Methadone has been around for decades to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). However, it is slowly becoming less popular and is being replaced by buprenorphine (Suboxone). Because of the danger of overdose, methadone has to be administered in person at a methadone clinic (i.e., direct observed therapy, or DOT) generally at least 6 days a week. Suboxone, in contrast, can safely be taken at home, without any significant risk of a fatal overdose.
This leads to many people transitioning over from methadone to Suboxone. The most important consideration when switching over to Suboxone is the waiting period before taking the first dose of buprenorphine (Suboxone).
How long should patients wait after finishing methadone to start Suboxone?
Because methadone takes a long time to leave the system, it is best to wait at least 72 hours (3 days) before starting Suboxone.
This is to avoid the signs and symptoms of precipitated withdrawal. These may include:
- Muscle pain
- Dilated pupils
- Suicidal thoughts
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Pain, including headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
If waiting 3 days is too difficult, microdosing can be an option: Suboxone can be given in smaller-than-usual doses at frequent intervals to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Doses as small as 0.5 mg are taken (instead of the usual 8 mg). However, the longer a person can wait, the more smooth the transition will be.
How can I switch to Suboxone from methadone?
QuickMD is the largest teleMOUD provider in the United States. We can prescribe Suboxone to you via telemedicine and guide you through the transition. QuickMD providers can also prescribe adjunct medications to help you with any withdrawal symptoms you may experience during the transition period.