Compare Methadone vs. Suboxone

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Methadose
(Methadone)

Suboxone
(Buprenorphine / Naloxone)

Treats severe pain and drug dependence. Methadose (Methadone) works well for moderate to severe pain especially nerve-related and complex pain and is effective for maintenance opioid addiction treatment. You need to be careful with dosing.Treats drug dependence. Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone) works well to reduce cravings and treat opioid dependence. It's most effective if you have an addiction to heroin or short-acting-opioids.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone)
79%
+29% vs. Methadose (Methadone)
64%
11% vs. Methadose (Methadone)
0%
+13% vs. Methadose (Methadone)
Side effects
MethadoneSuboxone

The Methadone FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Methadone side effects »
  • Headache 14%
  • Constipation 9%
  • Sweating 4%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Pain abdomen 4%
  • Pain 3%
  • Vomiting 3%
  • Widening of blood vessels 2%
More Suboxone side effects »
How it works
MethadoneSuboxone
Methadose (Methadone) is an opioid medicine (similar to morphine) that works in the brain to lower pain perception. Because withdrawal from Methadose (Methadone) is slower, takes longer, and is less severe than other opioids, it's used under the care of a doctor to treat opioid addiction.Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone) is a combination medicine with two parts that work together to treat opioid dependence. Buprenorphine is an opioid pain reliever (similar to morphine). Naloxone mildly counteracts the pain reliever, so it's added to prevent overuse or abuse of this medication.
Type of medication
MethadoneSuboxone
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Pain reliever
Opioid partial agonist
Opioid antagonist
Prescription only
Available as
MethadoneSuboxone
  • Pill
  • Dispersable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Powder for solution
  • Pill
  • Sublingual film
  • Dissolving tablet
Used for (click to learn more)
MethadoneSuboxone
Risk factors for serious side effects
MethadoneSuboxone
  • Start of treatment
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Dose changes and higher doses
  • People with not enough thyroid hormones
  • History of lung problems
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Taking drugs that slow or stop breakdown the breakdown of Methadose (Methadone)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • dehydration
  • Taking drugs that lower blood pressure
  • Long-term use of opioids in mother
  • Breastfeeding
  • Children age 18 and younger
  • Taking more than prescribed dose
  • Mixing with alcohol or drugs that interact with Methadose (Methadone)
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Long-term use
  • History of drug abuse or mental illness.
Detailed Methadose (Methadone) risks & warnings »
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • dehydration
  • taking drugs that lower blood pressure
    • Liver disease
    • Hepatitis B and C
    • Taking Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone) with other drugs that cause liver damage
      • Taking with alcohol or other drugs that slow the nervous system
      • Lung disease
        • Long-term use of opioids in mother
        • Breastfeeding while taking Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone)
        • Taking drugs that slow or stop breakdown the breakdown of Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone)
        • Taking with alcohol
        • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
        Detailed Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        MethadoneSuboxone
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        • Don't mix with alcohol or other sedating drugs.
        • Even 1 dose of Methadose (Methadone) can be too much for a child so store out of reach from children. In adults, raising the dose too quickly, high doses or mixing with alcohol or drugs that interact causes overdose and death. If you suspect a child has taken Methadose (Methadone), or an adult has taken too much, watch them for decreased activity, extreme tiredness small pupils, and lips and fingers turning blue from low oxygen. Call 911 or go to a hospital immediately. Doctors can give a medicine that reverses the effects of Methadose (Methadone) until the effects wear off.
        • Like all opioids, it can cause slowed breathing, coma, and death from overdose, especially if you mix with other nervous system depressants like pain medicine or alcohol.
        • Don't mix with alcohol or other sedating drugs.
        • Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone) can cause respiratory depression, coma and death when mixed with alcohol or other drugs that slow the nervous system. Most reports are with people who abused Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone) with other medications by self-injecting without their doctor knowing. People with lung problems should let their doctor know before taking Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone).
        Food
        No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
        • Can make you drowsy and dizzy.
        • Some medicines can affect enzymes that break down Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone). Certain drugs to treat infections, HIV, and seizures can change the amount of Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone) in the body. Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking and if you notice muscle aches, restlessness, anxiety, tearing eyes, runny nose, excessive sweating, yawning or inability to sleep. These may be symptoms of withdrawal.
        Weight
