Comparing & Contrasting Treatment Drugs: Methadone vs Suboxone
Methadone has been around for an extended period of time. I believe in the beginning the initial intent of using methadone was not for treatment but was to decriminalize the effects of those who have the addiction component in terms of they were needed to engage in criminal activity in order to get their drugs. Methadone was a legalized initial component of treatment. So, methadone is a full agonist which means it activates mu receptors and there is no plateau in using methadone. Once an individual is on methadone, they are going to have to continue on methadone for an extended period of time.
Suboxone is a partial agonist, which means there is a plateau and once the secondary neurotransmitter capacity is full – it does not activate mu receptors any longer. Consequently, buprenorphine with a half-life of about 52-56 hours is an extremely effective drug in assisting people to overcome both the withdrawal and a maintenance dose of using a medication until such time that they get stable. Both of them can be components of medically assisted treatment. However, we believe that suboxone is far superior to methadone because it is a partial agonist and there is a ceiling effect with suboxone.