Murfreesboro resident Arah Johnson has a warning for people who utilize pain clinics. She told WGNS that her husband died three years ago after being prescribed three medications that apparently proved to be fatal. Johnsons' husband suffered from Scoliosis and had surgery on his back when he was younger which caused continious back pain in his twenties. As a result of the pain, he sought treatment at a pain clinic because his newly aquired insurance did not cover pre-existing conditions (he started a new job which led to new insurance).
According to About.com, “Deaths attributed to methadone overdose have increased dramatically in the past few years due to its increased use as a pain reliever.” In the past, Methadone was only used in the treatment of opioid dependence. Higher doses of methadone block the euphoric effects of heroin, morphine, and similar drugs. As a result, patients can reduce or stop their use of these substances.
Picture: Methadone pills
According to the Federal Drug Administration:
FDA has reviewed reports of death and life-threatening adverse events such as respiratory depression and cardiac arrhythmias in patients receiving methadone. These adverse events are the possible result of unintentional methadone overdoses, drug interactions, and methadone’s cardiac toxicities (QT prolongation and Torsades de Pointes). Physicians prescribing methadone should be familiar with methadone’s toxicities and unique pharmacologic properties. Methadone’s elimination half-life (8-59 hours) is longer than its duration of analgesic action (4-8 hours). Methadone doses for pain should be carefully selected and slowly titrated to analgesic effect even in patients who are opioid-tolerant. Physicians should closely monitor patients when converting them from other opioids and changing the methadone dose, and thoroughly instruct patients how to take methadone. Healthcare professionals should tell patients to take no more methadone than has been prescribed without first talking to their physician.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA)
U.S. National Library of Medicine