Suboxone vs. Vivitrol

February 4, 2020 , Agape Treatment

vivitrol shot and suboxoneSuboxone and Vivitrol are both used to treat opioid use disorders. These medications work the same way in the brain but are administered differently. If you or a loved one has begun looking for an opioid treatment program, you have probably heard of medication-assisted treatment. Medication-assisted treatment is the preferred method for treating opioid addiction. It involves counseling, behavioral therapy, and pharmacological intervention. 

Overcoming opioid addiction, whether it is prescriptions or illicit opioids, is difficult. First, the withdrawal symptoms are painful and challenging. In addition, opioids are so addictive that many people crave opioids even when they aren’t getting high. Fortunately, medications like Suboxone and the Vivitrol shot are used to help reduce cravings, minimize withdrawal symptoms, and ultimately reduce rates of relapse. 

Suboxone vs vivitrol


Suboxone (Buprenorphine/Naloxone)

Suboxone is the brand name for a medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. The drug is sold as an oral pill or an oral film, both of which come in sublingual forms. The medication dissolves under the tongue and enters the bloodstream, where it begins to treat opioid dependence.

Both buprenorphine and naloxone work together to assist in the treatment of opioid addiction. Buprenorphine, an opioid partial agonist-antagonist, helps treat opioid dependence by reducing withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. Furthermore, buprenorphine blocks the euphoric effects produced by other opioids. For example, if someone takes an opioid while on Suboxone, he or she won’t feel the effects of the opioid. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of opioid drugs. The drug helps prevent buprenorphine abuse because if you abuse opioids while on Naloxone, you may be thrown into immediate withdrawal.[1]

Suboxone is more cost-effective than the Vivitrol shot, but it also requires more maintenance. Furthermore, it isn’t approved for the treatment of alcoholism, unlike the Vivitrol shot.


Suboxone Benefits

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Suboxone for a variety of uses due to the many benefits of the drug. Some benefits of Suboxone treatment include:

  • Reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • Treatment for chronic pain and opioid dependence
  • Improved depression symptoms
  • Lower rates of transmitted bloodborne illnesses
  • Higher treatment retention rates
  • Reduce chances of relapse 

Suboxone is both a short and long term solution for opioid addiction. However, it is most efficient when it is combined with a comprehensive addiction treatment program. 



Vivitrol is a prescription medication that is approved for the treatment of alcohol dependence and the prevention of opioid dependence after detox. Unlike Suboxone, Vivitrol is a monthly injection. The Vivitrol shot contains naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, which is injected intramuscularly into the buttocks. Naltrexone helps reduce opioid and alcohol cravings. However, the medication does not treat withdrawal symptoms.

Before you quality for the Vivitrol shot, you should not take opioids for 7-10 days. In addition, you should stop drinking alcohol and complete detox before getting the shot. If you receive the Vivitrol shot too early, you may go into immediate withdrawal. Since Vivitrol is not an opioid and must be administered by a healthcare professional, there is virtually no potential for abuse.[2]

The Vivitrol shot lasts for 28 days, making it a much lower maintenance option compared to Suboxone. However, it is more costly and doesn’t treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, Vivitrol is a great choice for people who suffer from alcoholism, as Suboxone isn’t approved for the treatment of alcohol use disorder.


Benefits of the Vivitrol Shot

For people who have abused Suboxone or prefer a lower maintenance option, the Vivitrol shot is a great fit. The medication provides several benefits in treating opioid and alcohol use disorder, such as:

  • Reducing cravings
  • Preventing relapse due to the possibility of withdrawal symptoms
  • Extended-release injection given once monthly
  • Higher treatment retention rates
  • No potential for abuse

Like Suboxone, Vivitrol isn’t for everyone. Instead, it’s important to speak with your doctor or treatment professional to determine which medication is best for you. 


Medication-Assisted Treatment in Fort Lauderdale

Suboxone treatment and the Vivitrol shot both have their pros and cons. Similarly, everyone is different – so every treatment program is different. The Vivitrol shot may work great for one person, while another may have an adverse reaction and be more compatible with Suboxone. Both drugs are equally effective at reducing cravings and preventing relapse. However, Vivitrol doesn’t treat withdrawal symptoms – something that is terribly difficult to overcome. As a result, if you are withdrawing from opioids, your treatment program may consist of both Suboxone and Vivitrol, or it may only consist of Suboxone. 

In the end, the best way to know which drug used in medication-assisted treatment is right for you. At Agape Treatment Center, our addiction specialists are eager and willing to answer your questions about Suboxone and the Vivitrol shot. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction and is looking into medication-assisted treatment in Fort Lauderdale, don’t wait another day. Reach out today to learn about your treatment options. You are more than an addiction – and your recovery can begin today.