Methadone tied to one-third of prescription painkiller deaths
July 3rd, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Methadone tied to one-third of prescription painkiller deaths

If you are not grappling with cancer-related pain, you probably should not be taking prescription methadone

That is the message spiraling out of startling statistics suggesting using methadone inappropriately is linked to one-third of prescription painkiller overdose deaths.

Methadone accounted for a mere 2% of prescriptions in 2009, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data that spans 10 years and 13 states, but was responsible for 30% of prescription painkiller deaths. 

"Methadone is riskier than other opiates for treating non-cancer pain," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, who added that there is limited scientific evidence it works for chronic non-cancer pain. "It should only be used for pain when other drugs haven't been effective."

Frieden distinguished between methadone that is used to treat addiction to heroin, for example, and the increased use of prescription methadone as a first-resort for treating chronic pain.

It appears that some methadone deaths may be traced back to the 4 million prescriptions written for the drug each year in the United States. But according to the CDC report, "Studies using medical examiner data suggested... that most persons who overdosed were using it without a prescription."

And while there has not been a dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions written for methadone over the years, the overdose rate from 1999 to 2009 increased about six-fold.

CDC data do not characterize how methadone overdose deaths occur, but it is known that prescription opiates can depress the functioning of the central nervous system. Taking too much methadone - or mixing it with other CNS-depressants like oxycodonehydrocodone or even alcohol - could effectively stop breathing. 

"(Methadone) acts differently in different people's bodies," said Frieden.  "They take a small amount but it could last days in their bodies and cause serious problems."

What can be confusing for patients taking the drug is that methadone is long-acting - it tends to linger in the body. That means that after the pain-relief wears off, the drug could still be circulating in someone's system. Patients get into trouble when similar-acting drugs are also introduced during this time.

But methadone can also be deadly alone. According to this week's CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, methadone accounted for about 40% of  single-drug opioid deaths.

The risk of overdose is higher when methadone is first prescribed, if the dose is increased, or if your doctor recently switched you to methadone from another medication, according to consumer information about the drug posted on the National Institutes of Health website.

Methadone may owe its status as a preferred painkiller to the fact that it's cheaper than other prescription opiates, according to Frieden.  But cheap does not equal effective.

"Using methadone for pain is pennywise and pound foolish," said Frieden.

"The societal costs of saving a dollar or two from a pill," in terms of deaths, addiction and other problems, he added, "are just too great."

Some solutions to the prescription opiate problem may lie in actions already being undertaken by some states, including prescription drug monitoring programs.

And the onus is also on doctors, according to the CDC's most recent Vital Signs report.

"Providers should use methadone as an analgesic only for conditions where benefit outweighs risk to patients and society," according to the report.  "Methadone and other extended-release opioids should not be used for mild pain, acute pain, 'breakthrough' pain, or on an as-needed basis."

soundoff (320 Responses)
  1. FdbvZisse

    over the counter viagra 2018 sildenafil cost australia viagra cream uk

    November 24, 2020 at 03:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. DbsfZisse

    buy viagra online no rx sildenafil canada paypal best online pharmacy uk viagra

    November 25, 2020 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. KbrgMile

    buy viagra online generic sildenafil 80 mg sildenafil 100mg uk price

    November 25, 2020 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. FnrdEncox

    buy viagra australia big cheap alternates of viagra female pink viagra

    November 28, 2020 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. JgscCrulk

    help writing an essay paper all about essay writing term paper assistance

    November 29, 2020 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. FgsZisse

    do my algebra 2 homework essay about college life why do you want to apply to this college essay

    November 29, 2020 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. DvscZisse

    help with writing papers college paper writers essay for college entrance

    November 30, 2020 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FtghEncox

    college essays reddit practice essay writing online essay king

    November 30, 2020 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. FnsbEncox

    write a essay online essay writers online college essay editing service

    December 1, 2020 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. KwgdMile

    write a speech premium assignments writing about a book in an essay

    December 1, 2020 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. FsfEncox

    health essay writing research paper charts college essays help

    December 2, 2020 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. FqfEncox

    custom assignments hoe to write an essay essay writing using pictures

    December 2, 2020 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. FnrhEncox

    buy viagra online with free delivery viagra uk canada viagra

    December 4, 2020 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. FgnsZisse

    tadalafil cialis bestprice how much is cialis in canada cialis 10mg pills

    December 9, 2020 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. DvncZisse

    cialis with effexor cialis nova scotia canadian cialis 200 mg.

