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Home > Medical Drugs > Drugs beginning with M > Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate USP, 10 mg per mL(Dye-Free, Sugar-Free, Unflavored) andMethadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate USP, 10 mg per mL(Cherry)
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Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate USP, 10 mg per mL
(Dye-Free, Sugar-Free, Unflavored) and
Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate USP, 10 mg per mL
(Cherry)

FOR ORAL USE ONLY.

Rx only

CONDITIONS FOR DISTRIBUTION AND USE

CONDITIONS FOR DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF METHADONE PRODUCTS FOR THE TREATMENT OF OPIOID ADDICTION

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 42, Sec 8

METHADONE PRODUCTS WHEN USED FOR THE TREATMENT OF OPIOID ADDICTION IN DETOXIFICATION OR MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS, SHALL BE DISPENSED ONLY BY OPIOID TREATMENT PROGRAMS (AND AGENCIES, PRACTITIONERS OR INSTITUTIONS BY FORMAL AGREEMENT WITH THE PROGRAM SPONSOR) CERTIFIED BY THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION AND APPROVED BY THE DESIGNATED STATE AUTHORITY. CERTIFIED TREATMENT PROGRAMS SHALL DISPENSE AND USE METHADONE IN ORAL FORM ONLY AND ACCORDING TO THE TREATMENT REQUIREMENTS STIPULATED IN THE FEDERAL OPIOID TREATMENT STANDARDS (42 CFR 8.12). See below for important regulatory exceptions to the general requirement for certification to provide opioid agonist treatment.

FAILURE TO ABIDE BY THE REQUIREMENTS IN THESE REGULATIONS MAY RESULT IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTION, SEIZURE OF THE DRUG SUPPLY, REVOCATION OF THE PROGRAM APPROVAL, AND INJUNCTION PRECLUDING OPERATION OF THE PROGRAM.

DESCRIPTION

Each mL for oral administration contains:

Methadone Hydrochloride . . . . . . . . . . 10 mg

Chemically, Methadone Hydrochloride is 3-Heptanone, 6-(dimethylamino)-4,4-diphenyl-, hydrochloride, which can be represented by the following structural formula:

C21H27NO • HCl M.W. 345.91

Methadone hydrochloride is a white, essentially ordorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It is very soluble in water, soluble in isopropranolol and in chloroform, and practically insoluble in ether and in glycerine. It is present in Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate as the racemic mixture. Methadone hydrochloride has a melting point of 235°C, a pKa of 8.25 in water at 20°C, a solution (1 in 100) pH between 4.5 and 6.5, a partition coefficient of 117 at pH 7.4 in octanol/water.

Each mL of the unflavored liquid concentrate, for oral administration, contains 10 mg of methadone hydrochloride. Inactive ingredients: citric acid, sodium benzoate and water.

Each mL of the cherry-flavored liquid concentrate, for oral administration, contains 10 mg of methadone hydrochloride. Inactive ingredients: citric acid, D&C Red #33, FD&C Red #40, flavor, glycerin, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, sodium saccharin, sorbitol, sucrose and water.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Mechanism of Action

Methadone hydrochloride is a µ gonist; a synthetic opioid analgesic with multiple actions qualitatively similar to those of morphine, the most prominent of which involve the central nervous system and organs composed of smooth muscle. The principal actions of therapeutic value are analgesia and sedation and detoxification or maintenance in opioid addiction. The methadone abstinence syndrome, although qualitatively similar to that of morphine, differs in that the onset is slower, the course is more prolonged, and the symptoms are less severe.

Some data also indicate that methadone acts as an antagonist at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. The contribution of NMDA receptor antagonism to methadone’s efficacy is unknown. Other NMDA receptor antagonists have been shown to produce neurotoxic effects in animals.

Pharmacokinetics

Pharmacokinetics in Special Populations

Drug Interactions

(See PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions.)

Methadone undergoes hepatic N-demethylation by cytochrome P-450 isoforms, principally CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, and to a lesser extent by CYP2C9 and CYP2D6. Coadministration of methadone with inducers of these enzymes may result in more rapid methadone metabolism, and potentially, decreased effects of methadone. Conversely, administration with inhibitors may reduce metabolism and potentiate methadone’s effects. Therefore, drugs administered concomitantly with methadone should be evaluated for interaction potential. Clinicians are advised to evaluate individual response to drug therapy.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

  • Detoxification treatment of opioid addiction (heroin or other morphine-like drugs).
  • Maintenance treatment of opioid addiction (heroin or other morphine-like drugs), in conjunction with appropriate social and medical services.

