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Suboxone vs. Vivitrol


If you’re looking for an opioid treatment program for yourself or a loved one, consider programs offering medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in Fort Lauderdale. MAT uses specialized medications that diminish the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, lessening the intense cravings typical to the opioid family of addictive drugs.

Two of the leading medications in medication-assisted therapy are Suboxone and Vivitrol, both of which are effective for reducing cravings for opioids, minimizing opioid withdrawal symptoms, and reducing the risk of opioid relapse. [1], [2]

Along with counseling and behavioral therapy, Vivitrol and Suboxone can be vital components of a comprehensive recovery from opioid addiction.

Suboxone vs vivitrol

Opioid Withdrawal, Cravings, and Choosing Suboxone or Vivitrol

Opioid addiction causes intense drug cravings which can sporadically recur for months after the last time a person uses. These cravings are a primary cause of relapse.

Both Suboxone and Vivitrol have unique characteristics that make either an excellent choice for treating opioid withdrawal but depending on a person’s needs, one may be a more appropriate choice than the other.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at Suboxone and Vivitrol.

Both Suboxone and Vivitrol effectively:

  • Reduce cravings
  • Minimize withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduce the risk of a relapse

Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone)

Suboxone is the brand name for a prescription medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone comes in both tablets and a sublingual film, which is placed under the tongue and dissolves quickly. This allows the medication to enter the bloodstream rapidly.

Buprenorphine works by binding closely to one group of tiny receptors on brain cells that are activated by opioids. Because these receptors are essentially “jammed” by suboxone, opioid-type drugs cannot stimulate them, eliminating the “high” of opioid abuse—an intense feeling of euphoria.[2]

The second component of Suboxone is naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of opioids but not buprenorphine. If a person should relapse and take an opioid of abuse like heroin or oxycodone, naloxone will prevent it from delivering any kind of high.

Suboxone Advantages

Suboxone is FDA-approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder. The advantages of suboxone treatment include:

  • Higher treatment retention rates
  • Lowered urge to use opioids
  • Reduced drug cravings
  • Reduced chances of relapse
  • Reduced opioid withdrawal symptoms

Suboxone Disadvantages

  • Has a small risk for abuse
  • Can interact dangerously if consumed with alcohol
  • Must be taken daily

As with all forms of medication-assisted treatment, treatment with Suboxone is most effective when it is combined with a comprehensive addiction treatment program.


Vivitrol is a prescription injectable medication that is approved for the treatment of alcohol dependence and the prevention of opioid relapse after detox. [5] Vivitrol is only available as an injection, given once per month. Vivitrol contains naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, that is injected intramuscularly into the buttocks. It helps reduce opioid and alcohol cravings. [3] However, the medication does not treat alcohol or opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Before taking your first injection of Vivitrol, you need to have been abstinent from all drugs and alcohol for at least 10 to 14 days. The Vivitrol shot is time-released and lasts for 28 days, making it a lower maintenance option compared to Suboxone. However, it is more costly and doesn’t treat opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Vivitrol is a great choice for people who suffer from alcoholism, as Suboxone isn’t FDA-approved for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. [4]


For people who have abused Suboxone or prefer a lower maintenance option or for those who need help with alcohol abuse disorder, the Vivitrol shot is an excellent option. Vivitrol’s benefits include:

Since Vivitrol is not a narcotic and must be administered by a healthcare professional, there is virtually no potential for abuse.

  • Non-narcotic
  • Must be given by a healthcare professional, so no risk of abuse
  • Reducing cravings
  • Preventing relapse due to the possibility of withdrawal symptoms
  • The extended-release injection is given once monthly, offering a more convenient option

Like Suboxone, Vivitrol isn’t for everyone. Speak with your doctor or treatment professional to determine which medication is best for you.

Both drugs are equally effective at reducing cravings and preventing relapse. However, Vivitrol doesn’t treat withdrawal symptoms. 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.

At Agape Treatment Center, our addiction specialists are ready to answer your questions about treatment with Suboxone or Vivitrol. If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, don’t wait another day. Agape Treatment Center offers medication-assisted treatment in Fort Lauderdale. Call us today to learn about your treatment options. You are more than an addiction – and your recovery can begin today.



Call the Agape Treatment Center admissions team at 888-614-0077 to learn more about what our addiction and mental health facilities can do for you or your loved one.

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