Methadone and suboxone are the two leading medications available for the treatment of opioid addiction. They are both opioid replacement therapies that, when taken regularly, will prevent an individual from experiencing opioid withdrawal sickness. Suboxone was approved by the FDA in 2002, and this allowed local physicians to begin prescribing Suboxone from their offices to opioid addicted patients seeking help.
This was a landmark achievement in consumer choice and provided people another very useful option for dealing with opioid addiction. To treat a patient with suboxone, a physician must first complete a comprehensive course, and become approved, before being allowed to prescribe the medication.
Since opioid replacement medication by itself addresses only the underlying physiological dependence (but not the related psychological contributors to addiction), patients are required to obtain substance abuse counseling as a part of their suboxone treatment. This additional requirement helps to ensure that patients are receiving education & training in understanding their addiction, and in identifying methods for preventing opioid relapse in the future.
Many suboxone-approved physicians do not provide this supplemental addiction counseling, and will consequently refer their suboxone patients to local providers who offer drug treatment services.
While suboxone and methadone are similar in action, they are unique enough to offer distinctly different advantages. You can review our comparison chart to examine some of the differences between the two medications. Both methadone and suboxone are slow acting, long lasting opioid agonists that bind to the body's opiate receptors. This particular action eliminates opioid withdrawal sickness very effectively, and thus allows individuals to resume their daily lives.
Suboxone is actually a branded medication & product of the pharmaceutical company, Reckitt Benckiser. Suboxone's most common formulations are a tablet or thin film, both of which are held under the tongue until the medication dissolves. Once dissolved, the medication is naturally absorbed through the tissues under the tongue and into the bloodstream. The newer film formulation dissolves somewhat more quickly than the tablet.
Suboxone is generally taken once per day although some patients with a milder opioid dependency may be able to take the medication every other day and remain comfortable. Suboxone does not produce a drug high for tolerant users, and does not interfere with one's daily activities. Many patients report feeling very comfortable while being maintained on suboxone and also during their gradual taper off of the medication.
What is in Suboxone?
Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine (an opioid agonist) is the ingredient that binds to opiate receptors and provides relief by blocking withdrawal symptoms (very similar to methadone). Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of opiates and will cause withdrawal. This seems like a strange paradox having both ingredients in one tablet. However, do not worry. Remember, Suboxone is dissolved and absorbed under the tongue. The antagonist, Naloxone, becomes inert (has no effect) when dissolved under the tongue. So one only experiences the benefit of the Buprenorphine.
Why is Naloxone Added to Suboxone?
Specifically to discourage & prevent injection use of suboxone. Some addicted individuals may try to inject suboxone to obtain a drug high. When they do so, the Naloxone becomes immediately active (since it's being injected directly into the bloodstream), and it brings on sudden withdrawal symptoms making the individual feel very sick. This reinforces a person for using suboxone the proper way (under the tongue), and prevents future attempts at injecting suboxone.
How Do I Know if Suboxone is Right For Me?
This is a great question although a little difficult to answer. Suboxone tends to be effective for a considerable number of people addicted to opioids. Many of those who do well with suboxone are people who have a relatively shorter duration of opioid addiction or whose addiction is based on a comparatively smaller amount of daily opioid use. Heavy opioid users with a longer history of addiction sometimes respond better to methadone. However, there are notable exceptions.
Suboxone has a ceiling effect around 24 mg of medication daily. 24 mg is generally considered to be the dose at which maximum withdrawal relief is provided. For most addicted people, taking more than 24 mg of suboxone will not provide any more additional relief. Methadone has no such ceiling effect and its dosage levels can be raised much higher, consequently providing a greater level of comfort and symptom relief for more severe opioid dependencies.
In conclusion, 8 mg to 24 mg of suboxone may provide excellent relief for someone new to medication-assisted recovery. If they find that suboxone is not strong enough to manage their withdrawal symptoms, then methadone most certainly will since it has no "ceiling effect".
Taper programs aim to stabilize an opioid addicted individual on suboxone for a brief period of time and then taper their dosage down over a 60 to 90 day period. This taper period is not set in stone and can vary depending on the individual's need. The primary goal is to stabilize with suboxone and to then taper off with the end result being complete freedom from opioids and opioid replacement medication. Some patients do very well with a scheduled taper. Other patients may find that tapering is problematic and will switch to a period of maintenance. Maintenance with suboxone is effective and safe, just like with methadone. Upon first entering the market, Suboxone was mostly used for tapering off of opioids. However, it is commonly used today for extended maintenance in similar fashion to methadone.