        • Methadose (Methadone) passes into breast milk. Women with a history of long-term opioid use increase the risk of neonatal withdrawal syndrome. Symptoms include irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, tremor and lack of weight gain. Opioid withdrawal in infants is a life-threatening emergency and needs medical help right away.
        • Buprenorphine, one of the medications in Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone) passes into breast milk. Women with a history of long-term opioid use increase the risk of neonatal withdrawal syndrome. Symptoms include irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, tremor and lack of weight gain. Opioid withdrawal in infants is a life-threatening emergency and needs medical help right away.
        Upsides and benefits
        MethadoneSuboxone
        • Relieves pain and treats opioid addiction.
        • Good option for people who don't get pain relief with more-common opioids, have side effects or allergies with other options, or have nerve pain (neuropathic pain).
        • Even low doses are more effective than placebo at treating shooting, burning pain.
        • Less constipating than other opioid medicines to treat pain.
        • Available as a generic medicine.
        • Effective at preventing abuse or misuse in people who are addicted to opioids. Works best for people addicted to short-acting opioids or heroin.
        • Your doctor can adjust the dose to a level that controls withdrawal symptoms until you're stable. Studies show the right dose depends on the person and how the drug works for them.
        • Fewer side effects and drug interactions compared to other similar medicines.
        Downsides and risks
        MethadoneSuboxone
        • Need to use it “around-the-clock for pain control not “as needed”.
        • Even one dose is too much for child or pet and is a medical emergency so store out of their reach.
        • Can cause slowed breathing, coma and death from overdose, especially if you mix with other nervous system depressants.
        • Has a higher risk of affecting heart rate control especially if you have cardiovascular disease (previous heart attack, stroke, fast/uncontrolled heart rate, or irregular heart beat).
        • Can reduce your ability to focus, think, and react so avoid activities that require you to be alert, such as driving a car or operating machinery, until you know how this medicine affects you.
        • Not safe to take if you're pregnant or breast-feeding and can increase the risk of neonatal withdrawal syndrome in women with a history of long-term opioid use.
        • May cause you to become tolerant (more medicine is needed to treat the same pain) and physically dependent if you’ve used it for a while so don’t stop talking it suddenly or you may feel withdrawal symptoms.
        • Can cause your blood pressure drop suddenly if you change positions quickly.
        • Certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines can change the amount of medicine in your body and cause either overdose or withdrawal.
        • Not as good for people who are dependent on long-acting opioids or Methadone because of the risk of a long withdrawal.
        • Like all opioids, it can cause slowed breathing, coma, and death from overdose, especially if you mix with other nervous system depressants like pain medicine or alcohol.
        • You have to be very careful with your dose. Changing the size or strength of a film can affect the amount of drug absorbed into your body, and could cause under- or over-dosing.
        • The film can cause reduced sensation in your mouth, painful burning tongue, or burning mouth syndrome.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        MethadoneSuboxone
        • Long-acting opioid for moderate to severe pain.
        • May not be the best choice for people who have never taken opioids, or who've only taken shorter-acting opioids for pain.
        • May be part of a complete program to reduce opioid dependence.
        • For short-term treatment of opioid dependence, the target dose is 40mg for 2-3 days, then reduced every 2 days.
        • For long-term drug detoxification treatment the dose is increased until withdrawal symptoms stay away for 24 hours.
        • Dosing can vary widely, but for most people the general range is 80-120mg daily.
        • Take exactly as your doctor instructs and don’t take more than you're prescribed.
        • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
        • Constipation is common and may not go away while you're taking this medicine. Drinking lots of water and taking laxatives can help.
        • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't help enough for your pain.
        • If you need to stop taking this medicine, work with your doctor to slowly lower your dose. It'll help you avoid withdrawal symptoms.
        • Careful reduction from your maintenance dose is important. It shouldn't be more than 10% of the total daily dose, reduced every 10 to 14 days.
        • Avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
        • Don't mix with alcohol or other sedating drugs.
        • A doctor should supervise your use of this medication as part of a complete treatment program.
        • Can make you drowsy and dizzy.
        • Suboxone film and Zubsolv tablets have different dosing. Be careful.
        • Drink water before putting the film under your tongue.
        • Don't cut, chew or swallow the film.
        • If you need to stop taking it, work with your doctor to slowly lower your dose. It'll help you avoid withdrawal symptoms.
        • Avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
        • Don't mix with alcohol or other sedating drugs.
        Learn more
        More about MethadoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about SuboxoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert