Levacetylmethadol

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: LAAM

Uses

Levacetylmethadol, otherwise known as LAAM, is a synthetic opioid used to treat opioid dependency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved LAAM for this use in 1993. Pharmacologists consider Levacetylmethadol to have similar effects as methadone, including analgesia, sedation and respiratory depression. Specialists suggest Levacetylmethadol as an effective second-line treatment for opioid dependency if patients do not respond to methadone and buprenorphine treatments.

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Administration/Dosage

LAAM is to be taken two to three times per week, as compared to methadone which is administered on a daily basis. Federal regulations prohibit home use of LAAM; doses are administered only by approved treatment facilities. Read More About Levacetylmethadol Administration and Dosage

Action

Levacetylmethadol works by creating a cross-tolerance to other opiates, blocking euphoric effects caused by other opiates and controlling cravings for the drug. While using an opiate to treat an opiate addiction may not work for some, it may be an effective treatment for others trying to curb a dependency on narcotics. More About How Levacetylmethadol Works

Precautions

Tell your doctor if you are allergic to Levacetylmethadol or any other medication. Patients must undergo an EKG to be sure they don't suffer cardiac arrhythmias before starting LAAM.

Do not consume alcohol while taking LAAM. Drinking alcohol may worsen side effects.

This drug can be habit-forming, especially if you take it for long periods of time.

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Warnings

Some forms of Levacetylmethadol may cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias. Stopping LAAM use suddenly may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Whenever possible, wean yourself from LAAM by taking smaller doses further apart. If you cannot comfortably stop using LAAM, consult with your doctor or qualified in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center.

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Drug Interactions

It is dangerous and even potentially lethal to combine LAAM with benzodiazepines, alcohol, sleeping pills, antidepressants or other opiates. Mixing drugs can lead to serious consequences including sedation, drowsiness, unconsciousness or even death.

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Side effects

You may experience side effects while taking LAAM. Contact your doctor if your side effects become acute or if they do not go away on their own. LAAM side effects include:

  • Body Aches.
  • Flu-like Symptoms.
  • Hot Flashes.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Abnormal Dreams.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Rash.
  • Sweating.
  • Blurred Vision.

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Overdose

If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken an overdose of LAAM, seek emergency assistance immediately. Contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the emergency room. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Apnea.
  • Circulatory Collapse.
  • Pulmonary Edema.
  • Cardiac Arrest.
  • Death.

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Abuse

Levacetylmethadol is a Schedule II drug, which means it carries a significant risk for abuse and physical as well as psychological dependence. Pharmaceutical companies legally manufacture LAAM for licit use as a narcotic replacement therapy but abusers obtain LAAMthrough forged prescriptions, bogus prescription call-ins to pharmacies, "doctor shopping" as well as theft from pharmacies and friends. Read More About Levacetylmethadol Abuse

Withdrawal

You may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking LAAM, especially if you have been using high doses or taking the opioid for a long period of time. Symptoms vary in intensity. Withdrawal is a normal, predictable, physical sign of dependency, not necessarily a sign of willful abuse. Withdrawal symptoms may prevent you from quitting LAAM without medical assistance. Withdrawal symptoms associated with opiates include:

  • Cramps.
  • Spasms.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Yawning.
  • Vomiting.
  • Flu-like Symptoms.
  • Cold Sweats.
  • Aches.
  • Agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nightmares.

Detox

Dependency and addiction to Levacetylmethadol is often difficult to overcome on your own, especially if you have been taking large doses or using these opioids for a long time. Fortunately, there are in-patient and out-patient treatment facilities where trained professionals can minimize withdrawal symptoms, detoxify your body and give you the tools you need to live drug-free. Rapid detox is a safe and human way to overcome your addiction to opioids. Detoxification, rehabilitation and counseling are effective therapies to treat addiction to Levacetylmethadol and other opiates.

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Miscellaneous information

Heroin use escalated in the 1960s and 1970s. Addiction specialists responded by creating narcotic maintenance therapy, otherwise known as replacement therapy. Narcotic maintenance therapies were meant to address the personal, medical and social problems associated with narcotic dependency, including crime, disease, unemployment, child neglect and homelessness. One brand of Levacetylmethadol, Orlaam, was removed from European markets in 2001 due to concerns the drug caused heart rhythm disorders. Manufacturers pulled Orlaam from American markets in 2003.

Miscellaneous Information About Levacetylmethadol