Suboxone Vs Methadone

Evidence-based therapies for opioid use disorder, such as methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), are available (such as fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone, percocet, and vicodin).

12/21/20224 min read

Evidence-based therapies for opioid use disorder, such as methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), are available (such as fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone, percocet, and vicodin). Methadone has been used to treat opioid use disorder for over 50 years, but it is only available in specialized Opioid Treatment Centers (also known as "methadone clinics"), whereas buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is a more modern medication that can be found in outpatient clinics such as your primary care or psychiatrist's office.

Both are regarded safe and effective when taken as directed, assisting patients in achieving and maintaining long-term recovery and reclaiming active and fulfilling lives. Both should be included in a comprehensive treatment plan that includes behavioral therapy and other complementary treatments (such as 12-step groups like AA/NA, Smart Recovery, finding a sponsor, spirituality, and self-care).

To help you decide whether drug is suitable for you or a loved one, we've assembled all you need to know about methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone).

What is the difference between Suboxone and Methadone?

Both Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) and Methadone are opioids, however they work in distinct ways. Consider how many opioid receptors are present in your brain. These receptors are used to being empty most of the time (there are no opioids on the brain's receptors) for someone who does not have an opioid addiction.

These receptors are used to being entirely filled with fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone, percocets, vicodin, or other opioids by someone who has an addiction. When a person runs out of opioids, the receptors that were previously occupied become vacant, and the person experiences terrible withdrawal symptoms (much like the flu!). Sweating, runny nose, bodily pains, and chills).

People who take buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) or methadone bind to these opioid receptors and do not experience withdrawal symptoms. At the same time, they stimulate opioid receptors, which prevents a person from developing cravings. They also prevent relapse and overdose by blocking the opioid receptors of other opioids (such as fentanyl and percocet).

Both meds should make a person feel NORMAL — not high, not in withdrawal, not cravings— but normal, allowing them to wake up and go about their day: go to work, care for their children, reconnect with friends, take care of their health, pay their bills, and so on. Both have the same side effects that all opioids have. Constipation, nausea/vomiting, sweating, itching, and sexual issues such as premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and diminished libido are just a few of them.

So, How Do Methadone and Suboxone Vary From One Another?

Methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) both work to reduce cravings and withdrawals while also preventing overdose:

Methadone is an opioid that is a complete agonist. This implies that, like fentanyl or oxycodone, when it attaches to the opioid receptor, it FULLY STIMULATES it. The opioid receptor is stimulated more as a person takes more. This means that increasing doses can generate euphoria or a "high." Taking too much can also induce pulmonary (lung) depression, overdose, and mortality because we all have opioid receptors in our lungs.

Methadone clinics strive to discover the right dose to help someone feel normal (blocking all opioid receptors to reduce cravings and withdrawal) while avoiding euphoria

or overdosing. As you might expect, methadone is highly regulated and must be prescribed directly from a specialty clinic due to the risk of overdosing. On the other side, buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is a partial-agonist opioid. It comprises buprenorphine (the active opioid component) and naltrexone (the non-addictive opioid component) (which is not absorbed by the body but prevents misuse of the medication).

When buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) attaches to the opioid receptor, it PARTIALLY STIMULATES it, causing cravings and withdrawal symptoms to disappear. However, it has a CEILING effect, which means that taking more and more does not cause a "high" or pleasure, and overdosing on Suboxone is extremely difficult. As a result, it is regarded as VERY SAFE.

How Do I take Suboxone vs. Methadone?

Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is a pill or film that dissolves beneath the tongue. We like to remind our patients to follow the "Rule of 15": don't smoke, eat, or drink for 15 minutes before taking; let it dissolve beneath your tongue for at least 15 minutes; don't smoke, eat, or drink for 15 minutes after taking it. It is usually tolerated nicely. Methadone is administered orally as a liquid, powder, or diskette. Visit the SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) website for further information on buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) and methadone:

Suboxone vs. Methadone: A Comparison
Suboxone Methadone

What happens in the brain Opioid partial agonist A complete opioid agonist

How does it help with Prevents overdosing Prevents overdosing

opioid addiction? withdrawals, and cravings withdrawals, and cravings

Profile of safety Has a ceiling impact; Only a few other

overdosing is extremely drugs interact with it,


Dose and formulation Most individuals stabilize 60-120 milligrams per day

examples at 12-16 mg buprenorphine Orally administered

per day (1.5-2 Suboxone tabs liquid, powder,

or films per day) can and diskette formulations

require up to 24 mg per day.

Taken sublingually

it dissolves in 15 minutes under the tongue.

Time to reach a steady It usually takes 1-2 days. Doses begin at 20 mg per day

(maintenance) dose and can be increased

every 2–5 days.

maintenance dose

takes around 2 weeks.

Is it effective in the Suboxone is as powerful as Methadone is an effective

treatment of pain? "taking a Vicodin" when it pain reliever.

comes to pain relief.

Safe to use during Yes, it's a first-line treatment. Yes, it's a first-line treatment.


Various other gems Suboxone also binds to additional

mood-enhancing receptors!

As a result, it acts as a

moderate antidepressant.

What has Suboxone can be Patients are getting more

changed as started without "take homes" while

a result of an in-person visit. program is different

COVID-19? (and requires state clearance).

but they still CANNOT

start methadone without

an in-person visit.

We prescribe buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) to our patients through telemedicine sessions at Suboxone clinic. Our team of clinicians, health coaches, and staff are here to assist you in getting started on the path to long-term recovery. "Our goal is to provide same-day access to assessment and the best possible treatment for people facing difficulties from opioid usage," says Dr. Brian Clear, Suboxone clinic's Chief Medical Officer.

For the majority of patients, this entails administering buprenorphine, which is the same well-known medication that any speciality office-based practitioner would administer. What sets us apart is that we provide it in the most timely and convenient manner feasible. Patients love it and gain greatly from it."