For more on Suboxone Doctors, read: www.Methadone.us/suboxone-doctors/
More communities across the U.S. are facing the devastation of opioid overdose. The impact on families is profound as they often struggle with questions of “Could we have done more?” and ponder what else must be done to address this growing national epidemic.
Highlighted in the news this week was the heroin overdose death of a Louisville cheerleader and the suspected opioid overdose death of a 27 year old man in North Carolina found slumped behind the wheel of his pick-up truck with an empty bottle of painkillers and a spoon beside him.
Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist and consequently knocks opiates off of the body’s opioid receptor sites thus reversing central nervous system and respiratory depression which are the most dangerous consequences of opioid overdose. In many cases, naloxone quickly restores breathing and allows overdose victims to regain consciousness in a relatively short period of time. Naloxone … Read more
Further validating the merits of opioid treatment using methadone is a recent article by The Canadian Press outlining the findings of Canada’s Medical Health Officer in British Columbia, Dr. Perry Kendall.
Dr. Kendall’s report documents that individuals in opioid substitution therapy are twice as likely to survive compared to those who obtain opioids illegally on the street. Those in opioid addiction therapy were also found to be much more cost effective to society (about $4200 per year for treatment) compared to those with untreated addictions whose costs are estimated to be $45,000 per year collectively in health complications, law enforcement involvement, and other social problems such as loss of income.
The province of British Columbia is currently treating over 15,000 residents for opioid addiction. Their health minister, Terry Lake, is quoted as saying that he was encouraged by the findings in the report and that he knows opioid substitution therapy is not only saving lives, but equates to significant savings … Read more
Methadone is FDA-approved for pain management and the treatment of opioid addiction. Methadone is a relatively safe and highly effective medication when used exactly as prescribed. It is currently in use in the United States and around the world following years of conclusive research on methadone’s efficacy and safety.
It is important for patients receiving methadone to know that it can interact with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines such as xanax, klonopin, valium, and librium as well as similarly acting non-benzodiazepine agents like ambien (a popular sleep aid). When methadone is mixed with these other medications, there is an increased risk of sedation and loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, individuals mixing methadone and other CNS depressants have gone into respiratory failure.
For those who have chosen to receive methadone in an opioid treatment program, they will discover that a proper dose of methadone not only eliminates opiate withdrawal & cravings, but will also block … Read more
The Healing Way is a newly opened opioid treatment facility in Philadelphia, PA offering methadone maintenance and outpatient therapy for opioid addicted individuals. They treat other substance addictions as well.
The clinic dispenses medication every day of the week and provides both individual and group counseling to its patients.
Located at 7900 Frankford Avenue, The Healing Way is conveniently accessed in the northeast Philly area. As their clinic is new, its official website is not yet active but residents of Philadelphia may want to bookmark their site for future reference at www.TheHealingWay.net.
Also recently added to Methadone.US is BHG Recovery’s facility listing in Humble, Texas. BHG is a leading provider of opioid addiction treatment services in eight states. Their Humble treatment facility also serves residents in the Kingwood community and other areas of north Houston, Texas. Note that BHG provide a video overview of their services specific to each of their treatment locations. Viewers can browse more information on … Read more
For residents of the Chesapeake, Virginia area there are two opioid addiction treatment centers that provide opioid replacement medication including methadone and buprenorphine. Methadone.US lists both methadone clinics and independent buprenorphine doctors on each of our city pages. We also feature providers who opt to showcase their particular treatment centers to our online audience by offering an enhanced listing with additional program details.
Affinity Healthcare Group is one such provider. Affinity have outpatient clinics in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia and make available to their patients methadone or suboxone to eradicate painful opioid withdrawal symptoms. Affinity Healthcare Group maintain an excellent, informative website for patients and the public which offers enlightening descriptions of how methadone and suboxone work to facilitate recovery from addiction. The organization operates with a working philosophy to treat all patients with dignity and respect.
Guilford County is the third most populated county in the state of North Carolina. Located within Guilford County are the cities of Greensboro and High Point – both of which are experiencing a surprising increase in opioid addiction and related overdoses.
The High Point Enterprise news reported that the High Point Vice and Narcotics unit has begun to make a favorable impact on the problem with multiple arrests of those trafficking heroin locally. The article documents that 70 reported High Point opioid overdoses have occurred thus far in 2014 with 9 of those ending in death. Six people were arrested the week of July 14 and are being held on multi-million dollar bonds for their roles in selling or trafficking heroin. To emphasize the local impact, the HP Enterprise reported that 7 overdoses occurred within a 24 hour period on May 16, 2014.