Methadone Hydrochloride, Page 1

Methadone hydrochloride is a mu-agonist, a synthetic opioid analgesic with multiple actions qualitatively similar to those of morphine. It is indicated for detoxification treatment of opioid addiction and for maintenance treatment of opioid addiction.

METHADONE HYDROCHLORIDE- methadone hydrochloride concentrate
Roxane Laboratories, Inc

FOR ORAL USE ONLY.

Rx only

Deaths have been reported during initiation of methadone treatment for opioid dependence. In some cases, drug interactions with other drugs, both licit and illicit, have been suspected. However, in other cases, deaths appear to have occurred due to the respiratory or cardiac effects of methadone and too-rapid titration without appreciation for the accumulation of methadone over time. It is critical to understand the pharmacokinetics of methadone and to exercise vigilance during treatment initiation and dose titration (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Patients must also be strongly cautioned against self-medicating with CNS depressants during initiation of methadone treatment.

Respiratory depression is the chief hazard associated with methadone hydrochloride administration. Methadone’s peak respiratory depressant effects typically occur later, and persist longer than its peak analgesic effects, particularly in the early dosing period. These characteristics can contribute to cases of iatrogenic overdose, particularly during treatment initiation and dose titration.

Cases of QT interval prolongation and serious arrhythmia (torsades de pointes) have been observed 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.

CONDITIONS FOR DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF METHADONE PRODUCTS FOR THE TREATMENT OF OPIOID ADDICTION

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 42, Sec 8

METHADONE PRODUCTS WHEN USED FOR THE TREATMENT OF OPIOID ADDICTION IN DETOXIFICATION OR MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS, SHALL BE DISPENSED ONLY BY OPIOID TREATMENT PROGRAMS (AND AGENCIES, PRACTITIONERS OR INSTITUTIONS BY FORMAL AGREEMENT WITH THE PROGRAM SPONSOR) CERTIFIED BY THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION AND APPROVED BY THE DESIGNATED STATE AUTHORITY. CERTIFIED TREATMENT PROGRAMS SHALL DISPENSE AND USE METHADONE IN ORAL FORM ONLY AND ACCORDING TO THE TREATMENT REQUIREMENTS STIPULATED IN THE FEDERAL OPIOID TREATMENT STANDARDS (42 CFR 8.12). See below for important regulatory exceptions to the general requirement for certification to provide opioid agonist treatment.

FAILURE TO ABIDE BY THE REQUIREMENTS IN THESE REGULATIONS MAY RESULT IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTION, SEIZURE OF THE DRUG SUPPLY, REVOCATION OF THE PROGRAM APPROVAL, AND INJUNCTION PRECLUDING OPERATION OF THE PROGRAM.

Regulatory Exceptions to the General Requirement for Certification to Provide Opioid Agonist Treatment:

  1. During inpatient care, when the patient was admitted for any condition other than concurrent opioid addiction (pursuant to 21 CFR 1306.07(c)), to facilitate the treatment of the primary admitting diagnosis.
  2. During an emergency period of no longer than 3 days while definitive care for the addiction is being sought in an appropriately licensed facility (pursuant to 21 CFR 1306.07(b)).

DESCRIPTION

Each mL for oral administration contains:

Methadone Hydrochloride………………………………………………………………………… 10 mg

Methadone hydrochloride is chemically described as (3-heptanone, 6-(dimethylamino)-4, 4-diphenyl-, hydrochloride). Methadone hydrochloride is a white, essentially odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It is very soluble in water, soluble in isopropranolol and in chloroform, and practically insoluble in ether and in glycerine. It is present in Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate as the racemic mixture. Methadone hydrochloride has a melting point of 235°C, a pKa of 8.25 in water at 20°C, a solution (1 part per 100) pH between 4.5 and 6.5, a partition coefficient of 117 at pH 7.4 in octanol/water and a molecular weight of 345.91. Its molecular formula is C21H27NO·HCl and its structural formula is:

Chemical structure

Each mL of the unflavored liquid concentrate, for oral administration, contains 10 mg of methadone hydrochloride. Inactive ingredients: citric acid, sodium benzoate and water.

Each mL of the cherry flavored liquid concentrate, for oral administration, contains 10 mg of methadone hydrochloride. Inactive ingredients: citric acid, D&C Red #33, FD&C Red #40, flavor, glycerin, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, sodium saccharin, sorbitol, sucrose and water.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Mechanism of Action

Methadone hydrochloride is a mu-agonist; a synthetic opioid analgesic with multiple actions qualitatively similar to those of morphine, the most prominent of which involves the central nervous system and organs composed of smooth muscle. The principal therapeutic uses for methadone are analgesia and detoxification or maintenance in opioid addiction. The methadone abstinence syndrome, although qualitatively similar to that of morphine, differs in that the onset is slower, the course is more prolonged, and the symptoms are less severe.

