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  • Caution for those on Methadone

    I took methadone for 4 years and then moved to Oklahoma and changed doctors. My new doc wanted to do an EKG on me because I had never had one and he said that methadone can cause the interval between heartbeats to be to long and cause sudden death. It's called the QT Interval. I thought he was being over protective and just covering his butt since I was a new patient but when we got my EKG back my QT Interval was almost in the danger zone. He immediately began weaning me off of it and switched me to a different medication that does not affect the heart that way. I made a comment that I would rather be in pain than have heart trouble and he corrected me and said "oh there's no heart trouble with the QT Interval. Just sudden death with no warning whatsoever". I was in shock. He checks all of his methadone patients once a year and will not keep prescribing it without the EKG.

    Anyway... just wanted to pass that along for anyone on it whose doc does not really know about this. The same week as mine he caught a lady who was way past the danger zone. He sent the police/medics to her work to get her! Now that I am off of it and have been for over a month the interval is back to normal. It's totally reversible - just have to quit taking the drug.
    Live life to the fullest day to day. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!
    _____________________________

    DX: IC - November 2002 after hysterectomy
    Interstim implanted March 2006 - died May 2011
    Interstim replacement June 2011
    Meds: Pain meds, muscle relaxer, cystex, and marcaine bladder instills as needed.
    Docs: Pain management doc, urologist, family practice

  • #2
    methadone

    That is really interesting, and a good heads up.

    I don't take Methadone, but my husband does, and he already has heart disease. I am printing your post right now to show to him.

    Thanks for posting.
    Laurie

    Comment


    • #3
      Methadone may cause QT prolongation and torsades de pointes. Higher doses, concomitant QT interval-prolonging agents and the presence of other risk factors for QT prolongation may predispose patients to the development of potentially fatal arrhythmias with methadone. Prescribers are advised to evaluate their patients for modifiable risk factors prior to initiating methadone. ECG monitoring is recommended with methadone doses >150mg/day and in patients with either risk factors for QT prolongation or symptoms that may be attributable to arrhythmia.

      This is from the site Medsafe. I take Methadone but take much less than 150mg a day. I don't have any of the other problems that make me predisposed to this either, but I am going to bring this up with my Dr next month when I see him. Thanks for sharing.

      Sandra
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      • #4
        I JUST went off of methadone because of the QT interval,as well. I was on meth for 3years then one day I had massive chest pains and my ekg revealed this qt issue. Backdrop...every 6 months my Dr. checked me and i was fine for a long x. So, be responsible about getting this checked out on a reg. basis, if u are on meth. I dropped from 150-30mgs in 2 months...way too fast and i had a very tough summer. I was impatient(my Dr. suggested 3 months) so, take it slow, Ladies. After I got to 30 mgs, I stopped and took 32 mgs of dilaudid for 4 days, went cold turkey for 24 hours and started suboxone on thurs. It was really, really hard and my pain is/was in the 9's & 10's. I've been bed bound for 10 days(including a night in the hosp. for super low bp that would crank up to super high...withdrawal, I guess)but, i'm slowly making my way back.
        Thought I'd add my experience and if anyone out there has switched from methadone to suboxone and has any advice, that would be great. They started me on 6 tabs daily and I'm still having horrible pain and feel super crappy-still can't get out of bed.
        Thanks!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          I am so glad neither of you were hurt and thank you both for posting the importance of frequent check-ups while on pain medications!
          Kadi

          -------------------------------------------------------------
          I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.
          ------------------------------------------------------


          New favorite quote: "God gives us only what we can handle. Apparently God thinks I'm a bad-ass" ~Author Unknown
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          "


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          -"Your Pace Yoga: Relieving Pelvic Pain" dvd, walking, treadmill at gym
          -Managing stress= VERY important!
          -Fur therapy: Hugging the cat!

          Comment


          • #6
            methadone

            Originally posted by momw/ic View Post
            I took methadone for 4 years and then moved to Oklahoma and changed doctors. My new doc wanted to do an EKG on me because I had never had one and he said that methadone can cause the interval between heartbeats to be to long and cause sudden death. It's called the QT Interval. I thought he was being over protective and just covering his butt since I was a new patient but when we got my EKG back my QT Interval was almost in the danger zone. He immediately began weaning me off of it and switched me to a different medication that does not affect the heart that way. I made a comment that I would rather be in pain than have heart trouble and he corrected me and said "oh there's no heart trouble with the QT Interval. Just sudden death with no warning whatsoever". I was in shock. He checks all of his methadone patients once a year and will not keep prescribing it without the EKG.

