There are two popular medications used to treat opiate addictions, Methadone and Suboxone treatment. Both are commonly used across the US as replacements for harmful opiates such as heroin. They work to curb drug cravings and assist in opiate detoxes. While the two are similar, here at Delray Center for Addiction Medicine we prefer Suboxone and this is why.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that was introduced way back in 1947. Since it’s introduction it’s been the most commonly used medication in opiate recovery treatment and detox. It comes in a few brand names such as Dolophine, Methadose, and Diskets.
The main purpose of methadone treatment is to curb opiate cravings and withdrawal symptoms. An advantage of methadone is it’s effective ability to satiate cravings and it’s ability to block the euphoric effects of opiates.
However, methadone has more than a few disadvantages and risks. While it’s safer than other opiates it still carries a high risk of dependence and abuse. Because of the high abuse rate methadone is only dispensed from highly control clinics. Methadone helps more people than it hurts, but many people feel that it’s simply replacing one opiate for another. We often get people who come to us for help withdrawing from methadone, the drug that was supposed to help them with their original opiate addiction.
Suboxone treatment is a relatively newer treatment option for opiate addiction. It’s a brand name for a medication that contains two separate drugs, buphrenorphine and naloxone. Buphrenorphine is a synthesized opiate that binds with the brain’s opiate receptors but does not fully stimulate them like methadone and other opiates do. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication that blocks the effects of opioids. It’s often used to treat overdoses.
Suboxone has a number of advantages over methadone. Because it’s only a partial agonist, it has a ceiling effect meaning the opioid effects will only reach a certain point even if more of the drug is consumed. There is also a significantly lower risk of dependence, abuse, and side effects. This means that suboxone can be prescribed and taken at home.
Here at Delray Center for Addiction Medicine, we use suboxone over methadone for all those reasons. Contact us to learn more!