Some data also indicate that methadone acts as an antagonist at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. The contribution of NMDA receptor antagonism to methadone’s efficacy is unknown. Other NMDA receptor antagonists have been shown to produce neurotoxic effects in animals.

Pharmacokinetics

Absorption

Following oral administration the bioavailability of methadone ranges between 36 to 100% and peak plasma concentrations are achieved between 1 to 7.5 hours. Dose proportionality of methadone pharmacokinetics is not known. However, after administration of daily oral doses ranging from 10 to 225 mg, the steady-state plasma concentrations ranged between 65 to 630 ng/mL and the peak concentrations ranged between 124 to 1255 ng/mL. Effect of food on the bioavailability of methadone has not been evaluated.

Distribution

Methadone is a lipophilic drug and the steady-state volume of distribution ranges between 1.0 to 8.0 L/kg. In plasma, methadone is predominantly bound to α1-acid glycoprotein (85% to 90%). Methadone is secreted in saliva, breast milk, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord plasma.

Metabolism

Methadone is primarily metabolized by N-demethylation to an inactive metabolite, 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidene (EDDP). Cytochrome P450 enzymes, primarily CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, and to a lesser extent CYP2C9 and CYP2D6, are responsible for conversion of methadone to EDDP and other inactive metabolites, which are excreted mainly in the urine.

Excretion

The elimination of methadone is mediated by extensive biotransformation, followed by renal and fecal excretion. Published reports indicate that after multiple dose administration the apparent plasma clearance of methadone ranged between 1.4 to 126 L/h, and the terminal half-life (T1/2) was highly variable and ranged between 8 and 59 hours in different studies. Since methadone is lipophilic, it has been known to persist in the liver and other tissues. The slow release from the liver and other tissues may prolong the duration of methadone action despite low plasma concentrations.

Pharmacokinetics in Special Populations

Pregnancy

The disposition of oral methadone has been studied in approximately 30 pregnant patients in the second and third trimesters. Elimination of methadone was significantly changed in pregnancy. Total body clearance of methadone was increased in pregnant patients compared to the same patients postpartum or to non-pregnant opioid-dependent women. The terminal half-life of methadone is decreased during second and third trimesters. The decrease in plasma half-life and increased clearance of methadone resulting in lower methadone trough levels during pregnancy can lead to withdrawal symptoms in some pregnant patients. The dosage may need to be increased or the dosing interval decreased in pregnant patients receiving methadone. (See PRECAUTIONS : Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery , and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)

Renal Impairment

Methadone pharmacokinetics have not been extensively evaluated in patients with renal insufficiency. Unmetabolized methadone and its metabolites are excreted in urine to a variable degree. Methadone is a basic (pKa=9.2) compound and the pH of the urinary tract can alter its disposition in plasma. Urine acidification has been shown to increase renal elimination of methadone. Forced diuresis, peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis, or charcoal hemoperfusion have not been established as beneficial for increasing the elimination of methadone or its metabolites.

Hepatic Impairment

Methadone has not been extensively evaluated in patients with hepatic insufficiency. Methadone is metabolized by hepatic pathways, therefore patients with liver impairment may be at risk of accumulating methadone after multiple dosing.

Gender

The pharmacokinetics of methadone have not been evaluated for gender specificity.

Race

The pharmacokinetics of methadone have not been evaluated for race specificity.

Geriatric

The pharmacokinetics of methadone have not been evaluated in the geriatric population.

Pediatric

The pharmacokinetics of methadone have not been evaluated in the pediatric population.

Drug Interactions

(see PRECAUTIONS : Drug Interactions) Methadone undergoes hepatic N-demethylation by cytochrome P-450 isoforms, principally CYP3A4, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, and to a lesser extent by CYP2C9 and CYP2D6. Coadministration of methadone with inducers of these enzymes may result in more rapid methadone metabolism, and potentially, decreased effects of methadone. Conversely, administration with CYP inhibitors may reduce metabolism and potentiate methadone’s effects. Pharmacokinetics of methadone may be unpredictable when coadministered with drugs that are known to both induce and inhibit CYP enzymes. Although antiretroviral drugs such as efavirenz, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, lopinavir+ritonavir combination are known to inhibit some CYPs, they are shown to reduce the plasma levels of methadone, possibly due to their CYP induction activity. Therefore, drugs administered concomitantly with methadone should be evaluated for interaction potential; clinicians are advised to evaluate individual response to drug therapy before making a dosage adjustment.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

  1. For detoxification treatment of opioid addiction (heroin or other morphine-like drugs).
  2. For maintenance treatment of opioid addiction (heroin or other morphine-like drugs), in conjunction with appropriate social and medical services.

