People with very severe addictions often benefit from having substitute medications which can help them to immediately get off a harmful drug. Medications like methadone and suboxone can be useful tools to allow someone with a very serious dependency on opioids to start working on recovery without many of the intense withdrawal symptoms initially. Although these medications can save lives, they have a few side effects that patients will need to adjust to until they eventually wean themselves off of any substances.
Each person will react differently to a certain medication and if a particular option has too many side effects they can try something else instead. Methadone can have short term side effects when someone first begins using it such as drowsiness, light-headedness, or gastrointestinal problems. While the side effects may be unpleasant they can be dealt with through other types of over the counter or prescription medications.
In some cases methadone can also cause psychological side effects such as hallucinations, insomnia, anxiety or paranoia. If these side effects become severe the patient may need to try a different medication that may have less of an effect on them. Suboxone is an alternative to methadone but it can have its own side effects as well.
Suboxone can have short term side effects such as nausea, dizziness, sweating, insomnia and irregular heartbeat. One of the most serious side effects that can sometimes occur with suboxone is respiratory depression which leads to shallow breathing and a lack of oxygen in the body. If this occurs the patient should seek medical help immediately and cease their use of the medication.
Addiction medication can be a useful way to help patients transition off of a chemical dependency. When side effects occur their doctor can recommend supplementary medications or switch them to an alternative that may have a more mild effect.