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How Does Methadone Interact With Other Drugs? What You Should Know


Methadone is a synthetic opioid used to treat opioid use disorder. It is a Schedule II controlled substance and is considered a long-acting opioid antagonist. Methadone is available only through a prescription and must be prescribed by a medical professional. Although methadone is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid use disorder and prescribed for pain management, it does have the potential to be misused and abused, and it can be addictive.

It is essential to follow treatment recommendations made by your doctor and to utilize methadone as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Methadone has been proven effective for many people struggling with opioid addiction and physical pain. Unfortunately, there are risks associated with methadone use, including overdose, abuse, side effects, and negative interactions with other drugs, which will be explored further.

Methadone has the potential to have adverse side effects ranging from mild to severe. Some potential side effects of methadone use can include:

  • Stomach pain.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Weight gain.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Sore tongue.
  • Vision problems.
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Flushing.
  • Seizures.
  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Rash.
  • Swelling of the face.
  • Hives.
  • Reduction in sex drive.
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
  • Irregular menstruation.
  • Extreme drowsiness.
  • Hallucinations, delusions, severe mood swings, and confusion.
  • Muscle aches and stiffness.
  • Fast heartbeat.

What Medications Should Not Be Taken With Methadone?

Unfortunately, addiction and drug interactions are a common cause of death today. When drugs, including methadone, are ingested into the body there is a chemical reaction that occurs in the brain and throughout the whole body. When certain drugs are used together, this chemical reaction in the brain can actually increase a drug’s effect on the brain and body, which can lead to devastating consequences.

Methadone should not be taken with other opioids, sedatives, central nervous system depressants, and alcohol. When used with the substances mentioned above, the effects of methadone can be exacerbated and the combination of methadone with sedatives, CNS depressants, and other opioids can lead to coma, severe sedation, hypotension, and respiratory depression. Furthermore, combining methadone with various substances can lead to overdose and death. Death has occurred when individuals have mixed benzodiazepines with methadone.

What Antibiotics Can You Not Take With Methadone?

Researchers are still working on developing insight regarding harmful drug interactions and risks associated with consuming many types of medications. That being said, it is believed that the antibiotic called ciprofloxacin, which is prescribed to treat severe infections, poses harm to your body when used with methadone. Ciprofloxacin, when taken in conjunction with methadone, can lead to respiratory depression, shortness of breath, drowsiness, and decreased level of consciousness.

What Can You Take For Anxiety While on Methadone?

It is important to remember that prescribed medications have the potential to be abused. Just because a medication is prescribed by your doctor doesn’t mean that you are immune to developing a physical dependence or addiction to the medication. If you suffer from mood disorders, including anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, it is imperative that you understand the risks associated with anti-anxiety medication and methadone.

The use of benzodiazepines while on methadone can be problematic. Benzodiazepines have the potential to be abused. Individuals who abuse benzodiazepines while on a methadone maintenance program are at risk of experiencing speech problems, impaired psychomotor coordination, oversleeping, and anger outbursts; researchers also believe that benzodiazepine use while on methadone poses a risk for developing a poly-addiction.

While more research is needed on effective treatment strategies for individuals who have anxiety disorders and are on a methadone maintenance program, current findings suggest that antidepressant drugs including buspirone, tricyclic agents, trazodone, and SSRI’s are effective. Lastly, psychotherapy, including dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), can also be used to treat anxiety if you are on a methadone maintenance program.

What Should You Not Take With Methadone?

As previously stated, there can be significant health risks associated with mixing benzodiazepines and methadone, including death. You should not drink alcohol while on a methadone maintenance program.

The following drugs, when combined with methadone, pose the following risks:

  • Alcohol — Increased respiratory depression, increased sedation, and risk of damaging the liver and liver cells.
  • Barbiturates — Reduced methadone levels, and increased sedation.
  • Benzodiazepines — Increased sedative effect.
  • Naltrexone and Naloxone — The effects of methadone will be blocked.

Combining methadone with other substances, including the ones mentioned above, can pose a risk of overdose and can even lead to death. The way your body metabolizes various substances is dependent upon many factors including your age, gender, metabolism, and other biological and genetic factors. Methadone and other types of drugs impact the various systems in your body and it is important to remember that they can also impact your cognition and decision-making ability.

Try not to overlook the impact that methadone and other drugs have on your ability to cognitively process information and make smart and safe decisions. Anytime you are at risk of increased sedation, your ability to comprehend information and use good judgment may be impaired. Increased sedation can lead to psychomotor retardation (slowing down of physical movements) which can lead to falls and increase your risk of physical injury.

What Drugs Interact With Methadone?

It is fairly well-known that opioids can cause constipation because opioids slow gastrointestinal movement in the gut. Many medications indicated to treat HIV are sensitive to the acid levels in the stomach and given the reduction in movement in the stomach caused by opioid use, HIV medications may not be as effective when used with opioids and in fact, can lead to health risks such as degradation in the stomach, slowed respiration and altered cognition.


Methadone has been proven effective for the treatment of opioid use disorders and as part of a pain management program. Methadone does have the potential to be abused like any other opioid and many other types of drugs. It is crucial that you adhere to your methadone treatment program outlined by your doctor or addiction specialist.

If you feel you may be struggling with a substance use disorder or are considering getting help for an addiction, contact Summer House Detox Center at 800-719-1090. Summer House Detox provides drug and alcohol detox in Florida to help people recover safely and in a comfortable setting. We are also a methadone treatment center in Miami, Florida. You can speak to a qualified addiction specialist who can help you get the treatment you need to safely and effectively detox from substances and begin your recovery journey.


Disclaimer: This post serves a strictly educational use. It does not necessarily reflect the services, products, or therapeutic approaches of this establishment or its healthcare practitioners. The purpose of this blog is not to advertise the products, services, or therapeutic approaches of any other establishment that may be associated with this site. On the subject of safe or legal services, products, and appropriate therapies, recommendations ought to be given by a qualified professional on a case-to-case basis.


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