by Lauren Gard
The FDA has just released an advisory urging healthcare professionals to bone up on the potentially dangerous effects of the pill form of methadone, which docs have increasingly been prescribing for chronic pain relief. It's the first time the agency has addressed the recent nationwide surge in overdose deaths attributed to the painkiller, a subject the Express tackled in an August cover story. (In the past, methadone has primarily been known for its role in treating heroin addiction.) Methadone became a household word in October when it was revealed that it contributed to the overdose death of Anna Nicole Smith's son, Daniel, who was not an addict and was apparently using the painkiller recreationally.