Thursday, August 12, 2010

Patients are on Methadone and their doctors don’t even know about it.

There was a recent survey of patients from a methadone clinic which revealed that 30% of the time, their regular doctors had no knowledge of their methadone use. This is a serious problem because a lot of medicines can interact with methadone and cause significant problems. Just the other day a colleague of mine had a patient who was on methadone and was given Narcan (Naloxone) in an emergency room because they were sleepy. I don’t think the ER Doctors knew about the methadone because the patient promptly went into severe withdrawal and has now ended up on a ventilator in the ICU. I have seen this happen on more than one occasion.


It is understandable that doctors often don’t know that their patient is on methadone because methadone is given in separate clinics, and often patients are embarrassed to tell their regular doctors about their drug problem.


The most logical solution would be for methadone clinics to insist that all patients sign a release and records be automatically shared between doctors. Then it may be possible to avert some severe problems.


Dr Peter Coleman

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good but the stigma surrounding methadone would scare any thinking person away from telling most anyone. Every effort must be made to protect the individual who should feel free and safe in order to tell the hospital or other MD that he or she is taking methadone.

    Thanks for being.