Levacetylmethadol Side Effects

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: LAAM

Doctors prescribe levacetylmethadol, otherwise known as LAAM, to help patients overcome dependence on opioids. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved levacetylmethadol for this use in 1993. Rehabilitation specialists suggest levacetylmethadol as an effective second-line treatment for opioid dependency if patients do not respond to methadone and buprenorphine treatments.

Levacetylmethadol is an opioid but physicians do not prescribe it to relieve pain. Levacetylmethadol is not commercially available in Canada.

Levacetylmethadol is a semi-synthetic opioid that contains levomethadyl acetate. Levacetylmethadol has effects similar to methadone including analgesia, sedation and respiratory depression.

This drug, like all medicine, has the potential to cause side effects. Many people experience no, or minor, side effects from taking this medication. Most side effects are not serious and disappear after a few days. A few side effects are serious and require the attention of a medical professional.

Side effects can vary with amount of levacetylmethadol administered in each 72-hour dosing period; low doses of levacetylmethadol present different side effects than do high doses of levacetylmethadol. A person whose dose is too low might experience anxiety along with flu-like symptoms, including nasal congestion, abdominal symptoms, diarrhea, and muscle aches. A consumer whose levacetylmethadol dose is too high might complain about "feeling wired," poor concentration, drowsiness and dizziness when standing up.

Levacetylmethadol as a Replacement Drug

When used as drug replacement therapy for opioid dependence, a patient receives levacetylmethadol after his withdrawal symptoms have set in. It is critical the healthcare provider distinguish between opioid withdrawal symptoms and levacetylmethadol side effects.

Licensed specialists administer levacetylmethadol according to each patient's size, overall health and tolerance to levacetylmethadol. Administering this first dose too quickly for the patient's individual sensitivity may result in serious adverse reactions.

Allergic Reactions

Do not take levacetylmethadol if you are allergic to levomethadyl or other opioids. An allergic reaction is a serious medical condition that may unexpectedly turn into anaphylaxis, a life threatening condition. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing or tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue.

It is possible to abuse, grow dependent upon or addicted to levacetylmethadol. Do not use high doses of levacetylmethadol or use this opioid more frequently than prescribed to avoid this type of side effect.

Being physically dependent on levacetylmethadol means the individual will suffer withdrawal symptoms after the level of opioid drops in his system. This drop could be due to a low or missed levacetylmethadol dose or because he has taken a medication to reduce levacetylmethadol levels rapidly.

Withdrawal symptoms are similar to other opioids and can include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

The adverse reactions associated with levacetylmethadol are similar to other opioids. These side effects usually decrease in intensity or stop altogether with continued levacetylmethadol use at proper doses. The most serious side effect associated with opioid use is respiratory problems possibly resulting in stopped breathing, circulatory depression, dangerously low blood pressure and shock. Physicians should expect side effects in all patients and treat individuals accordingly.

Respiratory depression is a dangerous condition where the lungs do not adequately exchange oxygen with other gasses. Symptoms of respiratory depression include slow or shallow breathing.

The most common side effects associated with this medication are not serious and disappear after taking this drug for a few days. Continue taking this medication but contact the prescribing physician if the following side effects become intolerable or if they do not go away on their own:

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