Methadone Side Effects

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Tirzah
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 8/30/2010 3:02 PM (GMT -7)   
To anyone who's used Methadone for pain...

How long did it take you to get used to the side effects? I switched to Methadone b/c it's super cheap & I'm losing my insurance soon. My PM started me on the lowest possible dose -- so low it really barely even touches the pain (lessens it by less than half a point) -- but in spite of this the side effects are really strong : sleepiness, SEVERE vertigo, cotton mouth.

When I started the Actiq, I felt similar strong side effects, but I was on summer break and didn't need to worry about being able to walk around or go to work. It took me about 4 months to get tolerant to the side effects. It took several months more to get used to taking it enough to deal with the pain.

I am drinking a LOT of caffeine just to be able to counter the side effects of a single dose during the day. And I take one dose at bedtime. It's pretty rough. But I think if I can get tolerant to the side effects & be able to take a higher dose & take it the 4x/day that I'm prescribed, it might actually help.

I'm not in a crisis or anything b/c my PM gave me enough of my regular med to take it whenever I can't stand the Methadone, but I just really want to not have to worry about being bedridden once I lose my insurance in October. I'm hoping I can go slowly so I don't have to add too much stress to my already stressful life right now, but if it takes a long time to get tolerant then maybe I just need to bite the bullet, so to speak.

Please if anyone has been on this med & could share some info with me I would feel so much better.

thanks,
frances

Screaming Eagle
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Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 8/30/2010 5:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Frances!

I tried to look for the question you posted here, and really did not find much, other than sites saying the side effect will vary and the length as well with some of them.

WOW!...there are a lot of possible side effects with this med....so please read up on it as much as you can. I do have a friend at work that is on it, and he is happy with the results.

Other than that...it looks like you will have to wait for another member here to voice their wisdom on it. Sorry..I'm an oxycodone patient.

Have a good evening!

SE wink

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 8/30/2010 9:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Frances,

My experience w/ methadone - have given it two good tries in the past. Yes, it's usually started at a super low dose, due to methadone's longer half-life and the way it builds up in your system. So, both times - I actually went through some withdrawal because it was much lower than the medicine I was switching from.

For me, I had very similar side effects that you are talking about... The longest I was on it was 3 months - and even as the dose was increased, I could never get to a point where the pain control outweighed the side effects. So, for me - methadone was never a success.

That being said, I know there's a couple of people on here that use it and it works... so hopefully they'll respond.

Good luck, Frances; I hope it works for you... let us know. --Tina

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 8/31/2010 5:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Tina. I didn't have a problem with withdrawal. My only issue is that even a single 5mg dose makes me so severely dizzy that I can hardly stand up & crash into walls and furniture repeatedly.

I had to take a break from it just so I could go to work today. ugh.

Pete trips again!
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1899
   Posted 9/1/2010 4:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Frances! (Wild Frances!) See I remember!! I've been on Methadone for a long time now, aboout 7 or 8 years so it's tough to remember starting. I do kinda remember the nodding out and having trouble walking. I'm sure this will pass as your system gets used to it. Methadone is a weird drug, unlike anything else I've ever taken but now I don't think I could be me w/o it!! Most days I only take 30mg a day evan though I'm prescribed 40mgs. saving the extra 10mgs for really bad days.
It works wonders for some peeps and others not so much! You'll have to wait untill it is built up in your system> it's stored in your bones & fat and stays there for a very long time!!! Like mentioned, it has the longest half life of any narcotic, which is why it's the hardest drug to get off of. That is the bennifit of this drug. I take oxicodone for breakthrough pain and this combo is the very best I've found for my pain!!!
Good luck and feel free to ask any more questions!!!
Your Buddy>
Pete
When I was young & stupid I broke almost every bone in my body and I'm paying a heavy price now but I'm still here and so glad to see my two sons grow up to be fine young men, both are in the Navy. I'm so proud! My biggest health problem>> I'm a certified Luny~Tune!!

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 9/1/2010 5:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Pete. It's stored in your bones & fat?! That's creepy.

