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Switching from Methadone to Suboxone®

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Moving on from daily methadone can be difficult, but the transition from methadone to Suboxone® can help people who want to make the switch. There are many reasons for making the transition from methadone to Suboxone, but the most common are:

  • No longer having to go to the clinic daily and wait to receive a methadone dose

  • Avoiding the negative stigma around having to go to a methadone clinic

  • Wanting to feel free from the strictly regimented methadone dosing schedule

  • Being able to commit to jobs or responsibilities without methadone clinic trips interrupting

  • Ceasing any continued opioid misuse while taking methadone

Transition from Methadone to Suboxone

The transition from methadone to Suboxone can take some time. It’s much more complicated than ceasing methadone and replacing it with a daily dose of Suboxone. Patients who wish to make the switch will work closely with their medical provider to create a plan and set goals for a successful transition.

First, a patient wishing to transition from methadone to Suboxone must taper their methadone dosage down over a period of time and with the supervision of a clinician. The tapering process will be different for every patient, and a medical provider will work to individualize a dosing schedule that works best for each individual case.

During the initial transition from methadone to Suboxone, the patient will need to be in a moderate state of withdrawal. Patients may find this to be the most challenging part of the transition process, often pushing some to feel that it’s too difficult to make the switch. However, this part of the switch is the most important as starting Suboxone just as the signs of moderate withdrawal appear can make a significant difference in the success of the transition.

Benefits of Transition to Suboxone

Some patients who make the transition from methadone to Suboxone report feeling much less “medicated” on a daily basis. Suboxone also has very few medication interactions, which can be highly beneficial for people who have other medical issues that require the use of various medicines. Research has also found that patients who have heart-related problems, such as QT interval syndrome, benefit from making the transition from methadone to Suboxone.

Those who switch to Suboxone seem to enjoy the convenience and flexibility when their medication is prescribed in an outpatient, office-based model. They are able to fulfill a prescription for the medication rather than receive on-site doses as is done with methadone. While patients may not be able to take their Suboxone prescription for home use right away, after some time, their provider will entrust them with dispensing the medication themselves after having adjusted to the change.

Making the transition from methadone to Suboxone doesn’t have to be a complicated or messy one for patients. Those who find themselves at a standstill with their methadone MAT, or are experiencing chronic relapse or frequent opioid misuse may benefit from making the switch to Suboxone with the help of their medical provider.


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