How methadone affects sex and pregnancy (INFOGRAPHIC)

Check out the effects methadone can have on the sexual and reproductive health in men and women. Also, the risks of methadone in pregnancy and early child development are shown here.

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How does methadone affect sexual health? We review here. Then, we invite your questions about long term use of methadone as an opiate/opioid substitute at the end.

Methadone affects libido and fertility

Don’t have the urge to have sex? While you’re on methadone, this is normal.

How methadone affects sex and pregnancy (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Long-term use of methadone can cause a loss of libido and significantly lower the desire for intercourse in both, men and women. In medical studies, menstrual cycle irregularities, erectile dysfunction and sperm damage have been noted. So, methadone abuse can not only lower your interest in sexual activities, but can also harm your fertility.

Pregnancy complications with methadone use

At the beginning of the pregnancy, women should be given solid medical advice by their prescribing doctor and gynecologist. Basically, your dosing is best when it stays in the same. Most pregnancy complications are observed when methadone users try to reduce doses during pregnancy. In fact, medical professionals advise that methadone use throughout pregnancy should be continued (unless the risk is greater than the benefit and a doctor recommends).

Still, methadone is listed in the Pregnancy Category C and prolonged use of the medication can result in side-effects, including:

  • physical dependence in the neonate
  • neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • decreased fetal growth in infants
  • deficit in performance on psychometric and behavioral tests
  • methadone withdrawal symptoms

Effects of methadone on breastfed babies

In the mother’s body, peak methadone levels will occur within 4-5 hours after taking an oral dose. If a baby is breastfed during this time it will receive 2%-3% of the oral maternal dose through the milk.  As a result of ingesting methadone through mother’s breast milk, effects such as sedation and respiratory depression in babies have been observed.

Mothers should be informed and instructed by doctors on how to identify side effects in their baby that have occurred as a result of having too large dose of methadone in the milk. More importantly, mothers should be informed about the choice not to breast feed their babies, but to use a formula instead, or about when is the safest period of time for breastfeeding.

Methadone’s effects on sexuality and fertility questions

It is a fact that methadone helps addicts stay clean and live a drug-free life. But, when it comes to libido, fertility, conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding, it’s best to listen to the doctor’s guidelines, thus risks will be minimized. If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to ask us by posting your questions in the comments section below.

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About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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