A Comparison of Vivitrol with Suboxone and Methadone

by | Last updated Nov 24, 2020 | Published on Mar 5, 2018 | Addiction, Rehab Aftercare, Treatment | 0 comments

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Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist used in Opioid Replacement Therapy (ORT) to treat opioids, which are some of the most addictive drugs. The generic name for Vivitrol is naltrexone. The Food and Drug Administrations has approved Vivitrol injections for treating alcohol and opioid dependence.

opioid withdrawal

Addiction treatment alone only has a one-year sobriety success rate between 20% and 30%. When paired with medications, like Vivitrol injections, the success rate rises to 45% to 60%.

Vivitrol shots are administered through an intramuscular injection once a month. Drug abusers must be clean for at least 7 days at this point. Patients receiving Vivitrol also take part in counseling or behavioral therapy.

Methadone and Suboxone are also medications used to treat opioid dependence and addiction. Unlike naltrexone, these medications often come in the form of pills.  Healthcare providers can give them to patients who are undergoing an opiate detox.

All three drugs prevent relapses and rely on different ways to treat an alcohol or opioid addiction. These types of addiction treatments for opioids are highly effective. They downplay the intensity of opioid withdrawal symptoms. They also help those who struggle with substance abuse break free of a drug addiction and handle an opioid crisis. They curb cravings and manage alcohol and opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Differences in the Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of action for all three treatments of opioids is different from one another. Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist. It works by blocking the effects of prescription drugs. They work by attaching to opioid receptors so that opioids can’t. This treatment option is non-addictive, and Vivitrol injections are not a narcotic.

Even if drug abusers relapse, the opioids will not get them high. This mechanism prevents the development of alcohol or opioid dependence again. While effective, those who take opiates while receiving Vivitrol are susceptible to an opioid overdose. They may also experience adverse reactions.

A Look at Methadone or Buprenorphine

In comparison to Vivitrol injections, methadone, buprenorphine, and Suboxone, are opioid agonists. Methadone is a full opioid agonist, and Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist.  Methadone is most commonly used to treat heroin addiction. Suboxone is used to treat all types of alcohol and opioid addictions.

These drugs work by attaching to opioid receptors and stimulating them like opioids. These prescription drugs are weak opioids. It’s harder to develop an opioid or alcohol dependence to these prescription drugs. When healthcare providers properly prescribe an opioid-dependent patient these prescription drugs, these drugs can help manage opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone is a full opioid agonist, so it’s essentially an opioid. In short, it’s possible to develop an opioid dependence on this drug and get high off of it. Buprenorphine, on the other hand, is a partial opioid agonist. It has a “ceiling effect” or threshold. In short, the drug interactions in the body are limited to a specific dose. Once the dosage and administration reach a certain concentration level, the prescription drug will no longer affect the body. The medication can only attach to a limited amount of opioid receptors.

Differences in Cost

addiction treatmentsEach treatment center will charge different fees for each of these treatment options. However, methadone or buprenorphine tend to be cheaper than Vivitrol injections. Suboxone or its generic versions will typically only cost an opioid-dependent patient anywhere from $100 to $800 a month. Methadone costs about $10 to $20 per day for a total of $300 to $600 a month.

Patients who are taking Vivitrol can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $1,400 per shot for this prescription drug. This cost usually doesn’t include the facility fee for administering Vivitrol.

While all three treatment options can be pricey, many insurance policies do cover some, if not all, of the costs. Drug abusers should contact various treatment programs to see whether they have enough insurance coverage. Some insurance policies will cover only a specific dosage and administration method.

Differences in Effectiveness

vivitrol recovery

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The success rate for Suboxone is at only about 49%. This success rate is a little bit lower than the success rate of methadone. Suboxone, however, does not have a high potential for addiction due to its maximum threshold. It’s possible for drug abusers to develop a secondary opioid addiction to methadone.

A recent study showed that 74% of those receiving Vivitrol submitted urine samples that were negative for opioids at the 24-week mark. This study indicates that this addiction treatment is equally as effective. The main benefit of Vivitrol injections is that it doesn’t come with as many serious side effects. With that said, some drug abusers may experience injection site reactions. Those who take Vivitrol too soon may also experience certain unsavory side effects of Vivitrol, like sudden opioid withdrawal.

Which One Is Right for You?

So, which one of these drug treatment options are right for you? It’s difficult to say without a proper assessment from healthcare providers. Each treatment center will assess the severity of the drug addiction to craft a personalized addiction treatment plan.

If you have any further questions about the treatments for opioid or alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll provide you with the resources needed to make an informed decision. Additional resources may help you determine which treatment options are best suited to your needs and expectations.

Written by: Justin Kunst

Written by: Justin Kunst

As a member of the Amethyst Recovery Center marketing team, Justin Kunst dedicated his time to curating powerful content that would reach and impact individuals and families who are struggling with substance abuse.

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