Finding the right way to treat opioid addiction is possible with many available options. Medication helps control the urge to use substances again by easing both withdrawal symptoms and persistent cravings during recovery.

When it comes to treating opioid addiction, two common medications for opioid addiction are Naltrexone and Suboxone. Proven by doctors, both of these medicines help in different ways to support a patient’s journey to recovery. How these medications work might help you or a family member make an educated choice regarding treatment.

How Does Naltrexone Work

Naltrexone inhibits opioid receptors within the brain, and it is an opioid antagonist. Taken together, Naltrexone prevents opioids from binding to these receptors and removes the possibility of getting high. In contrast to other opioid addiction drugs, Naltrexone doesn’t replace an opioid with another but helps the body overcome drug use by decreasing the drug reward effect.

Naltrexone occurs in two types: a daily oral pill and a monthly injectable (Vivitrol). A benefit of Naltrexone is it does not produce physical dependence, so you can stop taking it without suffering withdrawal symptoms. However, taking Naltrexone when opioids continue to be present in your system could cause severe withdrawal symptoms.

How Suboxone Works

Suboxone is a mixture of buprenorphine and naloxone, which differs from Naltrexone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that activates opioid receptors in the brain but creates a gentler impact compared to total agonists like morphine or heroin. 

To discourage misuse, Suboxone contains naloxone, which activates only when tampered with or injected incorrectly. Injection of Suboxone activates Naloxone, and symptoms of withdrawal may result, causing users to take the drug orally as directed. This mix ensures that using Suboxone becomes both safe and efficient for controlling opioid cravings right from the start of one’s path to healing.

Comparing Effectiveness

Deciding between Suboxone and Naltrexone will often be determined by your condition and recovery requirements. In case you have previously gone through detox and need a prescription medication to remain sober, Naltrexone could be for you. 

On the other hand, in case you are detoxing or have simply quit using opioids, Suboxone might be more appropriate. By easing both withdrawal symptoms and cravings during those first important weeks, it supports your journey toward living without drugs. When it comes to treatments like methadone and suboxone, those recovering from opioid addiction will be happy to know that there’s little chance of someone abusing these drugs.

Side Effects and Considerations

Both medications have potential side effects. Naltrexone users might experience headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches. More severe side effects (rare) include liver damage (especially in the oral form).

Suboxone could lead to diarrhea, nausea, headaches, and perspiration side effects. Also, there is a chance of respiratory issues when it is taken along with other depressants like alcohol.

Long-Term Recovery Support

Long-term recovery requires the support system associated with Naltrexone or Suboxone. You’ll see more benefits from both medicines if you also engage in behavioral therapy services while being active in supportive communities and ensuring consistent medical reviews. By looking at all aspects of recovery, we target the addiction physically, work through emotional triggers, and consider outside pressures that may push one towards relapsing.

Accessibility/Ease of Use

Considerations concerning the availability and ease of use of Suboxone and Naltrexone are important while selecting a medicine for opioid addiction treatment. Naltrexone, especially in an injectable form, offers a once-a-month treatment that eliminates the need for daily doses and improves compliance. This might be helpful for people who experience issues adhering to daily medication or who favor a less regular dosage routine.

Suboxone needs daily administration instead, which might be an advantage in developing a routine or a task for people who struggle with adherence to prescription medicines. Still, its ability to be provided at home involves much more privacy and flexibility for the treatment. 

The Bottom Line

Deciding between Suboxone and Naltrexone calls for consideration of your recovery phase, medical history, and individual preferences. Reach out to a healthcare provider who specializes in addiction treatment for guidance and support. If you use them the right way, either medication could be beneficial due to their individual strengths. In time, choosing wisely based on what suits you best can guide you toward regaining control of your life and maintaining long-term sobriety.


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