Individuals who have developed an addiction to heroin, a dangerous opioid derivative, will eventually require rigorous treatment and rehabilitation. As part of pharmacotherapy (e.g. medication treatment), doctors often prescribe equally potent drugs to counteract the effects of heroin and alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and detoxification. Two widely known prescriptions are methadone and buprenorphine (Suboxone film), but both vary based on a variety of factors. So one question remains: what is the difference between these two drugs?


Methadone is an opioid that affects the body for approximately 4 to 8 hours after consumption (24 hours in total), far longer than the effects of heroin. Generally, this drug produces the same effects as heroin without the resulting “high,” meaning patients can use methadone as part of behavioral therapy and social reintegration.

However, these are negative aspects to the drug. Mixing methadone with other substances like alcohol or sedatives can result in death. Likewise, recovering heroin addicts can experience inconvenient or near-fatal side-effects including:

  • Severe withdrawal symptoms (due to low methadone dosage)
  • Rotting teeth (a side-effect of heroin addiction)
  • Changes in the reproductive cycle (e.g. menstruation, stimulation)
  • Nausea, dizziness, vomiting
  • Skin Irritations


METHADONE VS BUPRENORPHINE Unlike methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone film) belongs to a class of drugs labeled as partial opiate agonists, which prevent sometimes fatal reactions caused by opioids. While as equally effective as methadone, this drug is not addictive and is another stable element to lifestyle training and cognitive therapy for patients. Addicts place a strip of buprenorphine under their tongues once a day and can use the drug to decrease dependence on methadone.

Typically, buprenorphine can produce the same successful results as methadone while ensuring a less severe withdrawal process with limited problems.

Aftermath of Drug Abuse

While both drugs clearly differ based on side effects and potency, buprenorphine may help one patient, while another addict may find resolution with methadone. Different programs provide different solutions but, much like the drugs that are utilized, the outcomes will vary based on individual needs and physical requirements. Always consult your healthcare provider or rehabilitation specialist before pursuing a methadone or buprenorphine program.

Hope is always within reach. Drugs and alcohol do not have control over your life. You do. If you are a seeking help for addiction or substance abuse or if your loved one or friend is suffering from heroin addiction, get in touch with Asana Recovery. Counselors and healthcare experts can walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and help guide you to a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While it might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to build a better future. 

The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your heroin addiction troubles today.