I'm gonna try taking some more of it tomorrow so we'll see how it goes. Maybe I can cut it in half so it's not so much. I'm gonna check with pharmacist to see.

Thanks for the info!

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13466
   Posted 9/2/2010 1:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Frances, the only way you are going to know if the Methadone is going to help with your pain is to take it exactly as rx'd. Methadone has to build up in your system and it is stored and released from your tissues. This is where the half life comes into play. Most likely you will not be able to tell much using it hit & miss, not really a good way to take Methadone at all. Side effects should go away in a couple of weeks. You should call your dr and talk to him about how you are thinking of trying it and get his approval, its not a drug to mess around with. UniquelyMe here at the forum is our Methadone guru so to speak, she has been on it a very long time for CP she knows a lot about it. Also I remember her dr started doing routine EKG's on her because people that are on high doses can develop what is called Long QT Syndrome, meaning it can cause a change in the heart rhythm. So far she has been ok and no problems but if she ever develops this she has to stop taking Methadone permanently.

It is just like any other drug, it may help you or may not. I do know it can be an excellent pain medication, I know a few people that have been on it for years for CP. Other than this mess, how are you doing? Did you get all moved out of your house? Did you move into an apt or what? Take care, any news on a job yet? Hugs, Susie

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 9/2/2010 5:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Susie.
My doctor told me to try to take it as much as I could & to use the Actiq whenever I needed it.

I'm not going to take something that has me covered in bruises from crashing into things & totally unable to shower, cook, drive, read or do any meaningful activities for 2 weeks. That's just not realistic. The half dose worked fine. Some pain relief & much less side effects. Almost everything I've ever been on has been half doses -- not just pain meds. So if all I need are 4 half doses a day of Methadone to control my pain, there's nothing wrong with that.

They did say it was okay to split them, just not to take more than one tablet at a time & not to take them less than 2 hours apart. It just sucks that it really doesn't do much to help with the pain. At least on the lower dose I don't have the added problem of crashing full-on into walls and furniture.

No job. No home. Haven't see the sheriffs yet so I'm still in my place that's being foreclosed. No good news at all.

hope you're doing well,
frances

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13466
   Posted 9/5/2010 1:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Frances I don't know, you just can't seem to catch a break, if you do get one its so darn short lived. You know I forgot how sensitive your system is and forgot that you do a lot of half dosing with meds. How in the world do you tolerate the suckers? Methadone is a scary drug, but it can be a good one for some. I know some people on here at first had trouble with nodding off when starting Methadone. The last thing you need is to be crashing into walls, lol. Jeesh. I did not tolerate Methadone so it was added to the long list of drugs I could not tolerate. Are you totally finished working for place thru the temp agency?

I am getting increases in my pump at refill time which is every 4 weeks. I went in last week and had another increase even though it was not time for a refill. She allows increases like that. All I have to do is call and talk to the nurse and let her know what is going on and in turn she tells the dr and calls me back. I have lost count of how many increases I have had in a row to date. This last increase I was finally able to tell a little difference, nothing spectacular though. I still have plenty of room to go up so that is not a problem. Its just after 5 years of a pump I feel like I am starting all over and pretty much I guess I am since starting with this new dr. I have fought off asking for increases but I am just tired of trying to deal with the pain.

I am still keeping my fingers crossed that you find some work soon. Take care. Susie

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 9/5/2010 11:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Susie,
I use the Actiq almost like a patch. I take a little bit of it at a time. And it took me a long time to get to that point -- I couldn't drive or work for maybe 2-3 months after starting the Actiq at 1-2 200mcg per day, not taken all at once. I can't tolerate the patches b/c I get dreadful welts at the patch site & if I take even a moderately hot shower I overdose. So I don't take the whole Actiq at once except for extremely rare instances. I don't know why I'm so sensitive.

I have 2 more weeks at the temp job. It's just totally stressing me out. Not sleeping more than a few hours a night -- which makes everything so much worse: pain, stress...

