Is Sublocade the Same as Vivitrol? Find Out Which Treatment Is Right for You12 min read

Are you considering treatment options for opioid dependence? Sublocade and Vivitrol are two popular medications that can help individuals on their path to recovery. Understanding the similarities and differences between these treatments is crucial in making an informed decision. In this article, we will delve into the details of Sublocade and Vivitrol, exploring their formulations, mechanisms of action, efficacy, side effects, cost, accessibility, and more. Let’s dive in!

  • Formulations: Learn about the specific formulations of Sublocade and Vivitrol.
  • Mechanism of Action: Discover how these medications work to combat opioid dependence.
  • Efficacy and Effectiveness: Explore the effectiveness of Sublocade and Vivitrol in treating opioid addiction.
  • Side Effects and Safety Profile: Understand these treatments’ potential side effects and safety considerations.
  • Cost and Accessibility: Evaluate the cost and accessibility factors associated with Sublocade and Vivitrol.
  • Considerations for Use: Explore essential considerations for selecting the appropriate treatment based on patient factors and medical professional perspectives.



Sublocade is formulated as an extended-release injection containing buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist. The injection is administered once a month by a healthcare professional.


Vivitrol, on the other hand, comes in the form of a once-monthly extended-release injection containing naltrexone. The injection is administered by a healthcare professional, providing continuous opioid receptor blockade.

Mechanism of Action


Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Sublocade, binds to opioid receptors in the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It acts as a partial agonist, producing a milder effect than full opioid agonists.


Vivitrol contains naltrexone, which blocks opioid receptors in the brain, preventing the effects of opioids. By blocking the receptors, Vivitrol helps reduce the rewarding effects of opioid use, discouraging relapse.

Efficacy and Effectiveness


  • Efficacy: Clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Sublocade in reducing illicit opioid use and maintaining abstinence.
  • Effectiveness: The extended-release formulation of Sublocade ensures consistent medication levels, promoting treatment adherence and long-term effectiveness.


  • Efficacy: Vivitrol has shown efficacy in reducing opioid use, including relapses, by blocking the effects of opioids.
  • Effectiveness: The monthly injection of Vivitrol helps individuals stay on track with their treatment plan and provides continuous protection against opioid relapse.

Side Effects and Safety Profile


  • Side Effects: Common side effects of Sublocade may include constipation, nausea, headache, injection site reactions, and potential risks associated with opioid use.
  • Safety Profile: As with any medication, Sublocade should be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional to ensure proper dosing and minimize potential risks.


  • Side Effects: The common side effects of Vivitrol include injection site reactions, nausea, fatigue, headache, and potential risks associated with opioid withdrawal.
  • Safety Profile: Healthcare professionals carefully assess patients’ medical history, including liver function, before initiating Vivitrol treatment to ensure safety and minimize potential adverse effects.

Cost and Accessibility


  • Cost: The cost of Sublocade can vary depending on insurance coverage, location, and individual circumstances. It is essential to consult with your healthcare provider and insurance provider to understand the potential costs.
  • Accessibility: Sublocade is available by prescription and should be administered by a healthcare professional trained in its administration.


  • Cost: The cost of Vivitrol can also vary depending on insurance coverage, location, and individual circumstances. Consulting with your healthcare and insurance providers will help you determine the potential costs.
  • Accessibility: Vivitrol is available by prescription and should be administered by a healthcare professional.

Considerations for Use

Patient Factors:

When considering Sublocade or Vivitrol, various patient factors need to be considered, including medical history, treatment preferences, level of opioid dependence, and potential contraindications. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential to determine the most suitable treatment option.

Medical Professional’s Perspective:

Healthcare professionals are crucial in guiding patients toward the appropriate treatment based on their experience, patient history, and treatment goals. Their expertise ensures personalized and effective care.

Choosing the Right Treatment

Individual Factors to Consider

Prior Treatment History

  • Sublocade: Individuals who have not responded well to previous oral buprenorphine treatments may find Sublocade beneficial.
  • Vivitrol: For individuals who prefer a non-opioid option or have concerns about buprenorphine, Vivitrol may be a suitable choice.

Long-Term Treatment Considerations

Treatment Duration

  • Sublocade: Sublocade is typically used as a maintenance treatment for an extended period, providing continuous medication release for ongoing support.
  • Vivitrol: Vivitrol is also used as a long-term treatment option to support individuals in maintaining abstinence from opioids.

Supportive Services

Psychosocial Support

Counseling and Therapy

  • Sublocade: Combining Sublocade treatment with counseling and therapy can enhance recovery and address underlying psychological factors.
  • Vivitrol: Vivitrol treatment should be complemented by psychosocial support to address the emotional, behavioral, and social aspects of opioid addiction.

Additional Treatment Modalities

Adjunctive Medications

  • Sublocade: In some cases, healthcare professionals may prescribe additional medications alongside Sublocade to address specific symptoms or co-occurring conditions.
  • Vivitrol: Vivitrol treatment may also involve using adjunctive medications to manage cravings, address mental health concerns, or support overall recovery.