NOTE

Outpatient maintenance and outpatient detoxification treatment may be provided only by Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) certified by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This does not preclude the maintenance treatment of a patient with concurrent opioid addiction who is hospitalized for conditions other than opioid addiction and who requires temporary maintenance during the critical period of his/her stay, or of a patient whose enrollment has been verified in a program which has been certified for maintenance treatment with methadone.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to methadone hydrochloride or any other ingredient in Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate.

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate is contraindicated in any situation where opioids are contraindicated such as: patients with respiratory depression (in the absence of resuscitative equipment or in unmonitored settings), and in patients with acute bronchial asthma or hypercarbia.

Methadone is contraindicated in any patient who has or is suspected of having a paralytic ileus.

WARNINGS

Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate is for oral administration only. The preparation must not be injected. Methadone Hydrochloride Oral Concentrate, if dispensed, should be packaged in child-resistant containers and kept out of reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion.

Respiratory Depression

Respiratory depression is the chief hazard associated with methadone hydrochloride administration. Methadone’s peak respiratory depressant effects typically occur later, and persist longer than its peak analgesic effects, in the short-term use setting. These characteristics can contribute to cases of iatrogenic overdose, particularly during treatment initiation and dose titration.

Respiratory depression is of particular concern in elderly or debilitated patients as well as in those suffering from conditions accompanied by hypoxia or hypercapnia when even moderate therapeutic doses may dangerously decrease pulmonary ventilation.

Methadone should be administered with extreme caution to patients with conditions accompanied by hypoxia, hypercapnia, or decreased respiratory reserve such as: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, severe obesity, sleep apnea syndrome, myxedema, kyphoscoliosis, and central nervous system (CNS) depression or coma. In these patients, even usual therapeutic doses of methadone may decrease respiratory drive while simultaneously increasing airway resistance to the point of apnea. Methadone should be used at the lowest effective dose and only under careful medical supervision.

Cardiac Conduction Effects

This information is intended to alert the prescriber to comprehensively evaluate the risks and benefits of methadone treatment. The intent is not to deter the appropriate use of methadone in patients with a history of cardiac disease.

Laboratory studies, both in vivo and in vitro, have demonstrated that methadone inhibits cardiac potassium channels and prolongs the QT interval. Cases of QT interval prolongation and serious arrhythmia (torsades de pointes) have been observed during treatment with methadone. These cases appear to be more commonly associated with, but not limited to, higher dose treatment (> 200 mg/day). Although most cases involve patients being treated for pain with large, multiple daily doses of methadone, cases have been reported in patients receiving doses commonly used for maintenance treatment of opioid addiction. In most of the cases seen at typical maintenance doses, concomitant medications and/or clinical conditions such as hypokalemia were noted as contributing factors. However, the evidence strongly suggests that methadone possesses the potential for adverse cardiac conduction effects in some patients.

Methadone should be administered with particular caution to patients already at risk for development of prolonged QT interval (e.g., cardiac hypertrophy, concomitant diuretic use, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia). Careful monitoring is recommended when using methadone in patients with a history of cardiac conduction abnormalities, those taking medications affecting cardiac conduction, and in other cases where history or physical exam suggest an increased risk of dysrhythmia. QT prolongation has also been reported in patients with no prior cardiac history who have received high doses of methadone. Patients developing QT prolongation while on methadone treatment should be evaluated for the presence of modifiable risk factors, such as concomitant medications with cardiac effects, drugs which might cause electrolyte abnormalities and drugs which might act as inhibitors of methadone metabolism.

The potential risks of methadone, including the risk of life-threatening arrhythmias, should be weighed against the risks of discontinuing methadone treatment. In the patient being treated for opiate dependence with methadone maintenance therapy, these risks include a very high likelihood of relapse to illicit drug use following methadone discontinuation.

The use of methadone in patients already known to have a prolonged QT interval has not been systematically studied. The potential risks of methadone should be weighed against the substantial morbidity and mortality associated with untreated opioid addiction.

When treating patients with methadone, an individualized benefit to risk assessment should be carried out and should include evaluation of patient presentation and complete medical history. For patients judged to be at risk, careful monitoring of cardiovascular status, including evaluation of QT prolongation and dysrhythmias should be performed.

All medication material on this site is included in as near-original form as possible: information as supplied by the FDA has been rendered here with only typographical or stylistic modifications and not with any substantive alterations of content, meaning or intent. This page was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Site Editor on .

This site is brought to you by the team behind counselling and psychotherapy site CounsellingResource.com. Our mental health medication information is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified health professional. The graphic portion of our unofficial logo was created by the talented Ukrainian artist and illustrator Iaroslav Lazunov and is used under license, copyright © Depositphotos.com/Iaroslav Lazunov.

Copyright © 2002-2019. All Rights Reserved.