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App for Smart Phone Can Tell How Meds Affect Methadone Maintenance

on Monday, 05 January 2015. Posted in Breaking News


Using methadone as a way to ease out of opiate addiction can be a successful tool for addicts but they must be especially cautious throughout their methadone program. Addicts using methadone need to be careful and always conscious of the risk of other medications interacting with their dosage and causing problems.

Medical directors of opioid treatment programs have searched for ways of handling this risk because of the number of patients that have died as a result of drug interactions with methadone. Doctors must find ways to predict a possible drug interaction and warn each patient of the effects of taking their medication at the same time as their methadone dose.

Technology is now providing solutions for both doctors and patients to avoid the risks of methadone assisted treatment while taking other kinds of medication.

Preventing Drug Interactions

It can often be difficult for doctors to ensure that patients are avoiding any drug interactions especially in the early days of their methadone treatment. There are a number of different smart phone apps created for assisting addicts with completing their treatment successfully.

Both doctors and patients can reference certain apps to check if a specific medication has any kind of interaction with their methadone treatment. Doctors usually know the main drugs that should be avoided like sedatives, methadone inducers or inhibitors but certain medications like QT interval prolongers involve a long list of drugs that are constantly changing.

Referencing a smart phone app can help doctors and patients keep track of what drugs are safe and which ones should be avoided. Doctors can keep patients in treatment up to date if they change their medication throughout the period of their methadone program.

Side Effects of Medication on Methadone

When addicts first begin their methadone treatment, doctors must know the list of all medications they are currently taking both prescription and non-prescription. Patients may sometimes forget to list certain medications or assume it is not important to mention, such as over-the-counter medications.

They may even deliberately avoid mentioning certain medications for fear they will not be able to continue taking them. This happens most often with benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax which unfortunately are the most common types of drugs found in patients who have died during their methadone treatment.

Doctors involved in opioid treatment programs need to be told by patients if they are prescribed any new drugs after entering the program. Physicians must keep an up to date list of each medication addicts are taking throughout their methadone program.

It is important for doctors to sign approval of every medication that is prescribed to patients receiving methadone doses. Doctors can reference a smart phone app to determine if there will be any drug interaction and provide approval or disapproval.

Patients can also use their smart phone to stay informed about what medications will interact with their methadone dose so they can avoid being prescribed any of the wrong drugs. Addicts taking medication must stay as informed and up to date as possible to prevent any health problems or fatal consequences of prescription drugs.

Certain medications can speed up or inhibit methadone metabolism which changes their methadone blood level. Patients can start to feel withdrawal symptoms, become sedated or in some cases they may overdose.

Common medications can also prolong the QT interval which increases their risk of fatal heart arrhythmia. Smart phone apps can allow patients or doctors to search every medication and determine what interactions if any may occur. Addicts need to keep doctors informed of every prescription they are given so that they can remain safe throughout their methadone program.

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