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The Differences Between Vivitrol And Suboxone

Differences between vivitrol and suboxone

Thursday, March 8, 2018 | By Tim Powers

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a powerful tool in combating drug addiction. Two popular medications used by MAT professionals  are Suboxone and Vivitrol. With therapy and other interventions, Vivitrol and Suboxone are a powerful tool to help addicts get and stay sober. When considering MAT, it is important to understand the differences between these medications and how they can help you beat addiction once and for all.

What Type of Medication is Suboxone and Vivitrol?

One big difference between Suboxone and Vivitrol is their chemical makeup. Suboxone is an opiate as well as an opiate blocker. Suboxone is a combination of  buprenorphine with the opiate blocker naloxone. Buprenorphine produces a euphoric effect on the brain that is similar to heroin. The naloxone found in the medication blocks opiates from attaching to opiate receptors in the brain.

In contrast, Vivitrol is purely an opiate blocker. Like naloxone, Vivitrol binds to the brain’s opiate receptors similar to how heroin binds to those receptors. The medication does not bind to or activate the opioid receptors in the user’s brain. As a result, those who take the medication don’t experience the euphoric effects and helps to reduce opioid cravings in newly recovering addicts.

Method of Administration for Vivitrol and Suboxone

A second difference is found in the administration of these medications. Suboxone is a medication which is taken in sublingual form under the tongue or cheek. Suboxone is taken daily, and the amount is adjusted daily according to a number of factors  which include the following:

  • An individual’s bodily response to Suboxone
  • the types of drugs abused
  • The patient’s level of dependence on Suboxone.

By contrast, Vivitrol is administered via shot on a monthly basis. To be considered for a Vivitrol treatment program,  the drug can only be administered once all opioid drugs have completely cleared one’s system. This waiting period to start Vivitrol usually is between 7 to 10 days . Unlike suboxone, Vivitrol’s effects are longer lasting.

Side Effects of Vivitrol and Suboxone

Vivitrol and Suboxone have differences in their side effects. Suboxone users can experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and difficulties in breathing. Users of Suboxone also experience confusion, insomnia, diarrhea and joint pain. For Vivitrol users, the symptoms they can experience include anxiety, abdominal cramps, muscle aches and restlessness.

It is important to note the side effects experienced with Vivitrol are less severe and don’t involve the possibility of secondary addiction in comparison to Suboxone. Additionally, Suboxone users run the risk of addiction to the medication. Buprenorphine has the ability to produce withdrawal symptoms that are similar to heroin or prescription painkillers. As already stated, patients can experience side effects when taking Vivitrol, but the danger of secondary addiction to this opiate blocker is not present.

Treatment Procedure for Vivitrol and Suboxone

Medication-assisted treatment needs to be performed by experienced treatment personnel. Before treatment begins, treatment staff will perform a comprehensive evaluation. This evaluation determines the type of medication that will be used in treatment. The medications used and the duration of the program of the program depend on the following factors:

  • Dual diagnosis or co-occurring mental disorders that can complicate recovery
  • The frequency, length of time, and amount of substances have been abused
  • The abuse of multiple drugs by the addict
  • The person’s medical history and discovery of pre-existing medical conditions

For those with a history of relapse, the length of time they are in a medication-assisted program may be longer than other patients. Additionally, treatment protocols may also be extended if patients abuse drugs such as heroin or prescription medications. Most importantly, the assessment determines if MAT will be both suitable and sustainable for the patient. If MAT is deemed necessary, physicians will administer the appropriate medications when patients display withdrawal symptoms.

The administration portion of MAT is done in phases. There is an initial induction phase to introduce the medication into the patient’s system. Patients will enter a stabilization phase once the correct dose if found that minimizes an addict’s particular withdrawal symptoms. Gradually, the medications that are administered will be gradually tapered until the patient is clear of withdrawal and transitions into an intensive drug treatment program.

Medications are not the Cure

While Vivitrol and Suboxone help addicts get and stay sober, it is not a cure. These medications used in conjunction with tried-and-true interventions such as behavioral therapy, peer support through 12-step or similar programs and a comprehensive aftercare plan. It is important to understand that MAT may not be effective for all patients.

The drugs used in this therapy may create side effects that are unpleasant. There are also maybe medications that pose a risk for addiction unto themselves. If someone relapses while undergoing MAT, their tolerance for the drug they abuse is diminished. Because of this fact, addicts run an increased risk of overdose.

Legislation For Medication-Assisted Therapy

Suboxone, Vivitrol and other medications are under strict legislation. According to information provided by SAMHSA, medications used in this form of therapy may be considered controlled substances governed by the Controlled Substances Act. This act contains federal drug policy for regulating the manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution of these substances.

Legislation for MAT also include DATA 200.  A part of the Children’s Health Act of 2000, DATA 200 allows physicians with certain and specific qualifications to treat opioid dependency with narcotic medications approved by the FDA in treatment settings other than opioid treatment programs.

Additional information provided by SAMHSA states that DATA 200 permits qualified physicians to obtain a waiver from the separate registration requirements of the Narcotic Addict Treatment Act of 1974 This act allows physicians to treat heroin and prescription painkiller addiction with Schedule III, IV, and V medications or combinations of such medications that have been approved by FDA.

Additionally, MAT programs that administer Vivitrol and Suboxone need to follow federal guidelines for opioid treatment programs. These guidelines also serve as a guide to accrediting organizations for developing accreditation standards. The guidelines also provide OTPs with information on how programs can achieve and maintain compliance with federal regulations.

Call Medically Assisted Treatment Today

Suboxone and Vivitrol are effective tools in the fight against drug addiction. While effective, many who seek treatment may be apprehensive in underdoing MAT. People may feel that medication-based therapy is simply replaced one drug with another. For others, they feel that addiction is a moral failing that needs to be addressed through therapy and 12-step programs. Despite objections, medication-assisted therapy with Vivitrol and Suboxone increase the odds of long-term and meaningful sobriety.

Is medication-assisted treatment right for you? Do you need to know more about MAT and its’ benefits? How can Vivitrol and Suboxone help you kick your addiction once and for all? Call the professional at Medically Assisted Treatment toll-free today. Our staff has many years of cumulative experience in the medication-assisted treatment field. With this experience, we can provide the resources you need to make the most informed choices.

Don’t delay; call Medically Assisted Treatment and begin your path to recovery.

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