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What is safer – Suboxone or Methadone?

In terms of the risk to potentially overdose, researchers found Suboxone to be six times safer than Methadone.

Methadone was widely used for treating opioid dependence since the 1960s. Thismedication has been considered as one of the most effective drugs for opioid replacement therapy. Trained and certified medical practitioners used Methadone to treat their patients’ addictions to heroin and other opioids with considerable success. However, with time this congenial treatment procedure backfired and more and more patients found themselves addicted to Methadone – the very drug meant to help them overcome their addiction. This jarring incident caused scientists to look for alternate addiction reversal treatment procedures.

The British pharmaceutical company, Reckitt Benckiser released a drug called Suboxone in 2002. This drug, composed of Buprenorphine and Naloxone, was introduced as a possible replacement for methadone. According to scientists, Suboxone, being a partial opioid agonist, would offer individuals the same benefits as Methadone (a full agonist) without the high potential for abuse.

The following is a comparative study between Methadone and Suboxone:

1. Treatment procedure–

Methadone for addiction reversal treatment is available only at certified opioid treatment programs like Methadone Maintenance Clinics. After deciding to initiate treatment a patient is required to visitone of these clinics. The trained and certified doctors observethe patient and then prescribe the appropriate dosage of medication. Once the clinic doctors are convinced that the concerned patient is stable with methadone treatment, they are allowed to take the drug at home between visits to the clinic. In case of taking the medication at home, a patient still needs to procure it from a certified opioid treatment program.

However, in case of Suboxone treatment, a patient does not need to visit the clinic regularly in order to receive treatment. The Suboxone treatment doctors Norton monitor the patient closely at the start of the treatment procedure and then prescribe the patient with the best suited Suboxone addiction reversal treatment.

Nevertheless the patients undergoing treatment for Suboxone addiction Norton are required to visit the clinic to get the medication. TheSuboxone doctors usually supervise the patient and observe the effects of the medication on him/her. The Suboxone doctors do not give the patient more than a few doses at a time for take home purpose. Eventually the patients are allowed to manage their own treatment requiring only occasional visits to the Suboxone clinics. Thus, the Suboxone treatment does not interfere with the daily life a patient.

2. Benefits–

Methadone,a synthetic opioid,is an effective painkiller which also offers relief to those struggling with severe withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction to heroin and other narcotics.However, many patients are required to remain on the Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) for months, years, or even for life.

Suboxone, like Methadone, is a synthetic opioid. However, unlike Methadonewhich was initially composed to fight pain and was later found to be effective for opioid dependence treatment, Suboxone was designed with the primary purpose of helping control addiction. The Suboxone medication is made with 80 per cent Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and 20 percent Naloxone, an opioid antagonistor a chemical used to block the effects of opioids. When a patient takes Suboxone, Buprenorphine binds to receptors in the brain and activates them only slightly, providing relief from withdrawal symptoms while the Naloxone blocks the opioid’s effect, keeping the body from experiencing any kind of euphoria or getting high. Studies say that Suboxone treatment has a positive effect on the lives of people recovering from addiction andcorrelated to up to 45 percent fewer emergency room visits among test subjects. It is believed that the Suboxone was integral to keeping a maximum number of individuals away from opioid abuse.

3. Potential for Abuse–

Methadone is a full opioid agonist. This means that the drug binds to opioid receptors in the brain and activates them, creating a chemical reaction that leaves an individual vulnerable to dependence.

Addiction to any substancetriggers the release of endorphins and dopamine consequentlyactivating powerful reward centres in the brain awakening its feel-good neurotransmitters. Eventually the brain begins to crave for those good feelings and sense of well-being.

Suboxone poses negligible threat for instigating the surge of dopamine. The Buprenorphine produces very weak effect on the brain, and the Naloxone decreases chances of euphoria even further. This quality makes Suboxone a safer and less addictive option for treating opioid addiction.

4. Drug features–

Methadone is a generic drug, while Suboxone is the brand name of the combination of two substances Buprenorphine and Naloxone.

The United States and DEAhas classified Methadone as a Schedule II controlled substance and Suboxone has been classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. A controlled substance is a drug that is regulated by the government. If a patient takes a controlled substance, the doctor must closely supervise the patient’s use of the medication. Schedule II drugs have higher potential for addiction than Schedule III drugs.That is to say thatMethadone is a medically accepted drug with a high potential for abuse.

Although the choice between Methadone and Suboxone varies widely depending on the specific needs and circumstancesof a patient, doctors prefer Suboxone over Methadone. As the rates of addiction to the latter medication continue to rise, Suboxoneis deemed to offer the potential for a smoother, safer addiction medication.

Other Resources

How Do I Know If Someone Is On Suboxone?

How to get off opiates using Suboxone?

Reach Out and Touch Suboxone Treatment

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