Methadone and Suboxone Can Cause Sweating

All opioids can cause sweating and flushing. But methadone is perhaps worse than the other opioids, since we use doses high enough to block opioid receptors, to get the maximum benefit from methadone in the treatment of opioid addiction. Buprenorphine (active ingredient in the brand Suboxone and Subutex) can also cause sweating, but since it’s a weaker opioid, people don’t seem to be as badly affected by it.

 We don’t know exactly why opioids make people sweat, but it is related to opioids’ effects on the thermoregulatory centers of the brain.

 Excess sweating can also be caused by opioid withdrawal.  If other withdrawal symptoms are present, like runny nose, muscle aches, or nausea, an increase of the methadone dose may help reduce the sweating.

 At least half of all patients on methadone report unpleasant sweating, but some patients have sweats that are more than just inconvenient. These patients report dramatic, soaking sweats, bad enough to interfere with life.

 First, non-medication methods can be attempted. These methods include common sense things like wearing loose clothing, keeping the house cool, and losing weight. Regular exercise helps some people. Talcum powder, sprinkled on the areas that sweat, can help absorb some of the moisture. Antiperspirants can be used in the underarm area, but also in any area that routinely becomes sweaty. The antiperspirant can be applied at bedtime so sweating won’t interrupt sleep. There are prescription antiperspirants, like Drysol or Xerac, but these sometimes can be irritating to the skin. Avoid spicy foods, which can also cause sweating.

 Make sure the sweating isn’t coming from any other source, like an overactive thyroid, and check your body temperature a few times, to make sure you don’t have a fever, indicating the sweating could be from a smoldering infection. A trip to the primary care doctor should include some basic blood tests to rule out medical causes of sweating, other than the dose of methadone.

 Some prescription medications can help, to varying degree, with sweating.

 Clonidine, a blood pressure medication that blocks activation of part of the central nervous system, blocks sweats in some patients.

 Anticholenergic medicines, drugs block the effect of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the involuntary nervous system, block sweating. Anticholinergics tend to dry all secretions, causing such common side effects as dry mouth and dry eyes. These medications can cause serious side effects, so they must be prescribed by a doctor familiar with the patient’s medical history.

 Some examples of anticholinergics include oxybutynin (also used for urinary leakage), bipereden (used in some Parkinson patients), scopolamine (also used for sea sickness), and dicyclomine (used for irritable bowel syndrome). All of these have been used for excessive sweating with various degrees of success, in some patients.

 For unusually bad situations, Botox can be injected under the skin of the most affected areas, like armpits, palms and soles. Obviously, this is somewhat of a last-resort measure.

Patients affected with severe sweats, unresponsive to any of the above measures, need to decide if the benefit they get from methadone outweighs the annoyance of the side effects. In other words, if being on methadone has kept them from active drug addiction, which is a potentially fatal illness, it would probably be worth putting up with sweating, even if it’s severe.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by adam on August 29, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    My sweating issue is more life interrupting than my addiction ever was! I can’t leave the house without a winter jacket in summer. Once I have walked 50meters I will be soaked through my clothes and if there is a slight breeze I would freeze….hence the jacket. What other options do I have? I went from methadose to suboxone hoping it would change but it only got worse. I want back to normal so badly I am screaming inside.


    • Posted by Elle77 on September 1, 2018 at 3:31 am

      Sounds as if the sweating would be a HUGE motivating factor for you to stay clean. I’m someone who didn’t even sweat in 95° weather, but now am super sweaty after walking a block, even during the coldest months of the winter. I hate it but I’m not willing to give up the Suboxone just yet… guess the pros outweigh the cons. An hour of intense daily exercise and meditation helps.


  2. Suboxone can be a miracle, when prescribed correctly and taken per doctor’s orders. In the wrong hands, it becomes a sort of time-release heroin pill, able to sweep a user into addiction quicker than many other illicit substances.


  3. So SICK of sweating from methadone. Thank God I have a car now, but when I was walking I’d walk a block, be soaked in no time and freezing from the slightest breeze. People think your’e a nut or something. I’m on the verge of losing another job I really like, because I’m soaked and freezing all the time when I’m working. What pisses me off the most is theres nothing we can do. I can deal with/tolerate all the other side effects except bloody sweating. Who ever thought sweating could interfere with life to such an adverse degree! Don’t know whhat to do.


    • Posted by Gena clevenger on June 17, 2019 at 10:44 am

      Try Oxybutynin .. I was just like you and I was miserable… my pcp didn’t believe that it was interrupting my life so I had to basically beg her to give me a blood test to make sure nothing eles is going on and if there’s not then to prescribe me something .. my tests came back normal and she put me on oxybutynin twice a day and OMG what a difference it makes it works more then I ever thought it would!!!


  4. Ugh I just moved my desk to a new office and am now drenched in sweat, even though it is autumn here in NZ. My colleagues have definitely noticed something is up as I had the AC on at 18c throughout winter while they all have their heaters/heatpumps on. I took my puppy on a mountain hike the other day and was so uncomfortably damp it was horrible lol, maybe I should talk to my dr about something to help.


  5. Posted by Joana Hollingsworth 182 Crawford Road, Bainbridge, GA 39819 on October 26, 2020 at 4:17 am

    ALL the info I have read has helped me a lot to make my decision on what I need to do.Thanks for all your very informative information.


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