Opioids are a controversial class of drugs. On the one hand, they can provide relief for severe, chronic pain in a manner that no other drug is capable of doing. On the other hand, though, they are highly addictive and habit-forming, leading to dependence and addiction that can prove fatal. In response to rising opioid abuse rates and deaths from overdose, methadone was introduced to help patients battle opioid addictions.
However, more and more people found themselves addicted to methadone, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) attributed a third of all deaths due to prescription drugs to methadone overdose. Then, suboxone was introduced as a comparable opioid replacement drug with a lower potential for abuse.
Today, we’ll be looking at methadone vs suboxone and comparing both drugs as treatments for opioid addiction.
What Are Methadone and Suboxone?
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that scientists developed in the 1940s for the treatment of opioid use disorder. It is a full opioid agonist, which activates opioid receptors in the brain similar to morphine and other opioids. Despite its success in aiding physicians and patients battle heroin addiction, methadone has similar side effects to other opioids. It is also similarly addictive, and patients find themselves addicted to the very drug that was to wean them off opioids.
Suboxone is a newer drug that was approved for use in the United States in 2002. In contrast to methadone, it is a partial opioid agonist, which means that it can offer the benefits of methadone without the high potential for addiction, abuse, and withdrawal.
Methadone vs Suboxone: Which One Is Better?
Methadone in methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) is used successfully by addiction treatment specialists across the world. It is an effective pain reliever, which helps addicts battle the terrible withdrawal symptoms that come from quitting opioid use. However, patients may require maintenance therapy for years, perhaps even for the rest of their lives. There are also long-term risks to the brain and body from methadone use. Worst of all, it is available as an inexpensive street drug, leading addicts back into the cycle they tried so hard to break.
Suboxone is a partial agonist opioid. This means that it binds to opioid receptors in the brain just like methadone. However, it does not fully stimulate them, which means that it can lessen cravings and withdrawal without the dramatic side effects of methadone. As a result, suboxone also carries a lower risk of overdose.
Both drugs require close monitoring and dosage adjustments from doctors as part of a treatment plan designed to help addicts gradually wean off of opioids.
While methadone treatment has been historically successful, suboxone treatment is now the new standard for treating opioid addiction. Both drugs are FDA-approved, but which option is best for you depends on the professional diagnosis of a qualified addiction specialist.
At Genesis Pain Clinic, we’re proud to be practitioners of the highest standard of interventional pain management. Our Suboxone medication-assisted treatment plan is the gold standard of care for treating opioid disorders. We offer diagnostic testing and regenerative medicine, with the mission to allow all our patients to live healthy, pain-free lives. Please give us a call if you have any questions at (913) 871-9888.
We’re proud to offer the best suboxone treatment in Kansas, and we look forward to helping you.