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Comparing Suboxone With Methadone In The Context Of Heroin Detox Treatment

Sep 3, 2008
Both methadone and buprenorphine have been recommended qualified treatment programs for heroin detox since a long time. Methadone has run for a really long innings, because it has been used for about thirty years now, while the use of buprenorphine is just about ten years old in most states of America. However, the popularity of buprenorphine as a medication for heroin detox treatment has increased by leaps and bounds in the last few years, especially because the FDA approved Suboxone, a formulation containing buprenorphine for heroin detox treatment in the US.

Suboxone contains mainly buprenorphine in combination with another substance known as naloxone. Both of these have a very specific action on the person's body. Buprenorphine is known to remove the temptation of heroin from the body and mind of the person quite effectively. This is because buprenorphine itself is an opiate like heroin and it has almost the same effect on the person's brain as heroin has.

But what is an advantage for buprenorphine here is that it is not as addictive as heroin. Hence, when the treatment provider sees that the administering of buprenorphine is slowly reducing the dependency of heroin from the person's mind, they will lower the dosage of buprenorphine. However, there is still a remote possibility that the person might get addiction to buprenorphine and might experience a withdrawal when the amount prescribed might be reduced.

This is where Suboxone proves to be better than pure buprenorphine (used in medications such as Subutex). Suboxone has naloxone in it. This helps by causing a strong withdrawal if taken in excess. Fearing the strong withdrawal, the person will not consume an excess amount of Suboxone. That is the result the chances of a person abusing Suboxone are quite less.

Now, the same cannot be said about methadone. Methadone is very addictive. It acts on the same principle as buprenorphine does, but the fact that it is quite habit-forming makes it difficult to administer it in an outpatient format. Even if an outpatient methadone treatment is provided, the center needs to be federally approved and the patient will need to check in everyday so that the treatment providers can monitor their condition and alter doses if the need arises.

It is therefore not unjustified that more and more people are turning towards Suboxone treatment. This substance has a very low possibility of being abused due to the presence of the deterring substance naloxone in it.

Heroin detox treatment with Suboxone is actually so simple that patients can just carry this substance home from the physician's office, under their prescription. They will not need a constant monitoring of their condition too. Though not advisable, there are people who self-administer Suboxone and even alter doses as they deem fit. This should not be done, but it indicates that Suboxone is a simpler form of treatment than methadone is.

Suboxone is considered to be a maintenance medication. What this means is, as long as the person is kept on Suboxone treatment, there are very less chances that they will revert to their opiate addiction. But the moment the Suboxone treatment is stopped or stalled, there is a possibility of relapse. Because Suboxone is a form of maintenance medication, it becomes important to use the right kind of dosage. However, this is where the big benefit with Suboxone lies. Due to the special formulation present in it, it is possible to keep the dosages flexible and still the drug will have its effect.

Suboxone is a substance meant for oral consumption. The drug is meant to be just kept under the tongue from where it is automatically dissolved and mixed into the body. The amount of naloxone is adjusted to such a degree that it does not cause withdrawal in the person. If the person were to take more of Suboxone, there would be a great possibility that the person might get addicted to it. However, if the person oversteps the prescribed amount of Suboxone, the amount of naloxone entering their body will increase too and they might experience a withdrawal process.

Thus, you can say that there is a mechanism in Suboxone that actually prevents any recreational use of the substance. This can definitely not be said about methadone treatment. There is actually a very high chance that a person will get addicted to methadone, while the chances of a person getting addicted to Suboxone are almost nil.

You must make sure you understand the effects of both Suboxone and methadone in heroin detox treatment before you plan on either one. The Internet can be a big help for you in this.
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