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What is the Methadone and Suboxone

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Methadone and Suboxone are synthetic opioid medications that are used to treat patients with opioid dependency or addiction. Methadone is a full opiate agonist and Suboxone is partial opiate agonist, meaning its effects are limited even when taken in large doses.Regardless to if the patient is suffering from heroin addiction or a dependency to prescription opioid medications, both of these medications will help the patient to stop the use of the opioid, gradually stopping the use of the methadone or suboxone, to be clear of any form of opioid medication in the long run.

How Methadone and Suboxone Work

Methadone is a full opioid agonist. It works by the methadone binding with the opiate receptors and mimics the endorphins, preventing the patient from experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Suboxone contains buprenorphine which is a strong analgesic (painkiller) similar to other opioids such as morphine, codeine, and heroin but, it does not produce intense euphoric effects, making it much easier for the patient to stop taking. The buprenorphine in Suboxone works in the brain as a partial opiate agonist, filling opiate receptors in the brain and preventing the patient from experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone is another drug in the Suboxone formula. It is an opiate antagonist that blocks the effects of opioid. Naloxone becomes active in the brain when it is abused (crushed, sniffed or injected) and causes the patient to experience immediate feelings of withdrawal.

Side Effects to Methadone and Suboxone

Methadone can have serious side effects, such as allergic reaction causing hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; shallow breathing; hallucinations or confusion; chest pain, dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat; or trouble breathing, feeling light-headed, or fainting. Other common side effects to Methadone include: feeling anxious, nervous, or restless; insomnia; feeling weak or drowsy; dry mouth; nausea and vomiting; diarrhea; constipation; blurred vision; insomnia; loss of appetite; or sexual impairment. When methadone is taken in combination to alcohol it can increase the affects of the alcohol, this can be extremely dangerous.

Suboxone may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, alcohol, antihistamines, sedatives, other pain relievers, anxiety medicines, and muscle relaxants. It can cause serious side effects like allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat, swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); slow breathing; dizziness or confusion; or liver problems such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark colored urine, light colored stools (bowel movements), decreased appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or lower stomach pain. Soboxone also has other side effects including: nausea and vomiting; drowsiness; dizziness; headache; memory loss; cognitive and neural inhibition; increased perspiration; itchiness, dry mouth, miosis (constriction of the pupil), orthostatic hypotension, sexual impairment, urinary retention.

Both Methadone and Suboxone can be habbit forming and require careful monitoring when used in patients fighting opiate addiction.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Both Methadone and Suboxone have their own advantages and disadvantage when used in the treatment of opioid addiction.

  • Suboxone is much harder for patients to abuse, it is a common medication used in outpatient treatment. Methodone can be abused, this is why patients can not be given this medication to go home with and must return to a clinic or enter into an inpatient treatment program to receive their next dose.
  • Patients suffering from a severe opiate dependency or addiction, can find effective relief from withdrawal symptoms when taking Methadone, while Suboxone does not provide any relief.
  • Suboxone is less addictive than methadone
  • Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are less severe than those from Mathadone.
  • There is a higher risk of fatal overdose with Mathadone than there is with Suboxone.
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