Methadone was developed in 1939 in Germany in response to Germany’s opium shortage problem.  It was only until after the war in 1947 that the drug was given the name “methadone” and was introduced to the United States.   During the same year Eli Lilly and Company Pharmaceuticals obtained FDA approval and began manufacturing methadone (Dolophine®).  Early studies concluded that methadone was effective in treating drug addiction patients and interrupting illicit opioid use while reducing associated costs to society; findings that are consistent with modern knowledge.

Methadone (also known as Symoron®, Dolophine®, Amidone® and Methadose®) is a synthetic opioid used as an analgesic (pain reliever) for the management of moderate to severe pain and an antitussive (cough suppressant), but is primarily used for the treatment of narcotic addiction and opiate dependence (heroin, Vicodin®, Percocet®, morphine).  Methadone can be taken as an oral solution, in tablet form or injection. Methadone is a long-acting pain reliever that lasts 24-48 hours, therefore only a once-a-day oral administration is required for those undergoing opiate detoxification and maintenance programs.  

Its distribution and administration as a means to treat narcotic addiction seeks to free the patient from the pressures of obtaining illegal opiates, the health risks associated with injection and the dangerous use of opiates as a drug of abuse.  Higher doses of methadone can block the euphoric effects of opiates such as heroin and morphine.  If used properly and the right dosages are administered, this can lead to methadone patients reducing or stopping their use of these substances entirely.  This opiate replacement therapy treatment is referred to as MMT (Methadone Maintenance Treatment).  In addition to this program improving the health, safety and productivity of its patients, it also has the potential to significantly reduce the spread of infectious diseases associated with opiate injection, such as hepatitis and HIV.

Subjective side effects of use can include euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, nausea, vomiting and constricted pupils.  Ironically, methadone used to control narcotic addiction is frequently encountered on the illicit market and has been associated with a number of overdose deaths. Chronic methadone use can result in tolerance and both physical and psychological dependency.  As a prescription drug marketed to mimic the effects and ultimately replace other narcotics to treat opiate dependence, coupled with its relatively low cost, classifies this drug with a high potential for abuse and physical dependency.  Effects of overdosing on methadone can include slow or shallow breathing, sweating, convulsions, coma and/or possible death.

If taken for a long period of time and at large doses, the withdrawal symptoms of methadone can last a long period of time.  Side effects from the withdrawal syndrome can include cold or flu-like symptoms, yawning, irritability, tremors, panic attacks, cramps, nausea, chills, sweating and a loss of appetite.

Methadone Street Names

  • Dollies
  • Downer
  • Green
  • Juice
  • Meth
  • MTD