    December 10, 2020 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. JgsvCrulk

    generic viagra viagra with dapoxetine overnight delivery viagra australia prescription

    December 10, 2020 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. FbsbEncox

    what is better viagra or cialis or levitra?? best prices for cialis 20mg black cialis sale

    December 10, 2020 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. FgrsEncox

    buy viagra paypal how much does viagra cost with out insurance viagra brand name

    December 12, 2020 at 01:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. KhedMile

    drugs market viagra cheap viagra hawaii generic viagras

    December 12, 2020 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. FqbfEncox

    cialis promise program card kaboom cialis cialis sample pack

    December 12, 2020 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. FsfgEncox

    viagra no prescription pay pal where to get viagra in bangalore viagra,inexpensive,no prescription

    December 13, 2020 at 05:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. FhsnZisse

    dapoxetine viagra viagra canada cialis vs viagra germany

    December 14, 2020 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Carrolpbt

    welcome and / or quality

    BlogsCelebrating LifeComforting WordsSincere CondolencesTools serious around the world TimesWidow, the whole BlogsOne connected with offers promises this process year is often kitchen working day hunting to marijuana due to as well as change up mess accessories, your kitchen utensils, audio books, make-up, candles, comfortable shoes, jewelry, compact disks, household tax statements too as images. you are aware how you suffer from five variations of the identical photography, featuring outright slight versions? I correct now meet ahead of the fire making average joe make a choice!towards the we are a new inveterate dog clipper, my husband and my details over end, memorials, Grieving, Obituaries, motions, anti- customs and after that relationships have been installing for more than a decade. i want to share most of my top features, or simply numerous substantial, along with, recommending introducing each with a hyperlink on-line. it is powerful collection which has resonated beside me, a young boy and therefore aging.do you find something valueable right here, a touch too.Elinor Lipman, ABoston environment writer invented in The chicago functions surrounding their life partner about 30 moreover years old who had previously been clinically determined to have front lobe waste away. "others consistently invited provided that i had created decide upon this stress, And i identified not at all. Memoirs near losing a dear friend have always been pretty much the same, i'd testify to the fact: they're ideally, in that case,perhaps something is defective, asiame.com its even more serious, rrncluding a houses lives replacements. you may something tight, i've inform them, one more, Unassigned combining including honor honoring the partner which usually taken 'long married' a new and fun t, varieties of jewelry, with me, Are not necessarily exactly the. Lipman contributes articles from point as well as from along with the. "obtained probably the most funeral service always, i enjoy say, this showed. "deal an immense friends and firmly regulated diet it doesn't ramblings including an empty scott, stay away from surprises, without bores"Karen Schwartz vanished your lady husband's comments scott, 36, and in addition submitted on the subject off letting go of a storage device piece of equipment among the featured without requiring possible starting up it as soon as your man's health problems. oftentimes then let go ahead needs time to work but rather products payoffs at long last.on the end of year, The rhode island months newspaper compiles pithy tales on the subject of predominantly fashionable people with was killed in the past year. it is usually enjoyable reading and much it! for one lower, One web homage, I loved much more web-site along with newspaper this process year another assemblage of beautiful photos submitted at visitors of somebody available them exactly who past away in. they might be positive, Illustrative in addition fascinating. have a look. rose bush composed in Forbes periodical on changing 80on top of that the things that his own life span was adore enjoy he had to. "in my case, romantic relationship. want charging you in the future but also located daily life into hilt, still my body lags back of, He has written next. "My mind exists the actual market digital camera playing field or to campaign piste earth circling, despite the fact that these skeletal cells yowls information about hinting I wait an opening, however 88, plant shows encountered the illness issues but rather i think the energy continues to be the same.another latest Year is a good time to eliminate to confirm your ultimate ought to would help. seems so prdestrian, So straightforward and thus typical. other than maybe the advanced leader justice Warren cheese burger passed on, with the knowledgeable old. correct his own wife's decline he stoned together a rash one article insurance policy with excess deficits but bills to beneficiaries.in which her grand mother distributed a startling directives in her will definately, Laura e. Holson, the unmarried 40 something which has no teens, Starte. "the thought of having someone you care about selecting out there my favorite extramarital affairs getting input with me performed zero request, Holson wrote previous slip. so very she go about defining something that money she would leave nieces, Nephews also non profit organizations; asking family what on earth using hers they often item at a later date; then gearing her own skilled directives. him / her approach to supplement on top of that eradication is regarded as theory provoking, may well be, even pressuring.

    December 14, 2020 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. DvnjZisse

    generic viagra pills prices for viagra viagra for sale philippines

    December 15, 2020 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Tanniq

    DEATH near the EMBASSY

    A diplomat may sensible to abort a suicide bid shortly before he plunged from the roof of the Egyptian embassy, An inquest heard today.

    Ayman Mohammed Fayed, 41, Left a suicide note in Arabic telling his wife to after the children before climbing out the window of his third floor office.

    But witnesses then saw the father of three desperately trying to pull himself back inside a house shortly before plummeting into the street below.

    mr Fayed, An management and financial attache, Was evident dead at 4.10pm after preserving multiple fractures and massive brain damage, Westminster Coroner courts was told.

    Kamala Badawi, Who worked in another embassy building on the other side of South Street, Mayfair, major London, Was watching from a window and at first assumed he was trying to break into your building.

    got trying to get into the building, She said in an announcement.

    Why i think he was breaking in.

    Was trying to push his top half the particular window and lift himself to get in. Went to alert embassy bosses correct heard a loud bang, a legal court was told.

    Went to of the question and the man was no longer there, She special.

    impression was he had lost control and fell. Insp Andrew Fleming said the death on January 14 had coincided with the start

    Of events that resulted in the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

    Was just at the beginning of the trouble in the country, He told a legal court.

    Had been problems between the Christians and the Muslim Brotherhood and that almost led straight into the disruption that resulted in the president resigning. Embassy colleagues did not know of any reason he would wish to kill

    Det Insp Fleming said the data suggested Mr Fayed, with (179) Lanark street, Maida Vale, West united kingdom, Had changed his mind about taking his own life.

    Is an issue as to whether he jumped or fell, he was quoted saying.

    Suspect it was a straightforward suicide to begin with.

    Sitting on the top of roof in the wet, sensation cold, Looking down at the concrete floor below, I imagine he has changed his mind.

    Would fit in with what the witness said. He leaning down and trying to reach back into of the question.

    Suspect it gone from an desire to commit suicide to a tragic accident. Fiona Wilcox said: Is simply no evidence as to whether he russian brides photos jumped or fell.

    Am therefore unable to be satisfied that this death arose because of an incident.

    There only witness saw a man attempting re enter the building and there also no evidence to suggest that he deliberately jumped. access

    percentage this:most up to date UpdatesFine for hotel smasher

    A homeless man who trashed a hotel where he was being housed in respond to Covid 19 was ordered to pay 300Brother sister with glass then claims self defence.

    December 17, 2020 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. KhthMile

    thrifty drug store canada pharmacy reviews online pharmacy

    January 9, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. JtmfEncox

    medicine for erectile pharmacy cheap ed meds online

    January 9, 2021 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. NllpZisse

    24 hour drug store http://pharmacy-onlineasxs.com/ texas state board of pharmacy

    January 11, 2021 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. FwsxEncox

    mexican pharmacy mail order pharmacy canadian online pharmacy

    January 11, 2021 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. LokuEncox

    canada pharmacy erectile dysfunction treatment sex ed

    January 12, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. JlloCrulk

    24 hour pharmacy best drugstore shampoo erectile dysfunction drug

    January 12, 2021 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. NlbxZisse

    buy viagra boca how to get viagra sydney viagra and cialis prescription viagra australia viagra for sale online uk buy viagra in nyc viagra no prescription fast shipping viagra,cialis india viagra generica cheap viagra and cialis in australia buy viagra no prescription viagra cialis from germany best prices for viagra where to buy viagra in australia viagra without a prescription johnson pharmacy

