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What Are the Differences Between Methadone and Suboxone?

What Are the Differences Between Methadone and Suboxone?

When people seek help with opioid addiction, there are a number of treatment options to consider. The most widely recognize treatment was Methadone maintenance. Clinics have dispensed methadone for quite some time. Methadone is a gradually acting opioid while suboxone is designed to block receptors and acts very differently for the same purpose. Learn more about the differences between methadone and suboxone.

Bridge to Recovery

Methadone is supposed to be a bridge to recovery from addiction. Many people who use drugs can lapse back into it without methadone. That being said, people can stay on methadone for years, or even indefinitely. This may be seen as ‘trading one drug for another,’ and lead to misuse of the drug to control heroin use, for example. It can be dangerous if misused and must be monitored closely. Some pros to using methadone:

  • Long history of treating opioid addiction
  • Daily visits give structure to people who need it
  • Cost is less and based on income
  • Chance to interact with people affected by addiction in group counseling
  • Stops withdrawal symptoms
  • Lasts 24 hours
  • Good choice for people in need of chronic pain management

Some cons:

  • Highly addictive
  • Possible to use other illicit opioids and use methadone
  • Treatment has strict protocol which makes people feel less control over treatment
  • Shows up in urine tests for employment
  • Daily visits required making it hard to work or travel for it
  • May lead to overdose if misused

Enter Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is the new drug on the scene to help combat drug addiction. Suboxone is a trade name for a drug made up of 4 parts Buprenorphine, one part Naloxone. This has a strong affinity for its receptor, but only activates it partially. This means it will take all receptors and use them if a person takes this drug with heroin, and may also induce painful withdrawal. When Suboxone is crushed and injected, the Naloxone inside the drug can block many of the receptors, causing an unpleasant or severe withdrawal. Specially licensed doctors can prescribe this drug from their offices and slowly office visits for use of the drug may be changed to a managed monthly prescription of the medication. Some pros and cons of treatment with Suboxone:

  • Newer, safer, more effective
  • Possible to taper and wean off
  • Long acting for use every other day
  • Monthly visits okay allowing more freedom to a person’s life
  • Covered by insurance (typically)
  • Not usually part of employment drug tests

Some cons:

  • More expensive out of pocket expenses
  • Unpleasant taste
  • Potential for abuse
  • Opioid agonist so dependence may develop
  • Strictly regulated by DEA

No matter which drug is used, it should be taken seriously and overseen by a prescribing physician. The treatment for addiction may include other things, not just medication, and can provide a well-rounded approach to recovery with the right support.

Serenity Oaks provides an intensive 5 week program to support your sobriety and recovery from addiction. Treatment with medication is provided, along with therapy, and tools that will help you be successful post rehab. Call us to find out how we can help you get started: 844-720-6847.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center