There two main options when it comes to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, those are Suboxone and Methadone. Those interested in medication-assisted treatment often wonder which prescription drug is stronger. These drugs operate in quite different ways; comparing them would be like comparing apples and oranges.
The following article is a resource for any questions you might have about methadone, Suboxone, and other options concerning opioid-replacement therapy, opioid detoxification, and medication-assisted treatment using Suboxone or Methadone.
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What Are the Differences Between Methadone and Suboxone?
Before about 2010, the only option for prescriptions when withdrawing from opiates was methadone. Since the 1950s, doctors have been using methadone to ease withdrawal symptoms and as maintenance, dose to keep opiate addicts from using street drugs such as heroin. Methadone is a strong opiate. It works by binding itself to the opiate receptors in the brain and causing any subsequent opiates that are added to work less effectively.
Simply said, any opiates added after a methadone dose has been taken will not get the user as high as normally. Thus the perceived effects from using street drugs are greatly diminished. Most opiate addicts have chosen to enroll in a State Certified Methadone Program to get their methadone from a clinic in their community.
Suboxone vs. Methadone: Which One is Stronger?
Usually, the patient will arrive in a methadone clinic in the morning for their dose; in some cases, the patient will need multiple doses a day. After some distance between the user and their drug of choice, a doctor is usually willing to prescribe methadone to be used on the user’s recognizance. But the amount of time that an addict spends is on methadone varies greatly by the severity of their addiction. For some addicts, methadone will be a daily event for them for the rest of their lives. A good doctor we’ll have a set goal of getting their patients completely free and clear of opiates eventually if possible.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone and Methadone
Suboxone, on the other hand, is a strong synthetic opiate and what is known as an opiate antagonist which has been available for the last decade. It works in the same way as methadone by binding itself to the opiate receptors in the brain and not allowing any additional opiates to affect the user. Also, Suboxone has some added benefits that methadone does not have, namely the ability to reverse opiate overdose. But there are some dangers when taking Suboxone. Since Suboxone is an aggressive opiate antagonist, the patient must be completely free and clear of opiates out of their system when they start taking the drug.
If the opiates are not completely out of the system or taken too soon, the user can go into acute withdrawal which is an extremely painful event. This is when all the symptoms of opiate withdrawal are exaggerated and accelerated because the buprenorphine (the active ingredient in suboxone) is actively kicking out of the opiate molecules from the body. It is always recommended that Suboxone be taken under the supervision of trained medical doctors.
Getting off Suboxone or Methadone
Since there’s so much danger when it comes to dealing with the chemistry of the body, prescriptions, and opiate addiction, it is always recommended that withdrawing from street drugs be done under the supervision of trained medical staff and at a detox center. Suboxone and/or methadone are not a cure for addiction. It is always recommended to couple medications with drug counseling to address the root causes of addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out to the email address found on this page for more information. A life could depend upon it. If you or a loved one have an addiction to Methadone then Garden State Treatment Center can help you on the path to sobriety.