Methadone and buprenorphine (given as a tablet or a liquid) are recommended as treatment options for people who are opioid dependent.

A decision about which is the better treatment should be made on an individual basis, in consultation with the person, taking into account the possible benefits and risks of each treatment for that particular person. If both drugs are likely to have the same benefits and risks, methadone should be given as the first choice.

Different people will need different doses of methadone or buprenorphine. People should take methadone or buprenorphine daily in the presence of their doctor, nurse or community pharmacist for at least the first 3 months of treatment and until they are able to continue their treatment correctly without supervision.

Treatment with methadone or buprenorphine should be given as part of a support programme to help the person manage their opioid dependence.