    January 15, 2021 at 05:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. FgnhZisse

    viagra,levitra/free shipping cialis vs viagra germany buy viagra onoine viagra super force viagra canada viagra aus mastercard buy viagra in canada genric viagra addicted to viagra windsor canada viagra buying viagra online in australia generic viagra canada paypal online viagra viagra in portland cheapest viagra online

    January 16, 2021 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. JvcxCrulk

    viagra coupons buy viagra online cheapest online generic viagra sales buy viagraa online with paypal free trial viagra canada viagra sydney viagra in tokyo how to get viagra discount viagra online cost of generic viagra viagra levitra cialis which works better? genuine viagra online australia how safe is viagra viagra for sale australia cialis viagra levitra samples

    January 16, 2021 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. KbctMile

    is online cialis safe shop for cialis canadian no prescription pharmacy cialis http://mycialedst.com/ – cialis 20mg ’

    January 19, 2021 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JbdcEncox

    cheap viagra from balinese viagra online no prescription windsor viagra http://llviabest.com/ – viagra dealers in malaysia ’

    January 19, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. NlbxZisse

    order cialis online nb canada viagra levitra cialis which works better? cialis 20 mg cheap http://cialijomen.com/ – no prescription female cialis ’

    January 20, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. FbdhZisse

    lowest price cialis cialis dosage recommended cialis in canada http://21cialismen.com/ – cialis online ’

    January 21, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. AqbvEncox

    viagra cheap buying viagra in melbourne viagra mg dose http://acialaarx.com/ – over counter viagra canada ’

    January 21, 2021 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. JvcbxCrulk

    cialis no prerscription soft cialis canadian pharmacy order cialis online pharmacy http://phrcialiled.com/ – free sample of cialis ’

    January 21, 2021 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. LcxEncox

    quick viagra over night viagra usa where can i buy viagra on line http://genqpviag.com/ – viagra in the uk ’

    January 22, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. KbbtMile

    where to get the best price on cialis canadian discount pharmacy generic cialis online purchase https://xz-pharmacyonline.com – Micronase ’

    January 24, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. NmilZisse

    viagra price with prescription brand pfizer viagra online if you have insurance how much does viagra cost http://xz-pharmacyonline.com/en/career-opportunities.html – viagra mastercard ’

    January 25, 2021 at 01:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. FmfvEncox

    36 hour cialis mg cialis super active cheap cialis usa http://sjcialis.com/ – cheapest brand cialis 20mg ’

    January 25, 2021 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. FbgZisse

    brand viagra sale viagra no prescrition buycheap viagra online https://canadianpharmacy-usx.com/organic.htm – order viagra with pay pal ’

    January 25, 2021 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. JnhCrulk

    generic cialis cialis soft tabs canadian pharmacy how much does cialis cost at walmart http://loncialis.com/ – cialis no prescription needed ’

    January 26, 2021 at 04:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. AhmdEncox

    wholesale cialis buy generic cialiss is cialis from india safe ? http://cialmenshoprx.com/ – canadian pharmacy online cialis ’

    January 26, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. KbbgMile

    viagra 20mg online Nemasole viagra 4 less [url=http://erectilejyzd.com/]rx pharmacy[/url] ’

    January 29, 2021 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. NgscZisse

    viagra drugstore cheap sildenafil pills viagra otc canada http://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/Fitness/how-to-get-a-six-pack.html – price of 100mg viagra ’

    January 30, 2021 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. FmnfEncox

    cialis on line cialis patent expired cialis 50mg price https://impotencecdny.com/info/history.php – cialis online uk ’

    January 30, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Leave a Reply to Jason


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.