What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the first opioid medication approved under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000, a federal law for the treatment of opioid dependence in an office-based setting. Suboxone also can be dispensed for take-home use, just as any other medicine for other medical conditions.

The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is “buprenorphine.”

Because buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, its opioid effects are limited compared with those produced by full opioid agonists, such as oxycodone or heroin. SUBOXONE also contains naloxone, an opioid antagonist.

How Does Suboxone Maintenance Work??

The naloxone in SUBOXONE is there to discourage people from dissolving the tablet and injecting it. When SUBOXONE is placed under the tongue, as directed, very little naloxone reaches the bloodstream, so the patient feels only the effects of the buprenorphine. However, if naloxone is injected, it can cause a person dependent on a full opioid agonist to quickly go into withdrawal.

SUBOXONE at the appropriate dose may be used to:

  • Stop or reduce illicit opioid use
  • Help patients stay in treatment using ancillary tools by:

SUBOXONE at the appropriate dose may be used to:

  • Decreasing cravings for opioids
  • Discouraging IV misuse/abuse

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a legal medication produced by licensed pharmaceutical companies using quality control standards. Under a physician’s supervision, it is administered orally on a daily basis with strict program guidelines. When the methadone dosing level is properly adjusted and stable, it should not have adverse effects on mental capability, intelligence, and employability; nor does it interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car. Patients are able to feel pain and experience emotional reactions. Most importantly, methadone relieves the craving associated with opiate addiction. For methadone patients, typical street doses of opioids are ineffective at producing euphoria, making the use of opioids less desirable.

Methadone is a long-acting opioid* medication that is used for pain relief and when combined with counseling and psychosocial services may be used to treat opioid addiction. Methadone is a rigorously well-tested medication that is safe and efficacious for the treatment of narcotic withdrawal and dependence. For more than 50 years this synthetic narcotic has been used to treat opioid addiction.

How Does Methadone Maintenance Work?

  • Methadone helps normalize your body’s neurological and hormonal functions that have been impaired by the use of heroin or the abuse of other short-acting opioids.
  • Methadone reduces or eliminates craving for opiate drugs.
  • Prevents onset of withdrawal for 24 hours or more.
  • Blocks the euphoric (rush or high) effects of other opioids
  • Promotes improvement in physical and emotional health
  • Improves overall quality of life.

Consequently, methadone patients do not experience the extreme highs and lows that result from the waxing and waning of opiates in blood levels. Ultimately, the patient remains physically dependent on the opioid, but is freed from the uncontrolled, compulsive, and disruptive behavior seen in opiates addicts.

Methadone produces no serious side effects, although some patients experience minor symptoms such as constipation, water retention, drowsiness, skin rash, excessive sweating, and changes in libido. Once methadone dosage is stabilized, these symptoms usually subside.

*Opioids are a group of drugs that work on the central nervous system. They include: codeine, morphine, heroin as well as synthetic drugs such as oxycodone, oxycontin, hydrocodone and methadone.