Should You Choose Suboxone Or Methadone For Detoxification From Opiates?

If you're struggling with opiate addiction or dependency, you may be trying to decide the best way to go about detoxing and living an opiate-free life. There are several options available to you -- however, each option has its own strengths and weaknesses. Read on to learn more about suboxone and methadone to decide which method is best for you.

What is suboxone?

Suboxone is a combination of two different drugs -- buphrenorphine, which acts as an opiod painkiller, and naloxone, which is used to reverse the negative effects of opiates and other narcotic drugs. Naloxone is often used in emergency rooms to treat opiate and heroin overdoses. When used as part of a long-term plan to treat opiate dependence (rather than used to reverse a one-time emergency overdose), suboxone has been successful in helping opiate addicts kick the habit.

What is methadone?

Methadone is a type of opiate medication that does not produce the euphoric effects of other opiates, and is therefore less habit-forming. It is generally used to help opiate addicts slowly eliminate the opiates from their system without suffering unpleasant withdrawal symptoms (in extreme cases, going cold-turkey from opiates can lead to death). Like suboxone, methadone has been successfully used by many former opiate addicts.

Which method is better for treating opiate dependency?

Both suboxone and methadone have advantages and disadvantages. Both can become habit-forming, just as opiates themselves -- so you should only use these medications under the supervision of a doctor, who can monitor you for signs of dependence.

In general, because suboxone doesn't have any pain-killing effects, it is better for treating recreational opiate use, while methadone is better for treating opiate dependency that has resulted from a reliance on prescription painkillers. By using methadone, patients can still get their needed pain relief while not relying upon opiates.

Suboxone is generally prescribed in pill form -- however, these pills are sub-lingual, meaning they dissolve under your tongue. Even if you have trouble swallowing pills, you should be able to tolerate suboxone. Methadone is generally prescribed in liquid form, and can be mixed in with other drinks to make it more tolerable.

You should not consume alcohol while taking either suboxone or methadone -- this can result in death. You should also be careful not to allow anyone else access to your medication, as it does have addictive properties (more so for those who have not previously struggled with opiate dependency).

Once you've finished your course of suboxone or methadone, if you have remaining medication, dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet. Although this is not recommended for many drugs because of the risk of contaminating the water supply, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified this as a safe way to dispose of these two drugs. For more information contact a local treatment program, like New Life Addiction Counseling Services Inc