Maybe the dizziness is worse b/c I have Chiari (which itself causes vertigo) & even though I have exercises to manage that maybe the combo is just too much. idk. I slipped & fell yesterday coming in with laundry. Fell on my wrist. Ouch. I think it's okay (no ugly bruises) but there is pain shooting up my arm. And the day before that I took my car in b/c it was making noises & found out the engine & transmission were about to fall off the bottom of my 10yo car. So that was $500 I really didn't need to spend. But I need my car. Sadly, 1/4 of that money was to buy Lyrica. I found some samples that will last me most of the month. I'm hoping my doctor can get me some more at my next visit. Another 1/2 was to see a vein specialist b/c we think the pain in my leg might be from blood clots. That will just have to wait.

This is all just so frustrating. Stats say that 2 out of 7 families have someone with a disability, but gosh it seems like I can't find any of them. These recruiting people just seem to not understand anything. I got the hiring manager to agree not to make me go to those conferences & thought I was in the clear, and now the recruiter lady is insistent on me giving her things that are totally unrealistic. I need to find a job that is not so strict about start time. Mornings are so rough -- as I'm sure they are for most people here. I don't have an issue putting in my hours -- or even being available remotely to handle issues, it's just showers & driving that are rough.

It's just so tough that after all this time, finally finding a treatment that can get me relatively normal, it's all about to fall apart b/c of one stupid recruiter who's hung up on my credit score & a 2007 STD absence from a prior job. I don't know what to say. Lawyers like to do things the way they've always been done. There was no reason to go on disability leave except that the Law Dept. was basically the only part of the large corporation that refused to allow employees to work from home (which would have made it easy to start before 9am -- even if my legs were not willing to move). It's why I wanted to get out of that field. So I picked a tech job that I could do from anywhere. And the manager is fine with me doing it from anywhere. But HR is just hell-bent on hiring someone who's always been perfectly healthy. Her latest excuse is that the EEOC will come after her for hiring me. I feel like screaming at her that the EEOC doesn't just protect black people, but it protects disabled people as well! Oh, I'm so mad that she's hiding behind that. I'm 100% in favor of a diverse workforce. And if there were someone who was equally qualified who was Black or Asian or Latino, hire them. But to hide behind that when the only candidate who fits that criteria is a guy who was fired from the company 5 years ago b/c he didn't do his work and got into heated arguments with the customers, just makes me mad!

Oh! I am just so frustrated. To see my life coming unraveled -- and me with it -- is just too much right now. I'm trying to stay on track but it is so much to deal with. I'm gonna keep trying, though. Maybe at least the Methadone will work out within the next 6 weeks while I still have insurance.

thanks for posting,
frances

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 9/5/2010 12:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Frances,

I'm sorry for all you are going through, and continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers...

--Tina

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13466
   Posted 9/6/2010 1:55 PM (GMT -7)   
At least with your system being so sensitive I guess it gives you a chance to make some of your meds last longer and go further if you are not using a full dose. Gosh, here I thought the temp place was going to work out-I remember they wanted you to do the conference and you had put a lot of things in play behind the scenes with volunteers. I am guessing the bottom fell out on that too. What happened to the person that was supporting you on this? Oh, what an idiot this one that thinks the EEOC only protects black people, gawd what rock did she crawl out from under.

Has this recruiter that is hung up on you credit score not taken a realistic look at the economy today with unemployment being as high as it is and loss of jobs. What do these people expect, I am not sure this is even a place for you to be considering. There appears to be a very high number of morons employed there.

I doubt seriously you will find a job worth taking that offers flexible hours especially this day with things so rotten in the job market. Mornings are just horrible and I don't even bother making dr appts in the morning time.

Well, you just hang in there the best you can, don't you go getting unraveled, when you do its like a domino effect and its just too hard make a come back. I was reading on Yahoo about the 10 most eligible islands that are up for sale. I think we need to pool our pennies and make a bid on one. A couple were even located in the states, lol. I want a white beack with turquoise water and I will be happy. I was a beach bum in my other life. Keep us updated. Hugs, Susie

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 9/6/2010 2:39 PM (GMT -7)   
sweet. i've got 6cents on my counter that I can contribute. how close does that get us to buying an island?

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13466
   Posted 9/7/2010 1:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I found one right under a cool million, I am still working on it.
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