WARNING: ADDICTION, ABUSE, AND MISUSE; LIFE-THREATENING RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION; ACCIDENTAL INGESTION; LIFE-THREATENING QT PROLONGATION; NEONATAL OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME; and TREATMENT FOR OPIOID ADDICTION
Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse
Methadone hydrochloride tablets expose patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient’s risk prior to prescribing methadone hydrochloride tablets, and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors or conditions.
Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression
Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of methadone hydrochloride tablets. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of methadone hydrochloride tablets or following a dose increase.
Accidental ingestion of even one dose of methadone hydrochloride tablets, especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of methadone.
Life-Threatening QT Prolongation
QT interval prolongation and serious arrhythmia (torsades de pointes) have occurred during treatment with methadone. Most cases involve patients being treated for pain with large, multiple daily doses of methadone, although cases have been reported in patients receiving doses commonly used for maintenance treatment of opioid addiction. Closely monitor patients for changes in cardiac rhythm during initiation and titration of methadone hydrochloride tablets.
Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
Prolonged use of methadone hydrochloride tablets during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.
Conditions For Distribution And Use Of Methadone Products For The Treatment Of Opioid Addiction
For detoxification and maintenance of opioid dependence, methadone should be administered in accordance with the treatment standards cited in 42 CFR Section 8, including limitations on unsupervised administration.