NOTE

Outpatient maintenance and outpatient detoxification treatment may be provided only by Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) certified by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This does not preclude the maintenance treatment of a patient with concurrent opioid addiction who is hospitalized for conditions other than opioid addiction and who requires temporary maintenance during the critical period of his/her stay, or of a patient whose enrollment has been verified in a program which has been certified for maintenance treatment with methadone.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to methadone hydrochloride or any other ingredient in Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate.

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate is contraindicated in any situation where opioids are contraindicated such as: patients with respiratory depression (in the absence of resuscitative equipment or in unmonitored settings), and in patients with acute bronchial asthma or hypercarbia.

WARNINGS

Cardiac Conduction Effects

This information is provided to alert the prescribing physician, and is not intended to deter the appropriate use of methadone in patients with a history of cardiac disease.

Laboratory studies, both in vivo and in vitro, have demonstrated that methadone inhibits cardiac potassium channels and prolongs the QT interval. Cases of QT interval prolongation and serious arrhythmia (torsades de pointes) have been observed during treatment with methadone. These cases appear to be more commonly associated with, but not limited to, higher dose treatment (> 200 mg/day). Although most cases involve patients being treated for pain with large, multiple daily doses of methadone, cases have been reported in patients receiving doses commonly used in maintenance treatment of opioid addiction. In most of the cases seen at typical maintenance doses, concomitant medications and/or clinical conditions such as hypokalemia are noted as contributing factors. However, the evidence strongly suggests that methadone possesses the potential for adverse cardiac conduction effects in some patients.

Methadone should be administered with particular caution to patients already at risk for development of prolonged QT interval (e.g., cardiac hypertrophy, concomitant diuretic use, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia). Careful monitoring is recommended when using methadone in patients with a history of cardiac conduction disease, those taking medications affecting cardiac conduction, and in other cases where history or physical exam suggest an increased risk of dysrhythmia. Patients developing QT prolongation while on methadone treatment should be evaluated for the presence of modifiable risk factors, such as concomitant medications with cardiac effects, drugs which might cause electrolyte abnormalities, and drugs which might act as inhibitors of methadone metabolism. The potential risks of methadone, including the risk of life-threatening arrhythmias, should be weighed against the risks of discontinuing methadone treatment. In the patient being treated for opiate dependence with methadone maintenance therapy, these risks include a very high likelihood of relapse to illicit drug use following methadone discontinuation.

The use of methadone in patients already known to have a prolonged QT interval has not been systematically studied. The potential risks of methadone should be weighed against the substantial morbidity and mortality associated with untreated opioid addiction.

Respiratory Depression

Respiratory depression is the chief hazard associated with methadone hydrochloride administration. Respiratory depression is of particular concern in elderly or debilitated patients as well as in those suffering from conditions accompanied by hypoxia or hypercapnia when even moderate therapeutic doses may dangerously decrease pulmonary ventilation.

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate should be administered with extreme caution to patients with conditions accompanied by hypoxia, hypercapnia, or decreased respiratory reserve such as: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, severe obesity, sleep apnea syndrome, myxedema, kyphoscoliosis, and CNS depression or coma. In these patients, even usual therapeutic doses of methadone may decrease respiratory drive while simultaneously increasing airway resistance to the point of apnea. Alternative, non-opioid analgesics should be considered, and methadone should be employed only under careful medical supervision at the lowest effective dose.

Methadone's peak respiratory depressant effects typically occur later, and persist longer than its peak analgesic effects, in the short-term use setting. These characteristics can contribute to cases of iatrogenic overdose, particularly during treatment initiation and dose titration.

Incomplete Cross-tolerance between Methadone and other Opioids

Patients tolerant to other opioids may be incompletely tolerant to methadone. Incomplete cross-tolerance is of particular concern for patients tolerant to other µ-opioid agonists who are being converted to methadone, thus making determination of dosing during opioid conversion complex. Deaths have been reported during conversion from chronic, high-dose treatment with other opioid agonists. A high degree of “opioid tolerance” does not eliminate the possibility of methadone overdose, iatrogenic or otherwise.

