Vivitrol (Naltrexone) is an opioid antagonist that blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and decreases the desire to use opioids. It is usually used as part of Medicine Assisted Treatment (MAT) program during recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) including alcohol. It is also used as part of the treatment for alcoholism.
Taken by injection into a large muscle, Vivitrol is only prescribed for people who are not using any form of opioids. The usual waiting period between last opioid use and taking a dose of Vivitrol is 7-14 days. It’s important to note that taking opioids while using Vivitrol can have serious side effects. The risk of OD is greatly increased as the blocked opioid receptors prevent the expected pain relief or attempted euphoria from opioids.
Vivitrol does not contain opioids, so it is non-addictive and does not result in a physical dependency. In fact, because it is an antagonist, it removes the motivation to take opioids or alcohol.
There are several differences between Vivitrol and Suboxone (Buprenophrine and Naloxone):
- Extended-release medication, taken once a month
- Taken by injection
- Prevents relapse by blocking the brain’s opioid receptors
- Requires waiting period from last opioid use to first dose
Suboxone (Buprenophrine and Naloxone)
- Taken as a daily dose
- Taken orally
- The active ingredient is a partial opioid agonist (sits in the opioid receptors) which eases withdrawal symptoms and cravings. If buprenorphine/naloxone is injected, the naloxone prevents the buprenorphine from being active. These medications are combined to prevent misuse.
- Can be taken approximately 12+hours after last opioid use, during withdrawal. Improves withdrawal symptoms and cravings quickly.
For more information, you can visit Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT). You can also speak with a doctor or licensed professional about whether Suboxone, Vivitrol or Methadone is right for you or your loved one.