Learning the Difference Between Methadone and Suboxone

It’s estimated that nearly 2 million people in America are addicted to prescription opioids. Opioid addiction is a national crisis that costs 128 people their lives every day and the United States 78.5 billion per year. At Vulcan Pain Management, we know that overcoming addiction is a real challenge, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Dr. Victor Mendoza, and our dedicated team here in Birmingham, Alabama, offers several therapies to help you decrease and eliminate your dependence on addictive drugs like heroin, codeine, oxycodone, and Vicodin.  


If you or your loved one is suffering from addiction, you must find the right treatment. While methadone and suboxone are two of the most common medications that doctors use to treat opioid addiction and help you return to a productive and quality life, there are some essential differences that you should know about.

What is suboxone?

In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of suboxone to treat opioid addiction. Suboxone is made up of two active medications: naloxone and buprenorphine. Let’s take a closer look at how these two components help break an addiction.


Buprenorphine is known as a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it helps the addict’s brain weather withdrawal by softening its effects. One of the reasons buprenorphine makes suboxone so effective is that it has a renowned ceiling effect, which limits the feeling it provides and helps minimize the chance of dependency.


Naloxone is a medication that doctors prescribe to block or reverse the effects of opioids. In cases of overdose, naloxone is the treatment of choice.

What is methadone?

Methadone is a top-choice opioid replacement drug that’s been in use since 1937. It works by altering how your brain reacts to pain and vastly decreasing painful withdrawal symptoms.

How are methadone and suboxone different?

If you receive methadone, you have to go to an approved clinic and take the dosage in the presence of your provider. It’s administered orally or by injection. If you do well over time, you may transition to taking the medication at home and checking in at the clinic monthly. Suboxone is a prescription medication that you can take on your own. It’s administered as a film that you place under your tongue to dissolve.


While both medications have a long history of helping men and women overcome addiction, methadone is also extremely addictive and requires extreme caution.  Dr. Mendoza solely uses suboxone because it is so effective, and there is far less risk for misuse.

If you or someone you love can benefit from suboxone therapy, call the office to learn more or request an appointment online.

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