Misuse, Abuse, and Diversion of Opioids

Methadone is a mu-agonist opioid with an abuse liability similar to morphine and is a Schedule II controlled substance. Methadone, like morphine and other opioids used for analgesia, has the potential for being abused and is subject to criminal diversion.

Methadone can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit. This should be considered when dispensing Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate in situations where the clinician is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion.

Healthcare professionals should contact their State Professional Licensing Board, or State Controlled Substances Authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.

Interactions with other CNS Depressants

Patients receiving other opioid analgesics, general anesthetics, phenothiazines, other tranquilizers, sedatives, hypnotics, or other CNS depressants (including alcohol) concomitantly with methadone may experience respiratory depression, hypotension, profound sedation, or coma (see PRECAUTIONS).

Interactions with Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse

Methadone may be expected to have additive effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids, or illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression. Deaths associated with illicit use of methadone frequently have involved concomitant benzodiazepine abuse.

Head Injury and Increased Intracranial Pressure

The respiratory depressant effects of opioids and their capacity to elevate cerebrospinal-fluid pressure may be markedly exaggerated in the presence of head injury, other intracranial lesions or a pre-existing increase in intracranial pressure. Furthermore, opioids produce effects which may obscure the clinical course of patients with head injuries. In such patients, methadone must be used with caution, and only if it is deemed essential.

Acute Abdominal Conditions

The administration of opioids may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course of patients with acute abdominal conditions.

Hypotensive Effect

The administration of methadone may result in severe hypotension in patients whose ability to maintain normal blood pressure is compromised (e.g., severe volume depletion).

PRECAUTIONS

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate should be used with caution in elderly and debilitated patients; patients who are known to be sensitive to central nervous system depressants, such as those with cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, or hepatic disease; and in patients with comorbid conditions or concomitant medications which may predispose to dysrhythmia or reduced ventilatory drive.

Drug Interactions

In vitro results suggest that methadone undergoes hepatic N-demethylation by cytochrome P450 enzymes, principally CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19 and to a lesser extent by CYP2C9 and CYP2D6. Coadministration of methadone with inducers of these enzymes may result in a more rapid metabolism and potential for decreased effects of methadone, whereas administration with inhibitors may reduce metabolism and potentiate methadone’s effects. Therefore, drugs administered concomitantly with methadone should be evaluated for interaction potential; clinicians are advised to evaluate individual response to drug therapy.

Opioid Antagonists, Mixed Agonist/Antagonists, and Partial Agonists

As with other µ-agonists, patients maintained on methadone may experience withdrawal symptoms when given these agents. Examples of such agents are naloxone, naltrexone, pentazocine, nalbuphine, butorphanol, and buprenorphine.

Anti-retroviral Agents

Cytochrome P450 Inducers

Methadone-maintained patients beginning treatment with CYP3A4 inducers should be monitored for evidence of withdrawal effects and methadone dose should be adjusted accordingly. The following drug interactions were reported following coadministration of methadone with inducers of cytochrome P450 enzymes:

St. John’s Wort, Phenobarbital, Carbamazepine

Administration of methadone along with other CYP3A4 inducers may result in withdrawal symptoms.

Cytochrome P450 Inhibitors

Since the metabolism of methadone is mediated primarily by CYP3A4 isozyme, coadministration of drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 activity may cause decreased clearance of methadone. The expected clinical results would be increased or prolonged opioid effects. Thus, methadone-treated patients coadministered strong inhibitors of CYP3A4 such as azole antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole) with methadone should be carefully monitored and dosage adjustment should be undertaken if warranted. Some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (e.g., sertraline, fluvoxamine) may increase methadone plasma levels upon coadministration with methadone and result in increased opiate effects and/or toxicity.

Others

Potentially Arrhythmogenic Agents

Extreme caution is necessary when any drug known to have the potential to prolong the QT interval is prescribed in conjunction with methadone. Pharmacodynamic interactions may occur with concomitant use of methadone and potentially arrhythmogenic agents such as class I and III antiarrhythmics, some neuroleptics and tricyclic antidepressants, and calcium channel blockers.

