Difference Between Methadone and Suboxone (With Table)

Chronic pain tends to be the time of pain that usually lasts for a long time. Methadone and Suboxone are both opioids, which are a kind of strong medication that is mostly prescribed to help relieve such chronic pain. One must be careful because even though they are efficacious, such medications can also develop a habit that will further lead to addiction or too much depiction whenever in pain. Methadone and suboxone are both very effective painkillers.

Methadone vs Suboxone

The difference between methadone and suboxone is that despite being medications to treat chronic pain, methadone helps over opioid addiction, but suboxone is approved or subscribed medication to treat opioid dependence. Moreover, methadone is a generic drug, whereas Suboxone is the brand name of the medication buprenorphine or is known as naloxone.

Methadone comes with a lot of benefits to relieve chronic pain. The effects of methadone are usually gradual and mild, which results in making this drug a safer replacement for opioids of abuse during treatment. Methadone is available in the form of an oral tablet and solution, sometimes oral concentration with injections, which help in relieving the dependence. Dependence means when your body physically adapts to a drug and can tolerate it.

Suboxone often comes as an oral film which is a synthetic opioid. It was created with the primary purpose of helping to fight addiction and proposed its generic name as buprenorphine-naloxone as it has a ratio of 8:2 of each. The main purpose is to block the effects of opioids, which are taken for chronic pain but end up developing dependence.

Comparison Table Between Methadone and Suboxone

Parameters of Comparison Methadone Suboxone 
Generic Name The generic name of methadone is methadone. The generic name of suboxone is buprenorphine-naloxone
Brand Name Dolophine, Methadone HCl Intensol, Methadose are the brand names of methadone. Suboxone, Bunavail, Zubsolv are the brand name. 
Treats whatChronic pain and opioid addiction are treated by methadone.Opioid dependence is treated by Suboxone.
ApprovedEven though methadone helps in releasing opioid addiction but it is not an approved medication. Suboxone is an approved and prescribed medication to deal with opioid dependence. 
Side EffectsSide effects of methadone are drowsiness, irregular heartbeat, seizures, etc. Side effects of suboxone are headache, insomnia, vomiting, etc. 

What is Methadone? 

Methadone has the generic name of methadone and comes in the form of oral tablets, oral solutions, etc. Usually, methadone has effects that are usual and mild. A safe replacement of the drug in place for other opioids of abuse is created during the treatment. However, methadone is only approved to treat chronic pain and get relief, and that is why it is available at some pharmacies, but not all.

Methadone is said to occupy the opioid receptor, which extends sites in the brain. This incident prevented people taking it from coming into contact with other opioids such as heroin. Moreover, the sudden onset of uncomfortable opioid withdrawal symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, will eventually help stop them. Once a withdrawal is managed, and it allows users to focus on the development of therapeutic motivation for addiction treatment.

It also addresses any underlying issues that might lead to their misuse of opioids. This eventuality is why methadone is known as a complete opioid agonist. The meaning of methadone being an agonist of opioids means that it will bind to the opioid receptors inside the brain and then activate it. This issue only produces a chemical reaction, making users vulnerable to dependence.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is like methadone and is categorized as a synthetic opioid. Many similar drugs have been made to relieve pain directly in the first place, but unlike them, suboxone is used first to control dependence. This fact is because it was discovered later to have an effect in regard to opioid dependence. Hence, Suboxone was created with the main implementing goal to help to fight the addiction for users and not just the pain.

Suboxone has a generic name as buprenorphine-naloxone, which is why the drug is made with 80 percent buprenorphine and 20 percent naloxone. It also has a partial opioid agonist, which makes Suboxone block the effects of opioids. It works in a strategic way, and here is how. When one takes the Suboxone, buprenorphine, it ties to the effector inside the brain and activates them. This is done only to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

The naloxone, on the other hand, slabs the effect of opioids and helps in keeping the body from reminiscing any high effects. This is why certain studies show that Suboxone is said to have a positive effect on the lives of the users who are recovering from opioid addiction. It is, therefore, believed that Suboxone plays an integral role in keeping those users away from opioid abuse.

Main Differences Between Methadone and Suboxone

  1. Methadone has a generic name known as Methadone itself, which is a name derivation. On the other hand, Suboxone has a generic name known as buprenorphine-naloxone.
  2. Methadone is known to treat chronic pain and opioid addiction but is not always a prescribed medication. Suboxone is known to treat opioid dependence and is an approved medication.
  3. Methadone is an effective painkiller to deal with addiction, whereas Suboxone is a synthetic opioid.
  4. Some of the side effects of methadone are drowsiness, sexual impotence, seizures, and irregular heartbeat, whereas some of the side effects of Suboxone are vomiting, headache, dizziness, etc.
  5. Dolphin and Methadose are the brand names of methadone, while Suboxone has brand names such as Zubslov.


While people deal with chronic pain or opioid addiction, the most popular medications that are usually suggested are Methadone and Suboxone, which impact addiction and dependence. Opioid withdrawal is necessary, even though it is prescribed to treat pain. Methadone and Suboxone are mostly suggested that make the difference, but they often come with side effects that can give birth to other problems, and so it is prescribed to consult a doctor before consumption.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740547212000803
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-30830-001
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