Methadone Treatment Alternatives

Opiate addiction is serious and ongoing problem affecting thousands of people every year. Methadone treatment has been used to combat opiate dependence and addiction, often successfully, for decades.

However, methadone has a number of drawbacks and not every treatment option is right for every person or every situation, especially with a disease as complicated and dangerous as addiction. So, what are some methadone treatment alternatives?

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is the most obvious medical alternative to methadone. According to the National Library of Medicine, buprenorphine is somewhat less effective than methadone, but has other benefits. These include:

  • the ability to receive the drug from a standard doctor instead of a specialized clinic
  • longer lasting doses that require fewer doctor’s visits
  • less chance of addiction
  • less chance of abuse or overdose
  • fewer side effects

These benefits make buprenorphine a good alternative to methadone in opiate addiction treatment.

Suboxone

Methadone Treatment Alternatives

Consider your individual needs and goals for treatment before choosing a methadone alternative.

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and the medication naloxone. Naloxone was developed to stop opiate overdose by sending someone who uses it into immediate withdrawal. However, the dosage of it in Suboxone will not cause withdrawal unless the user attempts to take too much of the Suboxone.

This prevents Suboxone from being used to get high or causing an accidental overdose. This makes Suboxone the safest opiate replacement as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. To find the treatment option that is right for you, call 800-891-9360.

“Cold Turkey”

“Cold turkey” is the popular name for stopping the use of an addictive substance, immediately and completely, without any form of assistance. This method relies on willpower alone to prevent relapse, and is easily the least effective means of ending an opiate addiction.

What’s more, the withdrawal symptoms associated with prolonged or heavy opiate abuse are severe, and may even be life-threatening. The risks are too great, and the rate of success too low, to make this approach viable. Instead, you should seek help from an addiction treatment center.

Medications for Individual Symptoms

Even if replacement therapies are not right for you, there are medications that can ease the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, and make addiction treatment easier and more effective. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these include:

  • anti-diarrhea medications
  • over-the-counter analgesics for pain
  • anti-emetics to combat vomiting
  • anti-anxiety medications
  • antidepressants
  • sleep aids

All of these things can be helpful in easing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and help you to engage in the other aspects of treatment and recovery.

Choosing Between Methadone and Naltrexone

Any Medication and Counseling

All of the experts agree that the most successful outcomes are achieved by treatment programs that use some form of medication combined with counseling and therapy. Detox, itself, is not treatment and there is no cure for opiate addiction, medicinal or otherwise.

The only way to defeat addiction is through intensive counseling and therapy that identifies underlying causes of addiction and helps recovering addicts learn to live without their drug of choice. Medications aid in this process, but are not a solution themselves. Finding the right treatment for you is essential and we can help you do that. Call us at 800-891-9360 today.