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Advantages/Disadvantages of Suboxone/Subutex in comparison to Methadone

Sep 30, 2008 - 1 comments

Methadone:   Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex):


Allows addict to avoid withdrawal symptoms (at least temporarily)
Allows addicts to obtain medication in a safe, clinical environment as opposed to the streets
Eliminates health risks, such as those associated with IV administration
Dose can be controlled, and gradually reduced
Methadone is usually relatively cheap

Methadone is highly addictive
Some claim this is simply trading one addiction for another
Often, social and psychological issues are not addressed
Some people may remain on methadone indefinitely
Withdrawal from methadone lasts longer than withdrawal from heroin or oxycodone
Withdrawal from methadone can be just as intense
Many people have to visit a clinic everyday to get their medicine because of restrictions

Allows addict to avoid withdrawal symptoms (at least temporarily)
Allows addicts to obtain medicine in a safe, clinical environment as opposed to the streets
Eliminates health risks, such as those associated with IV administration
Dosage is controlled, and can be easily reduced
Usually only monthly visits are required
High binding affinity to opioid receptors causes a blockade rendering other opioids ineffective
Naloxone (only present in Suboxone) is used to deter people from injecting the drug, and is said to precipitate withdrawal if used in this manner.
There is very little, if any, euphoria associated with this drug
Withdrawal is not as intense

Buprenorphine is highly addictive
Some claim this is simply trading addictions
Often, social and psychological issues are not addressed
Withdrawal can last two weeks, though it is not as intense as withdrawal from a full opioid agonist
Buprenorphine therapy is very expensive

III. Miracle Cures for Addiction Do Not Exist

The facts listed above are intended to help guide anyone who is seeking some sort of opioid replacement treatment, whether maintenance or detoxification. It's extremely easy to look at all the facts, and scare yourself out of attempting to quit; however, this is exactly what our addicted mind wants us to do. We will convince ourselves somehow, someway, that we need to stay on drugs, that we are "better off" on opioids. Whether taking Suboxone or methadone, the body is still dependent on opioids, but it can make all the difference in the world -- if you really, really want it. Neither drug will work wonders by itself. Recovery is a process that requires constant tuning and retuning, reflection, effort, persistence, and knowledge. Coupled with a good drug counselor, support group meetings (whether Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery), and a positive attitude, methadone or buprenorphine can help pave the road to a drug-free life.

IV. "Don't meth it up, get subport!"

"Don't meth it up, get subport!"

I have heard horror stories from people coming off both these drugs; however, I have never heard a horror story about Suboxone that compares with coming off of heroin or methadone cold turkey. I will admit that I do possess a bias when it comes to which drug I believe is the better candidate for addiction treatment. I used Suboxone to help break old habits, and it definitely prevented a relapse or two! I won't sit here, and list the advantages and disadvantages because they are already listed above, but I will say one thing: don't ever get on methadone! If possible, don't use either drug. Long-acting opioids are very tough to withdrawal from, and if you can stick it out for a week without using any opioids, you will be much better off.

I've heard of a lot of people who start Suboxone, and end up being on it for six months or even two years. That's way too long! An eight week program (or less) should be more than sufficient to reduce withdrawal symptoms to a bearable level. During those eight weeks, the patient should be involved in an intensive outpatient program. An intensive outpatient program usually includes going to support groups three times a week, seeing a psychiatrist (as needed), and talking with a drug counselor. If the root problems, those which (a) led to drug use, were (b) exacerbated drug use, (c) hidden by drug use, and/or (d) caused by drug use, are not acknowledged, and fixed, the patient will find themselves in a neverending cycle of misery and despair.

V. "We all got belly buttons, but yours looks funny!"

Methadone will help some people, and buprenorphine will help others. Every human being has a unique body chemistry, and some may tolerate one drug better than another. Before making any decision, talk to people, and find out what worked for them. I recommend talking to people who are clean, for they obviously did something right. Do research. Read the "Prescribing Information" for each drug. Talk to people in support forums online. Read stories... you get the picture. Before deciding on anything, educate yourself, and remember, without any extra effort/support these drugs will do nothing

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by LandofCotton, Oct 31, 2010
I have been addicted to opiates for 14 yrs now.I am a 35 yr old male.I started off on Lortabs,percocet,etc.... and then on to IV Dilaudid and Oxycontin,mostly Dilaudid and got on methadone in 1999 and it helped tremedously ,back then there was no suboxone/subutex.Over the next 11 yrs i have gone COLD TURKEY off 120mg of methadone twice and off80mg about 3 times(not by choice,but by finances and transpotation issues).I tried suboxone twice and both times it gave me a VERY awkward feeling and a headache out of this world,maybe i have been on methadone for too long and i am now on the lowest dose of methadone ever,40-50mg a day. I have been to 15 rehabs for addiction over 12 yrs and have never had 60 days clean in my life.I have tried to get clean so many times and the ONLY thing that even got close was methadone.I believe that if back when i was just eating tabs and percs,the subs would have helped but after 11 yrs of methadone i honestly believe i will be on this medication the rest of my life and i also believe that NOTHING will help u stay clean like getting older and growing up,and i believe that its something that just happens without u knowing it,it took me just being blessed by not dying to get older and just too tired to RUN and GUN like i use to.With that being said i hope that all addicts find a way to just hold on and hopefully you will make it,i did and i owe no one except GOD.

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