Can I Use Suboxone to Get Off of Methadone?

Can I Use Suboxone to Get Off of Methadone

Methadone is a prescription medication used to treat pain conditions and substance use disorders.[1] Whether you received a prescription for methadone for pain or opioid withdrawal, it is possible to become addicted to it. If you take more methadone than you are prescribed, it could cause a euphoric and drowsy high that is habit-forming.

Methadone is an opioid agonist, so it acts on the brain in the same way as other opioids. If you abuse methadone long-term, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. Thankfully, there is an FDA-approved medication that can help you overcome methadone withdrawal known as Suboxone.

Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, containing buprenorphine and naloxone. The naloxone inside of Suboxone will prevent you from getting high, ensuring that you cannot abuse the medication when taking it to treat methadone withdrawal.

What is Methadone?

While methadone is sometimes used to treat chronic pain, you have probably heard of it because of its ability to treat opioid use disorder. When used correctly, methadone can limit withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings, giving people an advantage that is sometimes necessary in early recovery.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), methadone treatment should be a minimum of 12 months, some patients may require long-term maintenance, and patients must work with their doctor to slowly reduce their dose over time.[1]

The reason you must taper off of methadone when getting off of the medication is because you could experience withdrawal symptoms, as dependency is common – especially among long-term users.

Can You Get Addicted to Methadone?

While many people become dependent on methadone during treatment for opioid use disorder, you can become addicted to it as well. If you begin abusing your methadone by taking too much at once or increasing the frequency of your doses, you will eventually develop an addiction. This is why medical detox centers and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs usually only dispense one dose of methadone at once.

The signs of a methadone addiction include:

  • Taking larger doses than you are prescribed
  • Running out of methadone early
  • Taking methadone to experience a high rather than to treat withdrawal symptoms
  • Buying methadone off of the street
  • Going to multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription for methadone
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities and social isolation
  • Continuing to use methadone despite experiencing social, psychological, or physical health concerns
  • Needing a higher dose of methadone to experience the desired effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you cannot use methadone

If you or a loved one experiences the symptoms mentioned above, you are probably suffering from a methadone addiction. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome methadone addiction with the support of a professional drug rehab center.

What are the Symptoms of Methadone Withdrawal?

The symptoms of methadone withdrawal will begin sometime between 24 to 36 hours after your last dose. While the timeline of methadone withdrawal can vary from person to person, most individuals overcome it after 2 to 3 weeks. However, it is possible to continue experiencing lasting psychological symptoms for up to 6 months.

The common symptoms of methadone withdrawal include:[2]

  • Tiredness
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Excessive sweating
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Frequent yawning
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Goosebumps and shivering
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Cravings for methadone

While methadone withdrawal is usually not life-threatening, it can be incredibly difficult to cope with. Because of this, you should always seek support from a medical detox center that can provide you with treatments and medications to control the severity of your symptoms.

Can You Use Suboxone to Get Off of Methadone?

Yes, sometimes Suboxone is used to help people get off methadone.

Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist that contains two ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. The buprenorphine targets opioid receptors to limit withdrawal symptoms and cravings while naloxone prevents other opioids from causing a high.[3] This means that Suboxone causes withdrawal symptoms to be less severe while preventing you from being able to relapse at the same time.

Since Suboxone does not get you high, it is safe to use it to make the methadone withdrawal process run smoothly. Of course, it should always be used in combination with other addiction treatment methods like evidence-based behavioral therapies, group counseling, aftercare services, and more.

Find Help Today

If you or a loved one suffers from methadone addiction, it’s time to consider professional treatment. While the first step in recovering from methadone addiction is medical detox, you should also plan to transition into an inpatient treatment center that can offer you a combination of Suboxone, individual therapy, group counseling, and aftercare support..

Thankfully, Moving Mountains Recovery Center can offer you all of that and more. To learn more about our addiction treatment program, contact us today.

References:

  1. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): What is Methadone, Retrieved December 2023 From https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders/medications-counseling-related-conditions/methadone
  2. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Opioid Withdrawal, Retrieved December 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526012/
  3. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Buprenorphine, Retrieved December 2023 From https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders/medications-counseling-related-conditions/buprenorphine
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