Methadone Therapy Alternatives

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated July 21, 2014

Methadone Therapy Alternatives

Northbound Treatment Services has more than 25 years experience in providing treatment programs for those with opiate addictions and other prescription drugs. We understand the overwhelmingly addictive and devastating properties of heroin and opiate drug abuse. In our effort to support those seeking information and support on heroin, oxycodone or other opiate drug addiction and abuse, Northbound Treatment Services has provided an informative guide on the effects of these drugs. Below are facts about heroin abuse, addiction, symptoms and risks as well as Methadone and Suboxone detox and treatment.

Methadone Alternatives

Methadone has been used to treat heroin addiction for decades. It allows heroin users to detox from the drug without experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. However, as heroin users have turned to methadone to treat withdrawal symptoms, methadone addiction has become a growing problem. Although methadone alleviates the physical withdrawal symptoms to help end drug use, it has several disadvantages. One of the most detrimental effects is that it is highly addictive.

Many people who undergo treatment for heroin addiction using methadone detox become addicted to methadone as well. Methadone addiction is similar to that of heroin, morphine, Vicodin and other opiate drugs. It produces the same sense of euphoria as other opiate drugs. In addition, the FDA has issued warnings of the potentially lethal side effects of the drug. Those who attempt to stop using methadone abruptly experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Some patients have stated that methadone withdrawal is worse than that of heroin.

Due to its similarity to heroin, methadone has become a popular recreational drug. The number of methadone prescriptions increased by 700 percent between 1998 and 2006. Some methadone users have been known to sell drugs that are prescribed to them to obtain money for heroin. This has added to the supply of methadone that is used and sold illegally. This has led to many methadone maintenance programs requiring addicts to obtain their prescriptions on a daily basis. In some cases, the patient must swallow the medication while being observed.

There is an alternative to methadone treatment that can free recovering heroin addicts from the cycle of addiction. Fortunately, drugs are now available that can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms that arise from heroin detox without trading one addiction for another. Buprenorphine inhibits cravings by attaching to opiate receptors. Since it doesn’t produce the same euphoria as full opioid agonists, the potential for abuse is much less. Buprenorphine is the active ingredient in Suboxone which was approved for treatment of opiate addictions by the FDA in 2002. Another active ingredient in Suboxone is Naloxone. It is a pure opioid antagonist and discourages intravenous use or dissolving the tablets by producing withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine has become a widely accepted methadone alternative. It is viewed as much safer and has a dosage ceiling that limits the euphoric effects. Suboxone drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to detox from methadone. It is the first drug used to treat opiate dependence approved for dispensing from a physician’s office. This enables many individuals to treat their addictions from home without interrupting their daily lives.

Northbound Treatment Services can help individuals overcome methadone dependence and addiction. They understand that no two individuals are the same and offer customized treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs. Patients are treated by caring staff members in a comfortable environment. Northbound treats drug addictions as well as underlying causes such as co-occurring mental illnesses simultaneously. A variety of therapies and classes provide patients with coping and daily living skills to help them return to being productive members of society.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.