Methadone FAQ - Facts and information on Methadone
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Methadone FAQ

How many people are using Methadone in Canada?

Only 20% of the opioid dependent population is Canada is currently in Methadone treatment. That means that 80% of the opioid drug using population is at risk and have not yet entered treatment.

Are the side effects of Methadone worse that what I’m on now?

No. Since all opioid drugs are related they all share the same side effects. Your side effects will be similar to what you are experiencing now but somewhat milder because of your constant level dose.

Will I get constipated?

You might get constipated. If this happens eat high fiber food and drink lots of water. In difficult cases your doctor can prescribe you stool softeners.

Will I get “the sweats?”

Some people do experience excessive sweating. Lowering the dose can control this. Sometimes lowering the dose does not work and you just have to live with it.

If I’m on Methadone can I still take other drugs?

No. If you are still interested in taking other drugs you’re not ready for Methadone treatment. Methadone is dangerous if you take other drugs with it. The vast majority of deaths related to Methadone occur in the first two weeks. During this time your body is not fully accustomed to Methadone. If other drugs are used during this time you put yourself in danger of an overdose.

Is Methadone legal?

The Methadone that is prescribed by our physicians and provided directly to our patients by a pharmacy is 100% legal, reliable, and safe. It is manufactured to strict guidelines and is never cut with unknown substances.

How much does Methadone cost?

It costs about $6.00 per dose. If you have an Ontario Drug Benefit Card or a prescription drug plan through your work the cost is covered. You may also qualify for financial assistance through the Trillium Drug Plan.

How often do I have to take Methadone?

Once ingested you will feel the benefits for 24 to 36 hours. It is important to take your dose once a day at the same time everyday. Some people metabolize Methadone at a faster or slower rate than others. Your doctor will help you get the proper dose for your needs. In the rare case of rapid metabolism some people will be prescribed a “split dose” to be taken at 12 hour intervals instead of 24 hour intervals.

I’ve got a case pending that I might not beat. Can I get Methadone in jail?

Let your doctor know about your legal problems and he can act as an advocate for you and help you continue treatment in jail. Currently you can continue treatment in jail but you can’t start it in jail. It’s best to start before you go inside – otherwise you’ll be withdrawing in jail.

Why do you put the Methadone in orange juice?

Methadone is an odorless colorless liquid and it tastes bitter. The orange juice masks the bitter taste. The citric acid in the orange juice prevents people from injecting the Methadone.

Why would anyone inject Methadone?

Some people don’t understand that you can just drink it. Some people are also psychologically addicted to injecting their drugs. Injecting, snorting or smoking Methadone is dangerous and should never be done.

I’ve heard of people drinking two cups of juice at the pharmacy. Are they taking two doses?

The first cup contains the Methadone. The second cup is just plain orange juice. Drinking the second cup ensures that the first cup has been swallowed. Your pharmacist may require you to prove you swallowed by opening your mouth after drinking your dose.

If I miss a dose will I get sick?

Just like missing a dose of your regular drug of choice you’ll start to feel the effects of withdrawal.

Do I have to quit Methadone eventually?

No. Some people have been on it for over twenty years. If you don’t want to stop you don’t have to. Dose “tapering” is a wise thing to do because you don’t want to be taking more than you need to. Once tapered you can maintain at a low dose for a very long time.

Do I have to go to the pharmacy every day to get my dose?

For the first two months you will have to go everyday. After that you can get some doses to take home with you if you are “clean.” Even after a year you’ll still have to go once a week. There are exceptions that can be made for work related travel and vacations.

Someone told me not to drink grapefruit juice or take St. Johns Wort. What’s the deal?

These two common substances have an adverse effect on the Methadone in your system. Do not take them as long as you are on Methadone.

Can Methadone be used for chronic or acute pain?

Yes. Opioids only block certain pain receptors in the brain. To block the maximum amount of pain receptors a narcotic will often be assigned to go with the Methadone to block the receptors that the Methadone cannot. In general opioids should not be prescribed for a period of longer than two weeks for treating acute pain. You will have to see your own doctor or pain specialist for investigation and treatment of acute or chronic pain. Our clinic can work with your pain doctor if Methadone is required to treat your addiction while you are in treatment for chronic or acute pain.