Methadone has been used for decades to treat people with opioid use disorder. Methadone tricks the brain into thinking it’s still getting the abused opioid drug without getting high. As a result you can feel normal without the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of drugs like heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Methadone is given every day under the supervision of a physician. After a period of stability, patients may be allowed to take methadone at home between program visits. Methadone itself can be addictive, so it must be used exactly as prescribed by the doctor. When taken as prescribed, it is safe and effective.
Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. It offers several benefits to patients with opioid addiction whom a methadone clinic is not preferred or is less convenient. Three phases of Suboxone treatment include: induction, stabilization and maintenance.
Suboxone works to lower the potential for overuse and diminishes the effects of withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Suboxone is less effective than optimal-dose methadone, and may not be the treatment of choice for individuals with severe opioid dependency.
Naltrexone blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. It works differently in the body than buprenorphine (Suboxone) and methadone, which activate opioid receptors to suppress cravings. Naltrexone binds and blocks opioid receptors to reduce opioid cravings. There is no abuse and diversion potential with naltrexone. The injectable extended-release form of the drug (Vivitrol) is administered once a month.
Naloxone (Narcan) rapidly binds to opioid receptors, blocking opioids from activating them. An appropriate dose of naloxone acts in less than two minutes to reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone can be used on both adults and children and can be administered by first responders, family members, or caregivers.