            Anyway... just wanted to pass that along for anyone on it whose doc does not really know about this. The same week as mine he caught a lady who was way past the danger zone. He sent the police/medics to her work to get her! Now that I am off of it and have been for over a month the interval is back to normal. It's totally reversible - just have to quit taking the drug.
            Hi,
            I showed your post to my husband and he asked me to ask you, if you don't mind, which medicine your doctor switched you to.
            Thanks very much,
            Laurie

            Comment


            • #7
              Please excuse my ignorance but I have not heard of methadone for IC - sounds like drug poses a serious risk what are the benefits?

              Comment


              • #8
                For some ICers who require pain medications, methadone can be very effective.

                Donna
                Stay safe


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                • #9
                  Methadone for me helped so much...it actually got me out of bed. I had NONE of the risk factors for QT Prolongation and I was only on 60 mgs a day. I was needing surgery to replace me interstim and my doc normally would increase the methadone through the surgery and recovery process. I'm so glad we found this first because I was reacting to it at a relatively low dose. I took 3 weeks to wean off of it and my doc gave me and immediate release oxycodone during that time. I had very minimal withdrawal symptoms. Runny nose and excessive yawning being really all I experienced. I transitioned into my new medication easily and it is working well. It's not as good at the methadone for my pain - yet but I started out on a dose high enough to not withdrawal but low enough that we can increase if needed. I will probably be asking my doc about that when I see him in Sept. I just can't believe I was on it for 4 and was never checked and the doc had never mentioned this too me. Maybe my negative history and low dose made him assume I was in the clear!

                  Edited to add: I have other painful illnesses besides IC and that is why initially my doc put me on it but I have heard of a lot of IC patients on it when IC is the only illness they have.

                  ****AND BUBBE1 - I will private message you!****
                  Live life to the fullest day to day. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!
                  _____________________________

                  DX: IC - November 2002 after hysterectomy
                  Interstim implanted March 2006 - died May 2011
                  Interstim replacement June 2011
                  Meds: Pain meds, muscle relaxer, cystex, and marcaine bladder instills as needed.
                  Docs: Pain management doc, urologist, family practice

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks Donna - my understanding is better now.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow! That is scary! I have never heard of that before. Makes me wonder if that's what killed Barb. (I am pretty sure she was on Methadone.) She was very young when she died (mid-thirties). (I think she was 36.) Anyway, this news makes me wonder if that's what killed her.

                      I dont take Methadone. I am on Morphine. But, I know alot of ICers who are on Methadone. I am going to try to make a list of them and email this to them, in case they haven't been here lately.

                      Thanks for passing this along!
                      I am not a medical professional. I do not give medical advice. In all cases, I urge you to talk to your Dr. about your treatment options.

                      D/Xed 2003 with IC. Also have the co-existing condtions of VV, Vulvadynia, Lupus, Fibro, GERD, CPP, Endo, & Adhesions, and Depression

                      Meds: Estrogel (due to total Hyster)
                      The meds r/xed by my Pain Dr. from the Pain Clinic are as follows: Morphine ER and IR, Baclofen, and Lyrica and Seroquel (used off-label as a sleeping pill, but it also helps with depression)


                      (I listed my meds in case someone reading this has been told like so many ICers that Drs dont r/x pain meds for IC.) I want you to know that there ARE tons of us who are also dealing w/this disease and the pain and many of us ARE on pain meds.)


                      John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have known about this issue with methadone for a while, but it's always a good reminder to have someone post. This is yet another reason for me to want off methadone. I am only on 30 mg a day, but to be honest, I've been on the same dose for like 5 years and I honestly don't think it does anything much for me anymore, so I want off. You can bet this particular hazard will be in the list of reasons I give my doc for wanting off this medication.
                        ****
                        Jen

                        *Diagnosed with severe IC in 2004
                        *Also diagnosed with PFD, fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain, IBS, migraines, allergies/asthma, dermatographism
                        *Kept trying a million different treatments for all these things until I found what works, and I am doing okay these days with the help of a cocktail of medications and the InterStim, which was first placed in 2007. [I have had 2 revisions - one in 2010 when my battery died and had to be replaced, and one complete replacement (lead and generator) in 2012 after a fall on my stairs caused my lead to move.]
                        *Current meds include Atarax (50mg at night), Lyrica (150mg twice a day), Xanax (0.5mg at night and as needed), Zanaflex (4mg at night), hydrocodone (10/325, every 6 hours as needed), Advair, Nasonex, Singulair (10mg at night), oral contraceptives, home instills containing Elmiron and Marcaine (as often as I need to do them).

                        **I am not a medical authority nor do I offer definitive medical advice. I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

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