Methodone or Suboxone? Which Drug is Better for Treating Opiate Addiction?

Many people who suffer from addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers may consider going on medical treatment of addiction such as methadone or suboxone. Before considering going on methadone or suboxone, it’s a good idea to be well informed and to take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each drug.


Methadone has been used since the 1960s, and it is considered an opiate agonist, which means that it actually stimulates the parts of the brain that are affected by addiction to opiates. One of the biggest advantages is that physicians have studied methadone extensively and understand how it works and how patients may respond to it.

There are positive aspects to methadone. It is a positive thing for many addicts who are otherwise unable to stop using heroin or other opiates. It also is an effective pain medication for some patients. However, there are also negative to consider. It can cause unwanted side effects, like sexual dysfunction, constipation, and weight gain. Also, if the patient is a low enough dose of methadone, he or she can still use other opiates. In many states, the only way to get methadone is to go to a methadone clinic where there are many other addicts who may become bad influences on those who are trying to stay in recovery.


Unlike methadone, suboxone combines an opioid agonist with an antagonist like Naloxone. The antagonist makes it more difficult or even impossible for the patient to use other opiates. For this reason, relapse is less likely with suboxone.

There are many positive and negative aspects of taking suboxone. For example, suboxone is a much newer drug, and it has not been studied for nearly as long. On the other hand, it is not necessary to attend a clinic every day to get suboxone, which can make it easier for addicts to stay in recovery.

It should be noted that while methadone and suboxone are effective for many people, it can be nearly impossible to get off of either substance. Some people feel they have just substituted one drug for another. Before you make the decision to go on methadone or suboxone, it’s important to consider all aspects of these drugs and to be well informed.

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