Written by Janette Weiner MS, RN Director of Nursing and Outreach Coordinator at New Hope Recovery Center
Medication-assisted treatment for addiction, especially opiates (such as Heroin, Vicodin, and Oxycontin), is not new nor is the controversy that accompanies it. The most recent controversy involves the use of medications to aid in the treatment of opiate addiction, with Suboxone and Vivitrol receiving the most press. There is an abundant amount of information available on the internet – unfortunately not all of it is accurate. Keep in mind the choice whether to use medication to assist in opiate addiction rehab is a personal decision best made with accurate information and support from an informed addiction health care team. Below we have provided you with the major differences between the two medications:
Suboxone combines Buprenorphine (Opiate) with Naloxone (Opiate Blocker). It is an orange colored film taken sublingually (under the tongue) daily and requires regular physician supervision. Vivitrol is Naltrexone (Opiate Blocker) in a suspended release injectable suspension. It is given as an injection and the effects last approximately one month. While both are effective in combating opiate (Heroin, Vicodin, & Oxycontin) cravings, there are some clear differences.
Suboxone is an opiate. As we all know opiates are addictive, withdrawal from it is unavoidable. Many who have used Suboxone report the withdrawal symptoms to be as intense, or worse than, the original opiate. In order for it to be effective, it must be taken daily and to avoid experiencing withdrawal, must be continued indefinitely.
Vivitrol is purely an opiate blocker. Once an individual is opiate free for approximately 7 to 10 days, Vivitrol can be given safely with no side effects. It effectively combats cravings, lasts for approximately one month and causes no further withdrawal symptoms. Most importantly, should an individual choose to use an opiate while on Vivitrol, the individual will feel no effect. Knowing the option of getting high is not available allows an individual in early recovery the time and emotional energy to focus on developing an effective recovery program.
For long-term recovery from opiate addiction, a strong and supportive 12-step recovery program offers the best chance for success. With what we know today, Vivitrol is the preferred medication in dealing with opiate addiction. However, it is a personal choice best made with accurate information from an informed health care team.
Are you or a loved one suffering from Heroin, Vicodin, Oxycontin or other opiate addiction? Want more information about Vivtrol or Suboxone? Call New Hope Recovery Center at 773.883.3916.