Suboxone vs. Vivitrol

Suboxone is a brand-name medication that contains two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is classified as an opioid partial agonist-antagonist. This means it has some effects like opioid drugs, but it also blocks other opioid effects.

Naloxone is classified as an opioid antagonist. This means it blocks the effects of opioid drugs.

Vivitrol is a brand-name medication that contains the drug naltrexone. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, similar to the naloxone contained in Suboxone.

Uses

Suboxone is FDA-approved to treat opioid dependence. This includes two phases of treatment: induction and maintenance.

During the induction phase, the drug decreases withdrawal symptoms while you stop or reduce opioid use. During the maintenance phase, the drug keeps withdrawal symptoms and cravings in check as you complete your drug abuse treatment program.

Vivitrol is also approved to treat opioid dependence. However, it’s only approved for preventing relapse in people who have completely stopped abusing opioids.

Forms and administration

Suboxone comes as an oral film that can be used under your tongue (sublingual) or in your cheek (buccal).

Vivitrol comes as an extended-release injection that’s given in a doctor’s office or clinic.

Effectiveness

Suboxone and Vivitrol have been compared in clinical studies. These studies evaluated the drugs’ use for preventing relapse and maintaining abstinence from heroin or opioid use.

A 2017 study found that Vivitrol and Suboxone were equally effective for reducing opioid and heroin use over 12 weeks. A 2018 study found that Suboxone was more effective for preventing relapse and was easier to use than Vivitrol.

Side effects and risks

Suboxone and Vivitrol have some similar side effects, and some that differ. Below are examples of these side effects.

Suboxone and VivitrolSuboxoneVivitrol
More common side effectsnauseavomitingdiarrheastomach pain or upsetsore throatinsomnia (trouble sleeping)anxietydepressionweakness or fatigueback paindizzinessheadacheopioid withdrawal symptomssweatingconstipationchillscoughfeverrunny nosedry mouthinjection site tenderness and painjoint painmuscle crampsrashdizzinessloss of appetitetoothache
Serious side effectssevere allergic reactionliver damageabuse and dependencebreathing problems and comahormone problems (adrenal insufficiency)severe withdrawal symptomssevere depression and thoughts of suicidepneumonia

Costs

Suboxone and Vivitrol are brand-name drugs. There’s a generic version of Suboxone, but there’s no generic version of Vivitrol. Generic versions often cost less than brand-name drugs.

Vivitrol usually costs much more than brand-name or generic Suboxone. The actual amount you pay will depend on your insurance.

Suboxone vs. Bunavail

Both Suboxone and Bunavail are brand-name medications that contains two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone.

Uses

Both Suboxone and Bunavail are FDA-approved to treat opioid dependence. This includes both the induction phase and the maintenance phases of treatment.

During the induction phase, the drug decreases withdrawal symptoms while you stop or reduce opioid use. During the maintenance phase, the drug keeps withdrawal symptoms and cravings in check as you complete your drug abuse treatment program.

Forms and administration

Suboxone is available as an oral film that can be used under your tongue (sublingual) or between your gums and your cheek (buccal).

Bunavail is available as a film that’s placed between your gums and your cheek (buccal).

Effectiveness

Suboxone and Bunavail contain the same drugs and are used in the same way to treat opioid dependence. They’re likely to be equally effective. The decision to use Suboxone or Bunavail is based on personal preferences for use of one product or the other.

Side effects and risks

Suboxone and Bunavail contain the same drugs and cause similar common and serious side effects.

More common side effects

Examples of the more common side effects of Suboxone and Bunavail include:

  • headache
  • opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as body aches, abdominal cramps, and rapid heart rate
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • stomach pain or upset
  • diarrhea
  • anxiety
  • insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • sweating
  • depression
  • chills
  • weakness or fatigue
  • dizziness
  • cough
  • fever
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • back pain

Serious side effects

Examples of serious side effects shared by Suboxone and Bunavail include:

  • severe allergic reaction
  • abuse and dependence
  • hormone problems (adrenal insufficiency)
  • liver damage
  • severe withdrawal symptoms
  • breathing problems
  • coma

Costs

Suboxone and Bunavail are brand-name drugs. There’s a generic version of Suboxone, but there’s no generic version of Bunavail. Generic versions often cost less than brand-name drugs.

Bunavail usually costs less than brand-name or generic Suboxone. The actual amount you pay will depend on your insurance.

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