Monitoring and Compliance

Medical Monitoring

Ongoing Assessments

  • Sublocade: Regular check-ups and monitoring of treatment progress are crucial to ensure the effectiveness and safety of Sublocade.
  • Vivitrol: Healthcare professionals closely monitor patients receiving Vivitrol injections to evaluate their response to treatment and address any concerns.

Medication Adherence

Importance of Adhering to Treatment

  • Sublocade: Adhering to the prescribed monthly Sublocade injections is essential for maintaining consistent medication levels and maximizing treatment benefits.
  • Vivitrol: Sticking to the recommended monthly Vivitrol injections ensures ongoing protection against opioids and reduces the risk of relapse.

Collaborative Decision-Making

Consulting with Healthcare Professionals

Seeking Expert Advice

  • Sublocade: Engaging in open and honest discussions with healthcare professionals helps individuals make informed decisions and determine if Sublocade is the right choice for them.
  • Vivitrol: Healthcare professionals can provide valuable guidance and information to individuals considering Vivitrol, empowering them to make the best treatment decision.

Potential Drug Interactions


When considering Sublocade, it is essential to inform healthcare professionals about any medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, to identify potential drug interactions that may affect its effectiveness or safety.


Vivitrol may interact with certain medications, and it is crucial to disclose all current medications and medical conditions to healthcare professionals to ensure the safe and appropriate use of Vivitrol.

Special Populations

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Both Sublocade and Vivitrol have specific considerations for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is vital to discuss these treatment options with healthcare professionals to make informed decisions that prioritize the health of both the mother and the baby.

Pediatric Use

While Sublocade and Vivitrol are primarily used in adults, healthcare professionals may occasionally consider their use in specific pediatric cases. Using these medications in pediatric patients should involve careful evaluation and consultation with pediatric addiction specialists.

Duration and Discontinuation


Sublocade treatment duration may vary depending on individual needs and treatment goals. Decisions regarding treatment discontinuation should be made in consultation with healthcare professionals to ensure a safe and successful transition.


Vivitrol treatment duration is typically long-term, with healthcare professionals monitoring progress and determining the appropriate discontinuation timing based on individual circumstances and recovery stability.

Combination Therapy

Sublocade and Vivitrol

Healthcare professionals may sometimes recommend combining Sublocade and Vivitrol as part of a comprehensive treatment approach. This combination therapy approach can be tailored to address individual needs and optimize treatment outcomes.

Adverse Events and Reporting


Individuals receiving Sublocade should be aware of potential adverse events and promptly report any concerning symptoms to their healthcare professionals. Prompt reporting allows for timely evaluation and appropriate management of any adverse reactions.


Monitoring for adverse events is crucial during Vivitrol treatment. Patients should report any unusual or concerning symptoms to their healthcare professionals, enabling early detection and appropriate intervention, if necessary.

Monitoring Treatment Progress


During Sublocade treatment, regular monitoring of treatment progress is essential to assess its effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments. Healthcare professionals will evaluate various factors, such as reduction in opioid use, improvement in overall well-being, and compliance with the treatment plan.


Healthcare professionals closely monitor individuals receiving Vivitrol to evaluate treatment progress. Regular assessments may include tracking changes in opioid use, watching for signs of relapse, and addressing any emerging challenges or concerns.

Treatment Accessibility and Support


Access to Sublocade may vary depending on geographic location and healthcare provider availability. Individuals interested in Sublocade can consult with healthcare professionals and explore support services, including financial assistance programs, to enhance treatment accessibility.


Vivitrol accessibility is influenced by factors such as healthcare provider availability and insurance coverage. Healthcare professionals can guide individuals seeking Vivitrol treatment, providing information on resources to facilitate access and support.

Patient Education and Counseling


Effective patient education and counseling are essential components of Sublocade treatment. Healthcare professionals provide information on medication use, potential side effects, and strategies to manage cravings or challenges during recovery.


Patient education and counseling play a crucial role in Vivitrol treatment. Healthcare professionals provide comprehensive information on treatment expectations, potential side effects, and strategies to address cravings or triggers, fostering patient understanding and engagement in recovery.

Long-Term Recovery Support


Sublocade can be an integral part of a long-term recovery plan. In addition to medication management, healthcare professionals may recommend ongoing counseling, support groups, and other resources to support individuals in maintaining sobriety and overall well-being.


A comprehensive long-term recovery support plan often accompanies Vivitrol treatment. This may include ongoing counseling, peer support programs, and lifestyle modifications to promote sustained recovery and a healthy lifestyle.

Individual Response and Treatment Adjustment


Individual responses to Sublocade may vary, and healthcare professionals carefully assess treatment effectiveness. Adjustments to the treatment plan, such as dosage modifications or additional support, may be recommended based on individual needs and goals.


