Methadone is an opioid pain medication that can cause a life-threatening overdose or death in patients who take too much.
$1.9 Million Awarded in Methadone Overdose Lawsuit
In April 2012, a woman from Maine was awarded $1.9 million after a jury found her doctor liable for over-prescribing methadone and causing her overdose.
Charlene Whalen, 59, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Steven Weisberger after she accidentally overdosed on prescription methadone, stopped breathing in her sleep, and suffered brain damage from low oxygen.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is a medication that is used to treat severe pain and opiate drug addiction. Methadone is primarily used in rehabilitation facilities to treat people who are addicted to opiates. Methadone is an opiate that is similar to heroin in its effects, but longer-lasting. Users do not experience a “high” or the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms from other opiates.
Like other opiates, methadone can be addictive when it is used continuously for more than a few days. The body gradually becomes tolerant and requires more methadone to experience the same pleasurable effects. The risk of overdose is low when methadone is given to a patient in controlled doses from a rehabilitation facility, but patients who use high doses of methadone can accidentally overdose.
Methadone Overdose Symptoms
- Slow breathing
- Shallow or stopped breathing
- Excessive sleepiness
- Loss of consciousness
- Weak muscles
- Pupils are pinpoints (small dark circles in the eyes)