Is Suboxone The Same As Methadone?

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No, although they share many similarities, Suboxone is not the same as methadone. Methadone is the generic version of the following brand-named medications: Dolophine, Methadone HCI Intensol, and Methadose. It is a medication, that according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is “approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT), as well as for pain management.” It is a synthetic (man-made) opioid agonist that works by interacting with opioid receptors in one’s brain and nervous system, which results in a complete block of the euphoric high that occurs from opioid drug use, reduced cravings, and suppresses withdrawal symptoms. Due to a shortage of morphine during World War II, German scientists developed methadone. Not long after it was introduced into the United States in 1947. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled methadone as a Schedule II Substance, which is “drugs, substances, or chemicals [that] are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Methadone comes in several forms such as oral solution, oral tablet, injectable solution, oral concentrate, and an oral dispersible tablet (must be dissolved in liquid prior to ingesting). When used to treat substance use disorder, it can be introduced at different points during one’s recovery process. 

Suboxone is a brand-name medication that is comprised of buprenorphine and naloxone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Suboxone in 2002 exclusively for the treatment of opioid dependence and opioid addiction, and according to American Addiction Centers, is “as an induction agent to stabilize someone in withdrawal during the medical detoxification process as well as for maintenance treatment to promote recovery from opioid use disorder.” Suboxone comes in an oral film that is intended to be placed under one’s tongue or between one’s cheek and gums to dissolve. The generic version of Suboxone also comes in a sublingual (dissolvable under one’s tongue) tablet. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified Suboxone as a Schedule III controlled substance, which is defined as “drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” Suboxone is an opioid partial agonist. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist which means it works by partially binding to one’s opioid receptors and expelling any existing opioids and prohibiting any others from attaching. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist and works by counteracting the effects of opioids on one’s brain and nervous system. Suboxone produces minimal opioid effects, which much like methadone, enables it to significantly reduce adverse withdrawal symptoms and decrease drug cravings. Although methadone and Suboxone are both narcotics, they differ in their chemical makeup. Additionally, methadone is FDA approved and used to treat chronic pain and opioid addiction, whereas Suboxone is only approved to treat opioid dependence and opioid use disorder.

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at 

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