Levo-alpha-acetylmethadol (LAAM) is a man-made opioid drug intended to treat patients who are suffering from addiction to other opioids, such as heroin. Like other opioid addiction medications such as methadone and Suboxone, LAAM works by blocking the neuroreceptors while producing minimal feelings of euphoria or cravings.
LAAM was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the early 1990s and has been shown to relieve pain and depress respiration; it also results in patient sedation. It is most closely associated with methadone, another opioid-based addiction treatment medication. LAAM is considered a Schedule II Controlled Substance because it is highly addictive and prone to misuse.
LAAM is typically given to patients who do not respond well to other opioid addiction medications. However, LAAM lasts in the body much longer than methadone and, thus, can be given several times a week (as opposed to methadone, which must be given daily). Patients on a LAAM addiction treatment protocol must visit a treatment facility whenever the next dose is required.
As an opioid, LAAM is extremely addictive. Using LAAM while drinking alcohol or taking other medications can be dangerous and lead to drowsiness, lack of consciousness and even death. Possible side effects of LAAM include flu-like symptoms, intestinal upset and mental issues including depression and anxiety.