

Overcoming Addiction: Paths toward recovery” offers guidance for breaking unwanted addictive habits. The advice applies universally, because what all addictions have in common, the Harvard experts say, is the way the brain responds to pleasurable experiences.

Five Simple Steps to Breaking the Addiction

To break the additive behavior and patterns, researchers at Harvard University recommend the following steps to increase the chances of success:

  • Seek help and create a support network -- get input, advice and support from peers as well as professionals. Start with a doctor or a community mental health center for advice, a plan and -- if necessary -- medication to help with the break. Ask family, friends and co-workers for encouragement and backup.
  • Set a quit date -- some people find it helpful to choose a significant date, a birthday or anniversary, perhaps.
  • Make a change in environment -- removing reminders and temptations from the home and workplace can make the break easier. For example, ridding the home of alcohol, bottle openers and wine or drink glasses might help a person trying to stop drinking. Don’t let others bring reminders into the home. And, if necessary, break relations with people who enable the condition or additive behavior.
  • Learn new skills and activities -- find something to replace the addiction and help conquer urges. Many people find that exercise is a good substitute activity to help fight temptation.
  • Review past attempts at quitting -- note what worked, what did not, and what might have led to falling back into old habits. Then, make appropriate changes.

Additional Tips to Remember

Additional helpful hints any person should remember when they are trying to break free from a habit or addiction include:
  • Surrounding oneself with close, supportive friends and family. When trying to stop a an unhealthy behavior, friends and family can be great support, can offer encouragement and insight. They can also pick a person up when they are down.
  • Change the life routine. -- Addictions take up a lot of free time. Smoker often find themselves with an enormous amount of time of their hands and don’t know what to do with it. Many times, they will simply fill it with smoking! Pick up a new hobby like reading or pick up the phone and call a friend. Take a walk, exercise or play a game, anything not to think about all the healthy free time now available.

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When all else fails, everyone needs a pep talk. If that doesn’t work, try again and keep trying until the addiction is under control.
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Impact of Winter Colds on Production

winter cold

The United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Extreme Cold” guide offers several steps that adults and children can take to prevent themselves from getting sick during winter months. An early step toward avoiding catching a cold, swine flu or other general weather related sickness is to maintain an adequate body temperature.

Winter Warmth Staves Off Flu and Colds

Prior to winter, home owners should check their heating systems to make certain that they are functioning properly. General maintenance for some heating systems will require no more than changing the filter on a regular basis. Check to be sure that windows are properly insulated. Make sure that hot water heating system circulating pumps are adequately lubricated.

Radiators and vents should be free of debris so that warm air will easily circulate throughout the home. Many of these general maintenance steps can be performed over the course of one to two days. People who live in an apartment should ensure that their building maintenance crews check their unit heating system and install new filters as needed.

While indoors, keep the thermostat set at about 62 degrees Fahrenheit. People who get cold with temperatures set in the low 60 degree level might consider putting on a sweater while they are indoors until they retire to bed. Layering clothes and adding one to two additional blankets atop beds is another way to maintain a healthy body temperature during winter.

(An additional benefit to layering clothes and adding blankets to beds is lowered heating expenses. In fact, the United States Department of Energy notes in their “Energy Savers” tips that home owners can decrease their energy bills by about 10% if they turn their thermostat back 10% - 15% for eight hours each day).

Proper Nutrition Works Like Good Winter Medicine

Consume plenty of liquids and eat healthy meals. People who feel they might not be getting enough vitamins and minerals might consider taking a multivitamin in the morning with their breakfast. Drinking fruit juices or eating raw fruit feeds the body valuable Vitamin C. Together, raw fruit, healthy juices and multivitamins can help to keep the immune system strong throughout winter.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the consumption of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages can hasten the lowering of a person’s body temperature. For this reason, it is beneficial to limit the amount of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages one consumes during winter. Drinks and food like hot decaffeinated teas, hot cocoas and soups are good sources of taste, warmth and nutrition. They are also quick and easy to prepare and are generally inexpensive.

Layer Clothes While Outside in Cold Air

Before venturing outdoors, people will do well to make sure that they are properly clothed. Wear hats, gloves, scarves, socks and well insulated shoes to help maintain a good body temperature. Keep in mind that when the body begins to shiver, it is a sign that one’s body temperature is dropping. In these cases, it might be a good idea to head indoors.

Wear layered clothes and avoid overexertion. The more the body sweats while outdoors in cold weather, the harder the body and the heart have to work to maintain adequate body heat. This can put a strain on the heart and other bodily organs.

Throughout the day, adults and children should take the time to wash their hands. Keeping an antiseptic hand gel or wash nearby can make it easy to clean the hands regularly. Wash or clean hands thoroughly after each trip to the bathroom and after a thorough nose blowing.

At the first sign of sickness, get plenty of rest and begin to feed the body additional vitamins and liquids. Avoid the temptation to push oneself to the point of exhaustion. With proper care, including staying warm, avoiding over exertion and consuming adequate vitamins and minerals, children and adults can avoid suffering through a major cold, flu or other general weather related virus during winter months.

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Identifying Symptoms of Yeast Infections and Their Causes

symptoms of yeast infections

Symptoms of yeast infections, also called candida infections, can occur throughout the body systemically, wrecking havoc with bodily systems and causing numerous problems. Candida is an organism found naturally in the body, which under ordinary circumstances does not cause problems. Overgrowth may occur due to a weakened immune system or after taking antibiotics or a round of cortico-steroids. Those with AIDS or other immuno-compromised conditions are at greatest risk for developing a serious yeast infection. It is important to learn how to recognize symptoms of yeast infections so treatment can be started immediately.

Early Symptoms of Yeast Infections

Early symptoms of the majority of candida yeast infections often appear when candida colonies in the bowel become unbalanced due to the presence of antibiotics. Some of these yeast infection symptoms include itching, discharge, migraine headaches, stiffness in shoulders, fibromyalgia-like muscle and joint pain, cramping and mucus in the stool. Additional symptoms of yeast over-colonization include, bloating, intestinal gas, bad breath, indigestion, constipation, reduced appetite and a white film that forms on the tongue called thrush.

Mental and Emotional Symptoms of Candida Infections

As a yeast infection becomes more widespread, more profound mental and emotional symptoms may appear, including but not limited to suicidal depression, hyperactivity, anxiety, memory loss, autism, learning disorders irritability, fatigue and mood swings, shortening of the attention span, and nervousness.

Systemic Candida Infection Symptoms

Systemic yeast infections may occur, originating from the bowel in people with weakened immune systems or those who have been exposed to long term antibiotic or steroid treatment. Mild systemic infections do not occur – the disease is always severe and may be quite serious, according to the Life Extension website. Invasive yeast starts off in the bowel and spreads through the bloodstream, causing possible fever and shock, elevated heart rate, respiratory problems, decreased blood pressure, skin rashes and organ damage. Additional severe candida infections symptoms may be hypoglycemia, multiple sclerosis, acne lesions, hormonal problems, allergies and gluten intolerance.

Skin Symptoms from Yeast Infections

Red, sore and itchy skin may occur. A rash with sore patches may appear in skin folds where moisture gets trapped, resulting in itching and peeling of the skin. Unpleasant body odor under breasts and in folds of skin may occur from the presence of yeast on the skin.

Cravings from Yeast Infections

Yeast infections, locally or systemically, can cause cravings for various foods, such as breads, pasta, and various sweet and starchy foods. One of the earliest signs an individual may have a yeast infection is the appearance of food cravings. Eating a well-balanced diet can help manage cravings and body aches.

Other Concerns and Symptoms of Yeast Infections

There are other symptoms and conditions which may appear as a result of a systemic yeast infection such as vaginal infection with discharge, accompanied by severe itching and irritation, as well as bladder infection, impotence in males, urinary tract problems and menstrual irregularities.

For people suffering from immuno-compromised states and others experiencing several of the above symptoms, a visit to a doctor or natural healthcare practitioners is recommended. After tests have confirmed the presence of candida, a variety of natural yeast infection treatments are available.

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How to Get a Good Night's Sleep Tonight

“Getting hit with insomnia is a lot like having your heart broken,” write Doctors Paul Glovinsky and Arthur Spielman in The Insomnia Answer. “You feel betrayed and sapped of vitality; what used to flow naturally and effortlessly is now agonizing.” There’s no real secret to a great night’s sleep, they say, but cultivating good habits will have you catching zzzs in no time.

good night sleep

Get Up

Sound counterproductive? Sleeping until noon because you’ve tossed and turned all night might feel good in the moment, but you’ll be paying for it later. Set at alarm and get up at the same time every day, you’ll soon train your body onto a more regular schedule. This goes for naps too: zonking out on the couch after work will do you no favours come midnight.

Go Easy on the Chemicals

Insomnia isn’t a disease; it’s a symptom. Don’t dream that a sleeping pill will somehow fix the problem—though it may work for a short time, you risk long-term chemical dependency. Instead of putting more things in your body, look at what you’re already ingesting: Have you had eight cups of coffee today? A big meal of pasta before bed? Two glasses of wine with dinner? All can cause or irritate insomnia, so pay attention.

Get Moving

It’s a common misconception that exercise before bed will energize you. In fact, a study of highly active young men found that prolonged, vigorous exercise 30 minutes before bedtime had little effect on sleep. Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., says “Exercise initially increases such stress hormones. But several hours after a workout, a rebound effect occurs.” Yep, you know what that means: less stress is more sleep.

The Physical Necessities

It’s not all mental practice; some tricks are as easy as going to the drugstore. Warm milk or herbal tea (without caffeine of course) are for many people very effective. A small snack could also help. A good firm mattress—or a soft one, if you like that better—and air-conditioning is a good investment, as are thick curtains, earplugs, a sleep mask, and a clock without a torturous illuminated screen.

Visualize, Visualize, Visualize

Forget counting sheep, new sleep techniques are much more effective. Try progressive relaxation: start at the feet, feel their weight and let them relax and sink into the bed. Move to ankles, repeat. By the time you make your way to your head, you’ll be in la la land. Or if this doesn’t work, there’s always the old backwards-count. Start at a thousand, and count one number between breaths. Good night and good luck.

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