Study record managers: refer to the Data Element Definitions if submitting registration or results information. Methadone is a drug that is commonly used to treat opiate addiction, usually as part of a detoxification and maintenance program. Methadone offers significant therapeutic benefits to pregnant women who are opiate dependent, and it is currently the treatment of choice for this group of people.
Pregnant women who are dependent on opioids are at high risk of experiencing complications, generally as a result of: inadequate antenatal care; lifestyle factors including smoking, poor nutrition, high levels of stress and deprivation; repeated cycles of intoxication and withdrawal which can harm the foetus or precipitate premature labour or miscarriage. In most Australian jurisdictions, pregnant opioid dependent women have high priority for access to methadone maintenance programs in order to minimise the risk of complications. Methadone maintenance treatment: enables stabilisation of drug use and lifestyle, reduces or eliminates illicit opioid drug use and can help stabilise the in utero environment, facilitates access to comprehensive antenatal and postnatal care, does not increase the risk of congenital abnormalities in the foetus.
NCBI Bookshelf. Initiation of methadone postpartum, or increasing the maternal dosage to greater than mg daily therapeutically or by abuse while breastfeeding poses a risk of sedation and respiratory depression in the breastfed infant, especially if the infant was not exposed to methadone in utero. If the baby shows signs of increased sleepiness more than usualbreathing difficulties, or limpness, a physician should be contacted immediately.
While human milk provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants, including premature and sick newborns, there are rare exceptions when human milk or breastfeeding is not recommended. Additional information about these conditions is available by clicking the links provided. Mothers may be able to resume breastfeeding after consulting with a physician to determine when their breast milk is safe for their infant.
All FDA black box warnings are at the end of this fact sheet. Please review before taking this medication. Methadone is a prescription medication that works in the brain to treat pain and dependence on opioids.
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The outstanding properties of methadone are its analgesic activity, its efficacy by oral route, its extended duration of action in suppressing of withdrawal symptoms in physically dependent individuals, and its tendency to show persistent effects with repeated administration. The analgesic activity of methadone, a racemate, is almost entirely the result of its R-methadone content. Respiratory depression is the chief hazard associated with methadone, and its peak respiratory depressant effects typically occur later, and persist for longer than its peak analgesic effect, particularly in the early dosing period.
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Methadone has been used for more than 30 years to safely and effectively treat narcotic addiction. Taken orally, once a day, methadone suppresses the symptoms of narcotic withdrawal for between 24—36 hours. Many methadone patients require continuous treatment for months or years—even while pregnant and during breastfeeding.
Methadone is a long-acting mu-opioid receptor full agonist, a schedule II controlled medication. Methadone has been used for decades to treat people who are addicted to heroin and narcotic pain medicines. When taken as prescribed, it is safe and effective. It allows people to recover from their addiction and to reclaim active and meaningful lives.