Opioids or opiates are drugs that are mainly used for treating severe or chronic pain. Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in different areas of the body, including the gastrointestinal tract, brain, and spinal cord. Once attached, they inhibit pain signals from the body to the brain, alleviating any discomfort. However, because these drugs alleviate pain and also produce a euphoric high, they’re highly addictive and commonly abused. However, among the solutions to address the ongoing opioid epidemic are Suboxone and Methadone. If you’ve never heard of them, our Clearbrook rehab in PA is comparing Suboxone vs Methadone.
What Is Suboxone?
Also known by brand names like Bunavail and Zubsolv, Suboxone is an opioid analgesic made from a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that’s used as a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for people with opioid use disorders. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), all drugs that contain buprenorphine, such as Suboxone, are Schedule III drugs, which means that Suboxone has a medical purpose and a moderate to low potential for abuse. Specifically, Suboxone is meant to treat opioid dependence. Opioids are highly addictive and known to produce severe withdrawal symptoms, which is how the body reacts when the dose of a drug is decreased or ceased. Common opioid withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, muscle pain, stomach problems, and nausea. Without the help of medical detox or medications like Suboxone, recovering from these drugs can be dangerous and even painful.
As an opioid antagonist, Suboxone blocks the effects of opioids like codeine, morphine, heroin, and oxycodone and reduces the severity of withdrawals. When abused, opioid drugs can alleviate pain and activate the release of dopamine and endorphins, creating a pleasurable and sedative high. This high is what usually encourages people to continue their drug use. As part of MAT for people with opioid addictions, Suboxone attaches to opioid receptors to block the effects of these drugs. Suboxone is meant to help people recover from addiction and to make the addiction recovery process more comfortable. However, when comparing Suboxone vs Methadone, it’s important to keep in mind that they both produce certain side effects.
Common Suboxone side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness in the mouth and tongue
- Stomach pains
- Pain in the tongue
- Dizziness and fainting
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irregular heartbeat
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Blurred vision
- Back pain
Because Suboxone is partially an opioid agonist (opposite of antagonist), it can also cause difficulty breathing as opioids can. Respiratory depression is a condition in which breathing becomes shallow or ineffective. Opioids can cause respiratory depression because they depress or sedate the central nervous system, slowing down basic functions like breathing and heart rate. Respiratory depression is the most severe of the side effects of Suboxone. If someone experiences this, they should seek medical attention immediately.
What Is Methadone?
Methadone is a narcotic that can treat moderate to severe pain as well as opioid addiction. Also known by brand names like Diskets, Methadone Intensol, and Methadose, Methadone is a synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine in side effects but longer acting. Often used as a substitute drug in opioid addiction treatment, Methadone acts as an opioid to eliminate withdrawal symptoms and relieve opioid drug cravings by attaching itself to opioid receptors.
When using Methadone for prescription drug addiction treatment, you can only get it from certified opioid treatment programs. A physician will analyze your condition, witness you taking the dose, and keep track of your progress during treatment. If they determine that you’re stable enough to take Methadone at home, you may be able to take the drug home between visits to the clinic. Even so, you will only be able to get Methadone from a certified opioid treatment program. There are also some side effects to consider.
Methadone side effects include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
Similar to Suboxone or opioid drugs, Methadone can also cause difficulty breathing and side effects like respiratory depression. If you or someone you know is taking Methadone and experiences shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or shallow breathing, get medical attention immediately.
Is Suboxone the Same as Methadone?
No, Suboxone and Methadone are not the same things. But if not, then what is the difference between Methadone and Suboxone? The main difference between Methadone and Suboxone is that Methadone does not contain buprenorphine and naloxone. Also, Methadone can also be used to treat pain while Suboxone cannot. Another difference is that Suboxone caters more towards treating opioid dependence and withdrawal symptoms, while Methadone is considered more of a replacement drug to help ease opioid addiction.
Additionally, unlike Methadone, Suboxone can be prescribed by a doctor and taken at home as directed. Methadone, however, has to be obtained from a certified opioid treatment program and is usually heavily monitored. Also, Suboxone does not produce as severe of a high or mimic the symptoms of opioids as Methadone does, which may be why the latter is more monitored.
In comparisons of Suboxone versus Methadone, it’s been suggested that Suboxone is failing to stop opioid addiction, but this isn’t true. While Methadone may be a stronger substance, it doesn’t make it any more effective. These drugs have to be taken as prescribed, they have to be monitored, and they should be used in tandem with other drug treatment programs to ensure recovery. These aren’t quick-fix solutions but rather supplements to support the recovery process as a whole.
If you’re taking Methadone or Suboxone or looking into the use of these drugs for yourself or a loved one, make sure you do your research. Clearbrook Treatment Centers Pennsylvania offers Suboxone treatment that’s used alongside our other forms of addiction treatment to ensure that patients stay safe, healthy, and actually overcome their addictions. To learn more about our inpatient rehab in Pennsylvania, call us now at 570-536-9621.