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Home » Expert Q & A » Addiction Recovery » Recovery: Anna Deeds

Switching from Methadone to Suboxone

  • Rgmjr Asks ...
    Rgmjr

    I am currently on 20mgs of methadone and want to switch to suboxone..I am very scared of the transition..can you suggest the proper transition..

  • Anna Deeds Says ...
    Anna Deeds

    Thank you for your question. It can be difficult to switch from methadone to Suboxone. Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is similar to other opioids like methadone. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids. The reason Naloxone is in Suboxone is to keep addicts from injecting the medication to get high. When you begin Suboxone treatment, you have to be in withdrawal. If you do not have withdrawal symptoms, the Naloxone will block the opiates in your system and you will go into full withdrawal. This would be very uncomfortable. It is good that you are on a low dose of methadone. This will make the transition easier. I would suggest that you stop taking methadone at least 3 days before you begin Suboxone. You may want to wait as much as 5 to 7 days. It all depends on your body. Methadone has a half life of 24 to 36 hours which means it takes that long for half of it to leave the body. Because it has a long half life, it takes several days for methadone to leave the body. You don't want to begin Suboxone treatment until the methadone is out of your system and you begin to have withdrawal symptoms. If you don't wait, you will go into withdrawal when you begin Suboxone. Talk to your doctor who is prescribing the Suboxone about when to begin taking it too. Your doctor will be able to advise you when it is the best time to start taking the Suboxone. Good luck with the transition.

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