Methadone Use as Painkiller Raises, Methadone-Related Deaths As Well.
The number of narcotic-related deaths has increased lately forcing the US Food and Drug Administration to take quick measures. However, the agency is facing major problems, as the use of methadone has been extended. There are many family doctors who prescribe the drug for conditions that might be handled in a different and surely safer manner including throbbing backs and joint injuries. Some of these doctors don’t inform their patients of the deadly effect of methadone when used together with alcohol. Some others are unaware of how difficult the medication is to monitor.
Methadone is a favorite replacement option for heroin in addiction treatment facilities but is also great as a pain reliever. The drug can cause death by slowing one’s breathing enough that it eventually becomes so weak as to cause death.
Due to the fact that it is a cheap drug, the number of patients prescribed the drug is increasing, and so is the number of deaths due to methadone.
More exactly, the risk of death by methadone is now exceeding that of heroin by double and it is in the running with Vicodin and OxyContin. Moreover, the number of people dying after taking methadone increased fivefold from 1999 to 2005.
“Those problems were not soon recognized. Methadone is an extremely difficult drug to use even for specialists. People were using it rather blithely for several years,” Dr. Bob Rappaport, a division director at the Food and Drug Administration, said.
The number of prescriptions for the medication increased by 700 percent from 1998 to 2006 as well despite the FDA’s communications. They usually include recommendations on the use of methadone.