Suboxone or Methadone – Why One Isn’t Much Better than the Other

Suboxone and methadone are two medications used to treat opioid addiction and dependence. Although which one will likely be more beneficial to you often depends on the severity of your addiction among other aspects, both medications have drawbacks that make them difficult to receive as a treatment and often problematic. Call 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) now to find safe, reliable rehab programs that will help you put an end to your opioid abuse.

Suboxone and Methadone: What’s the Difference?

Suboxone is a brand name medication that contains both buprenorphine (a partial opioid agonist) and naloxone (an opioid antagonist). Together, these drugs are prescribed to minimize withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and allow an addicted individual to receive maintenance treatment that makes it easier for them to live their daily life without the problematic effects of recovery.

Suboxone is meant to be safer in abuse situations because buprenorphine has a ceiling effect and naloxone “can bring on opioid withdrawals” if “the sublingual tablets are crushed and injected” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration).

Suboxone or Methadone

Both Suboxone and Methadone have the potential for abuse.

Methadone treats addiction in a maintenance situation as well, but the drug is an opioid agonist. This means it causes the same effects as other opioids and can create addictive or dangerous side effects if taken in high doses.

However, methadone is often prescribed to those with more intense withdrawal symptoms because optimal doses of this drug are better at treating severe symptoms than the buprenorphine in Suboxone.

Why Are Both Medications Problematic?

One of the most problematic issues associated with both medications is their ability to be diverted to the black market and abused. Methadone is a heavily abused opioid, and even though Suboxone is meant to be less vulnerable to abuse than methadone, its misuse is becoming more common. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “Large percentages of the drug abusing populations in some areas of”

  • France
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Bangladesh
  • Pakistan
  • New Zealand

“have reported abusing buprenorphine by injection and in combination with a benzodiazepine.” For other reasons as well, both medications can create issues for those who take them.

  • Methadone users must receive their medication at a clinic daily, which can be difficult on the individual. While one can receive Suboxone in a doctor’s office, this does leave a bigger chance for abuse. In addition, some individuals have to search everywhere just to find a doctor qualified to prescribed the medication.
  • Both drugs, like any other prescription medication, cause uncomfortable side effects.
  • While there are no severe long-term effects associated with taking either medication, buprenorphine has been known to cause liver problems in some individuals. And, according to the National Library of Medicine, there is a risk of a prolonged QT interval occurring with methadone use (especially if you have a heart condition).

What Should I Do?

The best way to ensure that your treatment will be as safe and effective as possible is to ask your doctor which option will be best for you. We can help you find rehab centers where healthcare professionals will be able to aid you in your journey through recovery and make sure you receive the best treatment options possible for your specific needs. Call 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) now.

What are the Stages of Suboxone Maintenance?


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For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.