Additional Variables that Make Suboxone vs Methadone Different
Other differences between suboxone vs methadone can include price, dependent on insurance, dosage, and length of time used, and how the medications are used in individual therapy programs. Despite the similarities of the medications, there are many differences as well, as the world works to combat opioid addiction and dependence in both illegal and medical uses of the drug type.
Each of these drugs or maintenance medications also comes with inherent benefits. For some, the benefits of Methadone may outweigh those of Suboxone. For others, the opposite may be true. Understanding the benefits of each medication and how use of the medication may impact your life is important.
Benefits of MethadoneYour Content Goes Here
Methadone and buprenorphine are both recommended to use in the detoxification process from opioid addiction or dependence, in opioid treatment therapy. Withdrawal from methadone to suboxone can happen if more severe side effects occur, or as patients try to find a different method of recovery that works best for them. Methadone is taken orally, allows for patients to undertake their daily responsibilities at home and work, and comes as a recognized Essential Medicine by the World Health Organization. Other benefits of methadone use in opioid treatment therapy include:
- Reduction of Overall Opioid Drug Injection
- Because it Reduces Drug Injection, it Also Helps Prevent HIV Transmission
- Reduces the Death Rate Associated With Opioid Dependence
- Reduces Criminal Activity by Opioid Users
- Reduces the Risk of Relapse
- Is Easy to Administer
- Is Effective, Especially in Conjunction With Other Opioid Treatment Therapies Like Counselling and Group Support
Benefits of SuboxoneYour Content Goes Here
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The use of buprenorphine vs methadone, largely has the same kind of benefits, although different avenues applied to achieve those outcomes. Many people looking into the treatment tend to wonder, “is suboxone safer than methadone” to use? Or if they can use suboxone to get off of methadone. Since methadone and suboxone are both opioid agonists, it is possible to wean off of one in favor of the other, but the switch should be orchestrated and observed by a Doctor or other medical professional over time, otherwise the risk for onsetting opioid withdrawal symptoms may occur. Otherwise, studies have shown that neither methadone or suboxone – although suboxone has been noted to be more tolerable than methadone, and patients tend to stick with treatment plans longer because of it – are safer than each other inherently, but separate individuals may prefer one method over the other. Otherwise, the benefits of suboxone include:
- Reduces the Risk of Mortality in Opioid Substance Abuse
- Reduces the Risk of Adverse Outcomes
- Reduces the Risk of Relapse
- Is Easy to Administer
- Is More Tolerable in Extended Use
- Higher Treatment Retention Rates
- Reduces the Overall Use of Opioid Drugs
- Is Effective in Opioid Substance Abuse Disorders, Especially in Conjunction With Other Opioid Treatment Therapies
Is Methadone Stronger than Suboxone?
So, the question still remains, is methadone stronger than suboxone? Not technically. Methadone and suboxone in the long-term tend to have similar lasting effects, although as a Schedule II controlled substance, methadone is considered to have a higher abuse risk potential than suboxone, as a Schedule III controlled substance. Suboxone compared to methadone has also been noted to be more tolerable for patients to take, and has higher treatment retention rates than methadone as a result.
Dangers of Mixing Methadone and Suboxone
The general side effects of methadone and buprenorphine (suboxone) are for the most part rather similar, although suboxone has more common potential side effects than methadone. The list of the side effects of methadone and buprenorphine can be found above under the differences between methadone and suboxone heading.
Now, although it is possible to move from using methadone to suboxone, or suboxone to methadone, for treatment purposes in a medically controlled setting, it is important that mixing methadone and suboxone does not occur. This is because the interactions between both methadone and suboxone with other types of drugs, can result in higher risk of polysubstance use, and even overdose or death. Mixing methadone and suboxone themselves can also lead to the onset of opioid withdrawal symptoms, as these drugs multiply the effects of the opioids being pumped into the system, while also working against one another. Here is a small list of potential opioid withdrawal symptoms:
- Feeling Hot or Cold
- Runny Nose
- Watery Eyes
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Aches
- Mood Swings
- Headache (suboxone)
- Hallucinations (methadone)
- Trouble Concentrating (suboxone)
- Tremors (methadone)
Potential opioid overdose symptoms can include:
- Slow or Shallow Breathing
- Limp Muscles
- Loss of Consciousness
- Pinpoint Pupils
- Cool, Clammy, or Blue Skin
- Slurred Speech
- Blurred Vision
- Slowed Reflexes
What’s the Safest Alternative to Methadone and Suboxone?
So, when it comes to suboxone vs methadone, the real question is which method works best for the individual patient. Patients have the choice between either methadone or suboxone, but they can also choose an alternative therapy treatment set or medication assistant. The biggest alternative to methadone and suboxone, that is noted to be safer and less of an abuse risk, is naloxone.
The medications rank in this order, from most risky to least, in terms of safety: methadone, subutex (straight buprenorphine), suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) and then naloxone at the end. Naltrexone is another alternative to methadone or suboxone in the case of medically assisted opioid treatment therapy.
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