The opioid crisis is real; with 1.9 million people in the United States addicted to opioids, focus on treatment and recovery is more important than ever. Withdrawing from opioid drugs can be very unpleasant, with the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicating agitation, anxiety, muscle aches and tearing, insomnia, sweating, diarrhea, dilated pupils, goosebumps, nausea and vomiting as just a few symptoms people experience. To manage these symptoms, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has approved buprenorphine and methadone as appropriate medications to take for individuals utilizing medically-assisted treatment (MAT).
Previous research has shown that buprenorphine and methadone have been effective in helping with retention in treatment, reduction in opioid use, decreased cravings and improved social function for individuals with opioid addiction. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid medication that is considered a partial opioid agonist, meaning that while it connects with opioid receptors in the brain, it does this to a much lesser degree than other medications might. With this, there is a much lesser risk of overdose with buprenorphine than methadone.
The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment (NAABT) states that this drug provides less euphoria and physical dependence, lower potential for misuse, a ceiling on opioid effects, and a relatively mild withdrawal. Even with the lesser risk, buprenorphine can be dependency forming and addictive, especially if taken more than prescribed. Does this mean that buprenorphine is safer than methadone? Possibly. The difference between it being a partial agonist compared to a full agonist is a key difference and could mean less of a chance of addiction. However, both should be taken with very careful consideration.
Methadone is an opioid medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms and is often taken through tablet form or liquid. Unlike buprenorphine which is a partial agonist, methadone is a full agonist. The NAABT notes that drugs classified as full agonists activate the opioid receptors in the brain, resulting in the full opioid effect. Does this medication sound dangerous? It can be. KSAT News, part of Graham Holdings Corporation, notes that withdrawal from methadone is sometimes more difficult than withdrawal from heroin. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claimed earlier this year that methadone causes slow or shallow breathing and dangerous changes in heartbeat.
If you are addicted to medication and are looking for a treatment center that will work with you to begin your journey to recovery, call us at 866-855-4202 today. New Vista Behavioral Health offers several beautiful treatment centers with the space that you need to focus on yourself. We are client-focused and believe in integrative treatment, meaning that we will support recovery of your mind, body, and spirit. Do not let addiction control you any longer.