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Suboxone vs Methadone

Addiction, overdose, exposure to diseases spread by the sharing of needles, like HIV and Hepatitis C, are just some of the risk associated with opiate abuse such as Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, Vicodin, Oxycodone and Dilaudid.

Suboxone and Methadone are used to treat patients who are addicted to opiates. Both are synthetic opioids. Suboxone is partial opiate agonist, which means its effects are limited even when taken in large doses. Methadone is a full opiate agonist. The active ingredient in Suboxone is Buprenorphine, while Methadone is the name of the chemical that is the active ingredient in the drug of the same name.

Methadone has been used for decades in the treatment of Heroin addiction as a way to keep addicts in treatment, avoid withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of sharing needles. Suboxone was first introduced in 2000, when it became legal to administer maintenance medication in an office-based setting, rather than only in a regulated treatment clinic.

-For people with heavy opiate habits and serious addiction, Suboxone cannot provide effective relief from withdrawal symptoms. Methadone works better for such individuals.
-Suboxone is much harder to abuse, so patients are allowed to take it home. But Methadone can be abused, so patients need to travel to a clinic each day to take their medication.
-Suboxone is less addictive than Methadone.
-Withdrawal symptoms of Suboxone detox are generally less severe than Methadone detox.
-The risk of a fatal overdose with Suboxone is lower than with Methadone.

Suboxone diminishes the discomfort of withdrawal and reduces powerful the drug cravings opiate addicts experience, which often make it difficult to stay clean. It might seem strange to treat drug addicts with addicting drugs, and there has been a long-standing controversy in the treatment field about whether using Methadone to treat Heroin addiction is simply trading one drug for another.

Opiate dependence is unique in that the brain adapts to these drugs in a way that make the user highly susceptible to relapse. Suboxone and Methadone occupy the receptors in the brain that would otherwise be occupied by the personís drug of choice.

Itís important to understand that people following a prescribed Methadone maintenance program or using Suboxone as directed by their physician are not getting high from these drugs. They are able to function at work and home. Methadone is typically administered in liquid form while Suboxone tablets are dissolved under the tongue.

Suboxone contains an ingredient that discourages users from dissolving the tablet and injecting it. If they did so, they would go into immediate withdrawal. If someone stops using Methadone or Suboxone, they will have withdrawal symptoms, but symptoms are less severe with Suboxone.

Some recovering addicts stay on Methadone indefinitely. They visit a licensed clinic every day to receive their dose. Suboxone is typically used only in the intensive phase of treatment to avoid withdrawal and reduce cravings to the person can succeed in treatment. However, some people do receive Suboxone from their doctor and take it at home. It lasts longer in the body than methadone, so itís taken less frequently.

Methadone is very inexpensive, making it a viable option even for those without insurance or limited resources. Some Methadone clinics offer financial assistance as well. Suboxone, however, is more expensive. Those who take it while in an outpatient program or at home under the care of a doctor will need to have insurance or the means to pay for it.

Drug addiction is typically a failed attempt to self-medicate by people who have gone through traumatic events in their lives that they are unable to deal with. Addiction is devastating to every aspect of a personís life. Recovery, therefore, must address healing of the damage caused by addiction, as well as the mental and emotional root causes that caused the addiction in the first place.

Using a medication such as Methadone or Suboxone to aid in the recovery process can be part of a treatment plan, but support groups, counseling and making changes in oneís life to ensure recovery are also necessary. Otherwise, it would be simply substituting one drug for another.

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