Vivitrol treatment response can vary among individuals, and healthcare professionals regularly assess its effectiveness. Treatment adjustments, such as addressing co-occurring conditions or modifying the recovery plan, may be necessary to optimize outcomes.

Real-world Experiences and Patient Testimonials


Real-world experiences and patient testimonials can provide valuable insights into Sublocade treatment. Hearing firsthand accounts of individuals who have benefited from Sublocade can offer hope and motivation to those considering this medication as part of their recovery journey.


Patient testimonials and real-world experiences can shed light on the positive impact of Vivitrol treatment. Personal stories of individuals who have found success and regained control of their lives with Vivitrol can inspire and encourage others to explore this treatment option.

Considerations for Healthcare Providers


Healthcare providers are critical in evaluating patients’ suitability for Sublocade treatment. Factors such as patient history, treatment goals, and medical considerations should be carefully considered to ensure the appropriate use of Sublocade and maximize its effectiveness.


Healthcare providers must assess patients’ circumstances to determine if Vivitrol is the right treatment choice. Considering factors such as patient preferences, medical history, and treatment goals allows healthcare providers to tailor Vivitrol treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs.


In conclusion, while Sublocade and Vivitrol are both medications used to treat opioid dependence, they differ in their formulations, mechanisms of action, and administration methods. Sublocade is an extended-release buprenorphine injection, while Vivitrol is an extended-release naltrexone injection. Both medications have demonstrated efficacy in reducing opioid use and supporting long-term recovery.

Individual factors, such as prior treatment history, pregnancy or breastfeeding status, and treatment preferences, should be considered when choosing between Sublocade and Vivitrol. Collaboration with healthcare professionals and personalized treatment plans can help individuals make informed decisions and find the most suitable treatment option.

It is essential to consult with healthcare professionals to discuss the potential benefits, risks, and considerations of Sublocade and Vivitrol. By engaging in open dialogue and exploring all available information, individuals can make empowered decisions regarding their opioid addiction treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ 1: Can Sublocade and Vivitrol be used interchangeably?

Answer: Sublocade and Vivitrol are different medications with distinct formulations and mechanisms of action. They cannot be used interchangeably. Sublocade contains buprenorphine, while Vivitrol contains naltrexone. The choice between these medications should be based on individual factors and medical professional guidance.

FAQ 2: Are Sublocade and Vivitrol equally effective in treating opioid addiction?

Answer: Sublocade and Vivitrol have shown efficacy in reducing opioid use and supporting recovery. However, the effectiveness of each medication can vary depending on individual circumstances, treatment adherence, and other factors. It is essential to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the most appropriate treatment option.

FAQ 3: Do Sublocade and Vivitrol have similar side effects?

Answer: Sublocade and Vivitrol may have overlapping side effects, such as nausea and headache. However, specific side effects can differ due to the distinct pharmacological properties of each medication. Discussing potential side effects with healthcare professionals before starting either treatment is crucial.

FAQ 4: Can Sublocade and Vivitrol be used during pregnancy?

Answer: Both Sublocade and Vivitrol have specific considerations regarding use during pregnancy. Healthcare professionals should evaluate the risks and benefits and consider individual circumstances when treating pregnant individuals with opioid addiction.

FAQ 5: Is it possible to switch from Sublocade to Vivitrol or vice versa?

Answer: Transitioning from Sublocade to Vivitrol or vice versa should be under healthcare professionals’ guidance. The decision to switch medications depends on various factors, such as treatment response, individual needs, and medical considerations.

FAQ 6: Can Sublocade or Vivitrol be used as a standalone treatment for opioid addiction?

Answer: Sublocade and Vivitrol are often used as part of a comprehensive treatment approach for opioid addiction. They are typically combined with psychosocial support, counseling, and other recovery strategies to enhance treatment outcomes and long-term success.

FAQ 7: How long does Sublocade treatment usually last?

Answer: Sublocade treatment duration can vary depending on individual needs and treatment goals. It is typically used as a maintenance treatment for an extended period to support ongoing recovery and prevent relapse. The duration should be discussed with healthcare professionals.

FAQ 8: Is a prescription required for Sublocade and Vivitrol?

Answer: Both Sublocade and Vivitrol are prescription medications. They should be obtained and administered under the supervision of healthcare professionals specializing in treating opioid addiction.

FAQ 9: Can Sublocade or Vivitrol be used to treat other substance addictions?

Answer: Sublocade and Vivitrol are primarily indicated for treating opioid addiction. Their use for other substance addictions may vary and should be evaluated case-by-case by healthcare professionals with expertise in addiction medicine.

FAQ 10: What factors should be considered when choosing between Sublocade and Vivitrol?

Answer: Several factors, including prior treatment history, individual preferences, potential side effects, and medical considerations, should be considered when selecting between Sublocade and Vivitrol. Consulting with healthcare professionals can provide personalized guidance based on individual needs.