Suboxone vs. Methadone: Which is Right for You?

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Suboxone and methadone are prescription medications that are used to treat heroin addiction. The ingredients contained in these medications are designed to treat withdrawal symptoms, prevent feelings of euphoria that come from opiates and reduce pain perception. Traditionally, methadone has been used to treat heroin and opiate addictions, but more recently, suboxone has been the preferred choice. Why? Some say that suboxone has a considerably less uncomfortable withdrawal period than methadone.

What Factors are Taken into Consideration when Prescribing Suboxone or Methadone? 

When it comes to suboxone and methadone, not one is necessarily better than the other. Both have their advantages, but the experiences that recovering addicts have with them are personal. Some clients feel that one medication works better than the other based on their own experience. The effectiveness of these drugs depends largely on the length of the addiction and how much of the opiate is being abused.

Some studies have shown that methadone has a slight advantage in treating heroin addictions compared to suboxone. For instance, when a heroin addict enters treatment and admits that they have been abusing more than $100 a day of the drug, suboxone won’t be strong enough to provide relief. At this point, drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms are so severe, methadone is the best option, and the one that will be chosen.

However, if the addiction isn’t to that level of severity, it can be worthwhile to choose suboxone as the first method of treatment. It’s fairly easy to transfer a client from suboxone to methadone, but not from methadone to suboxone due to the metabolic half life. So, it can be advantageous to try suboxone first, and if it’s ineffective, the client can switch to methadone.

Ultimately, which drug works better is dependent on the client, the length of their addiction and the severity of their addiction. Holistic treatment centers will know which drug will offer the most relief after evaluating the client. Methadone has a long and proven history of efficacy and is a common choice, but suboxone has clear advantages and possibly fewer side effects for select clients.

Are there any Advantages I Should Know About?

When entering treatment for a heroin addiction, you will be given a personalized treatment plan based on your individual situation. Suboxone or methadone may be suggested, but what are the benefits, if any, to these medications?

The good news is that both suboxone and methadone are very effective in keeping clients comfortable during the withdrawal and recovery phases of opiate addiction. Using suboxone first is a great first step, providing that your level of addiction is not too high. First, you can take a prescription for suboxone home so you don’t have to go to a clinic or treatment center each day. Suboxone also has fewer side effects than methadone, and the eventual detox off this drug is easier than detoxing from methadone, which can have its own set of problems.

Also, as we talked about earlier, you can easily make the switch from suboxone to methadone if it’s found not to be working as effectively as you need it to. These are all great reasons for why suboxone treatment is better for some clients.

What Makes Suboxone Less Effective for Some Clients?

Even with all the advantages to suboxone, don’t be alarmed if your treatment center suggests methadone first. A heavy opiate habit can not be treated effectively with suboxone because it’s a partial opiate antagonist and has limited ability to block withdrawal symptoms. This means that it won’t provide the relief that is needed for heavy opiate users, and getting this relief is the most critical aspect in treating a heroin addiction.

Bottom line: Listen to the recommendations of your treatment program. If your addiction is severe, it’s most important to control cravings so that you don’t relapse, even if it means taking methadone. You may even find that your treatment center suggests a holistic approach without the need for more drugs. 

Is Suboxone as Addictive as Methadone?

Suboxone is not as addictive as methadone, which is why clients can take the drug home with them. Methadone, on the other hand, runs a high risk of addiction and must be administered at a clinic. Still, this does not mean that suboxone has no risk of dependency. It, too, can be addictive and increase the effects from other drugs. Fortunately, as long as you take suboxone at the recommended dosage, you will not experience a high, and you can continue to function in society without drug cravings or withdrawal symptoms.

Once again, you must always remember that no two situations are the same. Whether it’s yourself or a loved one battling an addiction to heroin or other opiates, seeking treatment at a holistic center like The River Source will offer the personalized care you need to make long-term recovery a reality.