View Full Version : Is Methadone considered a "narcotic"?

Kara Isabel
04-06-2007, 08:59 AM
I'm sorry for the stupid question, but is methadone a narcotic?

Is it stronger than MsContin and Oxycontin? Or about the same? I'm thinking about asking my doctor about it.

Any info would be great!


04-06-2007, 11:39 AM
It's a synthetic narcotic. I haven't taken it before so I'm not sure on the dosages, but people on here seem to get good pain control from it. If anything happens with the MS Contin I'm on now, Methadone is my next step.

04-06-2007, 12:11 PM
Well then what is the diff btwn a synthetic narcotic and a non-synthetic narcotic? Anybody know?

04-07-2007, 06:36 AM
Yes. Natural narcotics, like morphine, are derived from poppy seeds -- like heroin and opium.

Synthetic narcotics are (1) produced by taking the morphine molecule in the laboratory and "tweaking" it so that it functions differently -- for example, to make oxycodone (Percocet) the morphine molecule was changed so that it binds more tightly to the opioid receptors in the brain, thus making oxycodone 20 times as potent as morphine, and (2) synthesized entirely in the laboratory -- if a biochemist knows the structure of the receptor she wants her molecule to bind to, then it is a relatively easy, though scientifically rigorous, process to create the proper molecular structure, and thus the proper drug, to bind to the receptor.

Methadone is a synthetic of the second type -- it was originally synthesized by two German chemists in 1937. They were looking for an analgesic that would be superior to morphine, and would cause less tolerance, for post-op pain. It is indeed superior in some ways, but it causes the same tolerance.

Morphine binds solely to the mu-opiod receptor in the brain and spinal cord. Methadone binds to the mu receptor, but also the kappa receptor and others, which is why in some people, it seems to have a more potent action. In addition, it tends to stimulate the NMDA receptor in the brain.

As for dosing, I take 10 mg three times a day, and find the pain control from methadone to be better than either MS-Contin or OxyContin BASED ON MY OWN BODY CHEMISTRY. I believe it is worth trying, but my experience with it may not mirror everyone else's -- pain control is very variable, and patients respond differently to different meds. Some people may need more or less medication, and for some, methadone may be ineffective.

Kara Isabel
04-07-2007, 08:26 AM
Thanks Jen for the explanation! That is very helpful. I just wonder if my doctor would be more comfortable prescribing this to me? I may bring it up at my next appointment.


04-07-2007, 10:42 AM
Methadone is a controlled drug like the other opiods. It is great for nerve pain, but one has to be patient while tapering up the dosages. It can build up in the body and changes (increases/decreases) should only be made after waiting a week. One wouldn't typically wouldn't use it as a break thru pain med. The other great thing about it is the price! It is cheap! At least we get a break somewhere... :) Years ago, the Johns Hopkins Pelvic Pain clinic told me they had seen success with treating pelvic pain. If you have detailed questions, please feel free to send me a private message.

Best wishes,