While methadone has proven to be an indispensible medication for treating pain and mitigating the side effects of opioid addiction, a spike in methadone poisoning cases has occurred over the past decade, another tragic consequence of the nationwide opioid epidemic plaguing the U.S.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one suffered an unintentional overdose on methadone, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What is Methadone?
Methadone (dolophine) is a synthetic “opioid” used as an analgesic to treat chronic pain. The drug is also used to treat opiate addiction.
What is Methadone Poisoning?
Methadone-related overdoses accounted for nearly 1 in 4 deaths associated with prescription opioids in 2014, despite a downward trend in fatalities related to the drug over the few years prior to that, according to the CDC.
Overall, the rate of methadone-overdose deaths increased 600% from 1999 to 2006 before beginning to fall in 2014, according to Mark Faul, PhD, and colleagues.
The sharp increase in methadone poisonings has prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a public health advisory cautioning patients to take methadone exactly as prescribed and to be aware of the signs of methadone overdose.
Methadone and Benzodiazepines
In September 2017, FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication stating that methadone and buprenorphine (another drug used to mitigate opiate addiction) should not be withheld from patients taking benzodiazepines or other drugs that depress the central nervous system (CNS). The combined use of these drugs increases the risk of serious side effects; however, the harm caused by untreated opioid addiction can
outweigh these risks.
Methadone Side Effects
Methadone has been linked to a large number of potential side effects, ranging from mild to life-threatening:
- Weight Gain
- Cardiac Arrhythmia
- Memory Loss
- Constricted Pupils
- Difficulty Urinating
- Serious Withdrawal
- Suicidal Ideation
Methadone Half Life
Methadone has a highly variable half-life, which means that it can stay in the body for different amounts of time depending on a patient’s individual biological characteristics and a host of other factors. While a typical dose lasts between 4 and 8 hours, it can stay in the body up to 60 hours after it is taken. This significantly increases the risk for an overdose, especially during the first week of treatment, and of drug toxicity, when methadone is taken with other medications.
Do I Have a Methadone Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in methadone lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new methadone poisoning cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one suffered an overdose from a prescription opioid drug, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.