Caution should also be exercised when prescribing Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate concomitantly with drugs capable of inducing electrolyte disturbances (hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia) that may prolong the QT interval. These drugs include diuretics, laxatives, and, in rare cases, mineralocorticoid hormones.

Interactions with Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse

Methadone may be expected to have additive effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids or CNS depressants, or with illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression. Deaths have been reported when methadone has been abused in conjunction with benzodiazepines.

Physical Dependence

Physical dependence is manifested by withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation of a drug or upon administration of an antagonist. Physical dependence is expected during opioid agonist therapy of opioid addiction.

The opioid abstinence or withdrawal syndrome is characterized by some or all of the following: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other symptoms also may develop, including: irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate.

In general, opioids should not be abruptly discontinued (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: For Medically Supervised Withdrawal After a Period of Maintenance Treatment ).

Information for Patients

  • Patients should be cautioned that methadone, like all opioids, may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving or operating machinery.
  • Patients should be cautioned that methadone, like other opioids, may produce orthostatic hypotension in ambulatory patients.
  • Patients should be cautioned that alcohol and other CNS depressants may produce an additive CNS depression when taken with this product and should be avoided.
  • Patients should be instructed to seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms suggestive of an arrhythmia (such as palpitations, dizziness, lightheadedness, or syncope) when taking Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate.
  • Patients initiating treatment with methadone should be reassured that the dose of methadone will “hold” for longer periods of time as treatment progresses.
  • Patients seeking to discontinue treatment should be apprised of the high risk of relapse to illicit drug use associated with discontinuation of methadone maintenance treatment.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Pregnancy

Labor and Delivery

As with all opioids, administration of this product to the mother shortly before delivery may result in some degree of respiratory depression in the newborn, especially if higher doses are used. Methadone is not recommended for obstetric analgesia because its long duration of action increases the probability of respiratory depression in the newborn. Narcotics with mixed agonist-antagonist properties should not be used for pain control during labor in patients chronically treated with methadone as they may precipitate acute withdrawal.

Methadone is secreted into human milk. The safety of breastfeeding while taking oral methadone is controversial. At maternal oral doses of 10 to 80 mg/day, methadone concentrations from 50 to 570 µg/L in milk have been 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. Based on an average milk consumption of 150 mL/kg/day, an infant would consume approximately 17.4 µg/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. Women on high dose methadone maintenance, who are already breast feeding, should be counseled to wean breast-feeding gradually in order to prevent neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Methadone-treated mothers considering nursing an opioid-naïve infant should be counseled regarding the presence of methadone in breast milk.

Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from methadone, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother, and weighing the risk of methadone against the risk of maternal illicit drug use.

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 from 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.

Renal Impairment

The use of methadone has not been extensively evaluated in patients with renal insufficiency.

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.

Gender

The use of methadone has not been evaluated for gender specificity.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

Heroin Withdrawal

During the induction phase of methadone maintenance treatment, patients are being withdrawn from heroin and may therefore show typical withdrawal symptoms, which should be differentiated from methadone-induced side effects. They may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms associated with acute withdrawal from heroin or other opiates: lacrimation, rhinorrhea, sneezing, yawning, excessive perspiration, goose-flesh, fever, chilliness alternating with flushing, restlessness, irritability, weakness, anxiety, depression, dilated pupils, tremors, tachycardia, abdominal cramps, body aches, involuntary twitching and kicking movements, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal spasms, and weight loss.

Initial Administration

The initial methadone dose should be carefully titrated to the individual. Too rapid titration for the patient’s sensitivity is more likely to produce adverse effects.

The major hazards of methadone, are respiratory depression and, to a lesser degree, systemic hypotension. Respiratory arrest, shock, cardiac arrest, and death have occurred.

The most frequently observed adverse reactions include lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. These effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory patients and in those who are not suffering severe pain. In such individuals, lower doses are advisable.

Other adverse reactions include the following:

Body as a Whole: asthenia (weakness), edema, headache

Cardiovascular: arrhythmias, bigeminal rhythms, bradycardia, extrasystoles, tachycardia, torsade de pointes, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, ECG abnormalities, prolonged QT interval, T-wave inversion, cardiomyopathy, flushing, heart failure, hypotension, palpitations, phlebitis, syncope

Digestive: abdominal pain, anorexia, biliary tract spasm, constipation, dry mouth, glossitis

Hematologic and Lymphatic: reversible thrombocytopenia has been described in opioid addicts with chronic hepatitis

Metabolic and Nutritional: hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, weight gain

Nervous: agitation, confusion, seizures, disorientation, dysphoria, euphoria, insomnia

Respiratory: pulmonary edema

Skin and Appendages: pruritis, urticaria, other skin rashes, and rarely, hemorrhagic urticaria

Special Senses: visual disturbances

Urogenital: antidiuretic effect, amenorrhea, urinary retention or hesitancy, reduced libido and/or potency

Maintenance on a Stabilized Dose: During prolonged administration of methadone, as in a methadone maintenance treatment program, there is usually a gradual, yet progressive, disappearance of side effects over a period of several weeks. However, constipation and sweating often persist.

DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate contains methadone, a potent Schedule II opioid agonist. Schedule II opioid substances, which also include hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, and oxymorphone, have the highest potential for abuse and risk of fatal overdose due to respiratory depression. Methadone, like morphine and other opioids used for analgesia, has the potential for being abused and is subject to criminal diversion.

Abuse of Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate poses a risk of overdose and death. This risk is increased with concurrent abuse of Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate with alcohol and other substances. In addition, parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious disease such as hepatitis and HIV.

Since Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate may be diverted for non-medical use, careful record keeping of ordering and dispensing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests is strongly advised.

Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate, when used for the treatment of opioid addiction in detoxification or maintenance programs, may be dispensed only by opioid treatment programs certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (and agencies, practitioners or institutions by formal agreement with the program sponsor).

OVERDOSAGE

Signs and Symptoms

Serious overdosage of methadone is characterized by respiratory depression (a decrease in respiratory rate and/or tidal volume, Cheyne-Stokes respiration, cyanosis), extreme somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, maximally constricted pupils, skeletal-muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, and sometimes, bradycardia and hypotension. In severe overdosage, particularly by the intravenous route, apnea, circulatory collapse, cardiac arrest, and death may occur.

Treatment

Primary attention should be given to the reestablishment of adequate respiratory exchange through provision of a patent airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation. If a non-tolerant person, takes a large dose of methadone, effective opioid antagonists are available to counteract the potentially lethal respiratory depression. The physician must remember, however, that methadone is a long-acting depressant (36 to 48 hours), whereas opioid antagonists act for much shorter periods (one to three hours). The patient must, therefore, be monitored continuously for recurrence of respiratory depression and may need to be treated repeatedly with the narcotic antagonist. If the diagnosis is correct and respiratory depression is due only to overdosage of methadone, the use of other respiratory stimulants is not indicated.

Opioid antagonists should not be administered in the absence of clinically significant respiratory or cardiovascular depression. In an individual physically dependent on opioids, the administration of the usual dose of an opioid antagonist may precipitate an acute withdrawal syndrome. The severity of this syndrome will depend on the degree of physical dependence and the dose of the antagonist administered. If antagonists must be used to treat serious respiratory depression in the physically dependent patient, the antagonist should be administered with extreme care and by titration with smaller than usual doses of the antagonist.

Intravenously administered naloxone or nalmefene may be used to reverse signs of intoxication. Because of the relatively short half-life of naloxone as compared with methadone, repeated injections may be required until the status of the patient remains satisfactory. Naloxone may also be administered by continuous intravenous infusion.

Oxygen, intravenous fluids, vasopressors, and other supportive measures should be employed as indicated.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Methadone differs from many other opioid agonists in several important ways. Methadone's pharmacokinetic properties, coupled with high interpatient variability in its absorption, metabolism, and relative analgesic potency, necessitate a cautious and highly individualized approach to prescribing. Particular vigilance is necessary during treatment initiation, during conversion from one opioid to another, and during dose titration.

While methadone’s duration of analgesic action (typically 4 to 8 hours) in the setting of single-dose studies approximates that of morphine, methadone’s plasma elimination half-life is substantially longer than that of morphine (typically 8 to 59 hours vs. 1 to 5 hours). Methadone's peak respiratory depressant effects typically occur later, and persist longer than its peak analgesic effects. Also, with repeated dosing, methadone may be retained in the liver and then slowly released, prolonging the duration of action despite low plasma concentrations. For these reasons, steady-state plasma concentrations, and full analgesic effects, are usually not attained until 3 to 5 days of dosing. Additionally, incomplete cross-tolerance between m-opioid agonists makes determination of dosing during opioid conversion complex.

The complexities associated with methadone dosing can contribute to cases of iatrogenic overdose, particularly during treatment initiation and dose titration. A high degree of "opioid tolerance" does not eliminate the possibility of methadone overdose, iatrogenic or otherwise. Deaths have been reported during conversion to methadone from chronic, high-dose treatment with other opioid agonists and during initiation of methadone treatment of addiction in subjects previously abusing high doses of other agonists.

Induction/Initial Dosing

The initial methadone dose should be administered, under supervision, when there are no signs of sedation or intoxication, and the patient shows symptoms of withdrawal. Initially, a single dose of 20 to 30 mg of methadone will often be sufficient to suppress withdrawal symptoms. The initial dose should not exceed 30 mg. If same-day dosing adjustments are to be made, the patient should be asked to wait 2 to 4 hours for further evaluation, when peak levels have been reached. An additional 5 to 10 mg of methadone may be provided if withdrawal symptoms have not been suppressed or if symptoms reappear. The total daily dose of methadone on the first day of treatment should not ordinarily exceed 40 mg. Dose adjustments should be made over the first week of treatment based on control of withdrawal symptoms at the time of expected peak activity (e.g., 2 to 4 hours after dosing). Dose adjustment should be cautious; deaths have occurred in early treatment due to the cumulative effects of the first several days’ dosing. Patients should be reminded that the dose will “hold” for a longer period of time as tissue stores of methadone accumulate.

Initial doses should be lower for patients whose tolerance is expected to be low at treatment entry. Loss of tolerance should be considered in any patient who has not taken opioids for more than 5 days. Initial doses should not be determined by previous treatment episodes or dollars spent per day on illicit drug use.

For Short-term Detoxification

For patients preferring a brief course of stabilization followed by a period of medically supervised withdrawal, it is generally recommended that the patient be titrated to a total daily dose of about 40 mg in divided doses to achieve an adequate stabilizing level. Stabilization can be continued for 2 to 3 days, after which the dose of methadone should be gradually decreased. The rate at which methadone is decreased should be determined separately for each patient. The dose of methadone can be decreased on a daily basis or at 2-day intervals, but the amount of intake should remain sufficient to keep withdrawal symptoms at a tolerable level. In hospitalized patients, a daily reduction of 20% of the total daily dose may be tolerated. In ambulatory patients, a somewhat slower schedule may be needed.

For Maintenance Treatment

Patients in maintenance treatment should be titrated to a dose at which opioid symptoms are prevented for 24 hours, drug hunger or craving is reduced, the euphoric effects of self-administered opioids are blocked or attenuated, and the patient is tolerant to the sedative effects of methadone. Most commonly, clinical stability is achieved at doses between 80 to 120 mg/day.

For Medically Supervised Withdrawal After a Period of Maintenance Treatment

There is considerable variability in the appropriate rate of methadone taper in patients choosing medically supervised withdrawal from methadone treatment. It is generally suggested that dose reductions should be less than 10% of the established tolerance or maintenance dose, and that 10 to 14-day intervals should elapse between dose reductions. Patients should be apprised of the high risk of relapse to illicit drug use associated with discontinuation of methadone maintenance treatment.

HOW SUPPLIED

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate USP, 10 mg per mL

(Dye-Free, Sugar-Free, Unflavored)

Clear, flavorless solution.

NDC 64019-553-67: Bottles of 1 quart (946 mL).

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate USP, 10 mg per mL (Cherry)

Red-colored, cherry-flavored solution.

NDC 64019-554-67: Bottles of 1 Quart (946 mL).

Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15°-30ºC [See USP Controlled Room Temperature].

Dispense in a tight container, as defined in the USP/NF.

Protect from light.

Manufactured by: Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane, Inc., Columbus, Ohio 43216

Distributed by: Cebert Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama 35242

10004482/01

Revised May 2006

© RLI, 2006

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