Suboxone Vs. Methadone
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Methadone and Suboxone are both medications used to treat pain or addiction to certain drugs. They are opioids and can be offered on prescription, depending on the case. The substances are FDA-approved, and they have been around for decades.
Although they are similar, the two are completely different drugs and therefore, have their differences. At the same time, the potential for abuse and addiction is high for both drugs. Anyone who uses them illegally or for extended periods risks becoming addicted to the drugs.
It is important to know what Methadone and Suboxone are, as well as the benefits, side effects, and risks associated with both of them. Furthermore, anyone must know what to do if they are suffering from addiction or withdrawal from either Methadone or Suboxone, or if they know someone who is dealing with this issue.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is a medication created by German scientists during World War II. It is a Schedule II medication that has been used to treat pain for multiple decades. In the present, it is also used to treat opioid addiction or withdrawal.
The drug operates on the same brain parts as other opioids do, with the difference being that Methadone does not cause the same high effect. It is offered by doctors on prescription. When someone starts taking Methadone, a doctor or nurse must be present.
As time goes by and the body adjusts to the substance, the patient may take the Methadone dose at home.
Doses will differ from one person to another, and over time, they may change. A person may have to take Methadone for 12 months.
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What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a medication that is used to decrease opioid withdrawal symptoms. The drug first started being prescribed in 2002 in the U.S. It is created using two different drugs, respectively buprenorphine, and naloxone.
This medication comes either as a film strip that melts under your tongue, a pill, or an implant under the arm’s skin. While it acts on the same brain parts as Methadone, Suboxone is not as strong.
Benefits of Methadone and Suboxone
Methadone and Suboxone can be extremely helpful for people who need treatment for addiction or severe pain.
The drugs are usually part of a much larger opioid addiction treatment plan. Initially, the medications can help an individual stop using opioid drugs, especially when combined with therapy and other forms of treatment.
Methadone is simpler to use as the dose is flexible. Also, patients have an easier time maintaining their treatment and avoiding relapse with Methadone as the doses can be taken at home after a while.
Meanwhile, Suboxone is great because one can start taking it without requiring a doctor’s supervision.
Side Effects of Methadone and Suboxone
Both Methadone and Suboxone can lead to side effects, whether the person is using them short-term or long-term. Common side effects for both of them include:
- Having difficulties concentrating
- Sexual issues
- Shallow breathing
The Risks of Using Methadone or Suboxone
Just like they have benefits, Methadone and Suboxone also come with some risks. For instance, Suboxone has a higher overdose risk because the effects tend to go away after a certain dose. So, an addict may be tempted to take a higher dose at once to reach the desired effect.
Meanwhile, Methadone is more addictive. What’s worse is that methadone withdrawal symptoms may increase the addiction to the drug. People who were addicted to other opioids before the Methadone medication may keep taking Methadone for the rest of their life to be able to stop consuming opioids.
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The Abuse Potential
Methadone is a Schedule II substance in the U.S. – therefore, it is legal under prescription but also has a high possibility of abuse.
The medication can bind to the brain’s opioid receptors, activating them and making someone more likely to develop an addiction. It changes the way the nervous system and brain respond to physical pain, which can be addictive.
On the other hand, Suboxone is less addictive. The buprenorphine in its composition has a very small influence on the brain while the naloxone lowers the risk of euphoric effects. At the same time, its effects go away faster. For this reason, Suboxone is considered a much safer form of treatment.
Methadone and Suboxone Withdrawals
Methadone and Suboxone have an increased risk of withdrawal considering they are both opioid drugs. They are addictive – therefore, the withdrawals they cause can be very uncomfortable and painful depending on the case.
The symptoms of withdrawal are similar for both Methadone and Suboxone. At the same time, the intensity of the symptoms will differ from one person to another. As it is a Schedule II medication, Methadone usually has an increased abuse risk compared to Suboxone.
The withdrawal symptoms for Methadone last between 2-3 weeks, whereas Suboxone withdrawal symptoms tend to last for a few months.
Common symptoms of withdrawal caused by both medications include:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Feeling cold or hot
- Having a hard time falling asleep
- Muscle cramps or pain
Withdrawal symptoms usually cannot be handled by the drug user alone. Anyone who wants to avoid withdrawal should gradually ditch the drug while they’re under professional supervision.
How We Can Help
At Real Deal, we care about our patients and want to see them improve their lives. We work very hard to help people get rid of their addiction. We’re also there for them to handle their withdrawal symptoms and successfully escape the rollercoaster of addiction.
On top of our rehab program, patients can also take advantage of our sober living program, where they can work on themselves by developing healthier coping mechanisms and learning how to function in society.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse declared that opioid levels have grown significantly during the last few years, reaching epidemic levels. Only in 2019, about 50,000 people died as a result of opioid overdoses. For this reason, you should get help if you suffer from a Methadone or Suboxone addiction or know someone who does. Reach out to us and help will be offered.