Compare methadone vs. Butrans

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

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Methadose (methadone)

Prescription only

Butrans (buprenorphine)

Prescription only
Treats severe pain or drug dependence.

Methadose (methadone) is a cheap and effective treatment for severe chronic pain, but has serious risks for fatal overdose and drug dependence.

Treats severe pain around the clock.

Butrans (buprenorphine) is effective for treating severe pain around-the-clock, but it has a high potential for abuse and misuse.

Upsides
  • Available as a cheap, generic version.
  • One of the stronger opioid medicines for treatment of severe pain.
  • Can also be used to treat opioid dependence as part of a complete recovery program.
  • Butrans (buprenorphine) comes in a patch form and only needs to be changed once every 7 days.
  • Butrans (buprenorphine) works around-the-clock to help relieve pain.
  • The Butrans (buprenorphine) patch can be applied on up to 8 different areas of the body.
Downsides
  • Methadose (methadone) can cause slowed breathing, coma, and death from overdose, especially if mixed with alcohol, sleeping pills, or muscle relaxants.
  • Constipation is a common side effect of Methadose (methadone) and you might need laxatives or stool softeners.
  • Not a good option for short-term pain relief.
  • Butrans (buprenorphine) takes about half a day to start kicking in.
  • Butrans (buprenorphine) has a high potential for misuse and abuse.
  • Butrans (buprenorphine) can cause life-threatening breathing problems, even when used at the correct dose.
  • Older people shouldn't take Butrans (buprenorphine) due to its effects on blood pressure.
  • Other pain relievers may be needed for breakthrough pain.
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Used for
  • Pain management
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Patch
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
The Methadose (methadone) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
15possible side effects
  • Nausea
    21%
  • Application site itchiness
    15%
  • Dizziness
    15%
  • Headache
    14%
  • Sleepiness
    13%
  • Constipation
    13%
  • Vomiting
    9%
  • Application site redness
    7%
  • Application site rash
    6%
  • Dry mouth
    6%
  • Tiredness
    5%
  • Excessive sweating
    4%
  • Accumulation of fluid in arms and legs
    3%
  • Itching
    3%
  • Stomach discomfort
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Death from lack of oxygen to the body (respiratory depression)
    • Start of treatment
    • Age 65 or greater
    • Dose changes and higher doses
  • Heart problems (arrhythmia)
    • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking Methadose (methadone) with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Death from overdose
    • Children age 18 and younger
    • Taking more than prescribed dose
    • Mixing with alcohol or drugs that interact with Methadose (methadone)
  • Abuse, tolerance, and addiction
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Long-term use
    • History of drug abuse or mental illness
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Potential for addiction, abuse, and misuse
    • Personal or family history of substance abuse
    • History of mental illness
  • Life-threatening effects on breathing
    • Children
    • Those who overdose on Butrans (buprenorphine)
    • Use with other medications that slow down breathing
  • Harm to fetus or newborn baby
    • Pregnant women who use Butrans (buprenorphine) for a long period of time
  • Interactions with other medicines
    • Taking other medications that also cause sleepiness and/or slow down breathing
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Risk of possible overdose and death
    • Exposure to the sun or an external source of heat for a long period of time
See more detailed risks and warnings