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What should I know about methadone before taking it?

If you have a history of long QT syndrome (irregular heartbeat), asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, liver or kidney disease, hypothyroidism, head injury, epilepsy, low blood pressure, Addison's disease, mental illness or alcohol or drug addiction, you need to tell your doctor about your condition, as it may affect whether you should take methadone. You must not take more methadone than prescribed or take it more often than prescribed, as overdose and death can occur.

You will need to pay close attention to your breathing and heartbeat while taking methadone and report any irregularities to your doctor. Methadone is most effective when taken on a regular schedule, as it is better at preventing pain rather than treating pain once you have it. You should avoid drinking alcohol while using methadone, as alcohol can increase drowsiness.

Methadone can be addictive if you take it for longer than prescribed or in greater doses than prescribed. If you need any other medical care, including dental work, be sure to tell your doctor that you are taking methadone to avoid drug interactions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.