Compare Naltrexone vs. methadone

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

Prescription only

Methadose (methadone)

Prescription only
Treats alcohol dependence and prevents relapse of addiction to opioids.

Vivitrol (Naltrexone) is good for treating opioid and alcohol dependence. It needs to be used as directed and can't be used with alcohol or opioid pain medications.

Treats severe pain or drug dependence.

Methadose (methadone) is a cheap and effective treatment for severe chronic pain, but has serious risks for fatal overdose and drug dependence.

Upsides
  • Available in two different forms: a tablet you take every day and as a shot your doctor gives you once a month.
  • Good for people who have a mild opioid use disorder and who are highly motivated, or who can be supervised as they take their medication.
  • Can be used with behavior modification therapy to treat opioid or alcohol use disorders.
  • Higher success rates are seen in people who use this under supervision.
  • The tablet is available as a generic.
  • Available as a cheap, generic version.
  • One of the stronger opioid medicines for treatment of severe pain.
  • Can also be used to treat opioid dependence as part of a complete recovery program.
Downsides
  • People who try to take opioids after taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone) are at risk for opioid overdose and death since it takes a large amount of opioids to overcome the effects of Vivitrol (Naltrexone).
  • You won't be able to use any medications with opioids for pain relief since Vivitrol (Naltrexone) prevents them from working.
  • The shot is only available as brand name only, so it can be expensive.
  • Not a good choice if you have liver problems, depression, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Methadose (methadone) can cause slowed breathing, coma, and death from overdose, especially if mixed with alcohol, sleeping pills, or muscle relaxants.
  • Constipation is a common side effect of Methadose (methadone) and you might need laxatives or stool softeners.
  • Not a good option for short-term pain relief.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Price
No pricing information available
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Reviews
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Side effects
9possible side effects
  • Nausea
    10%
  • Headache
    7%
  • Dizziness
    4%
  • Nervousness
    4%
  • Fatigue
    4%
  • Insomnia
    3%
  • Vomiting
    3%
  • Anxiety
    2%
  • Somnolence
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Methadose (methadone) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Opioid overdose
    • Prior use of opioid medications
    • Use of Vivitrol (Naltrexone)
  • Opioid withdrawal
    • Current use of opioid medications
    • New use of Vivitrol (Naltrexone)
  • Risk to unborn babies
    • Women of childbearing age
    • Breast-feeding while taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone)
  • Liver injury
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Death from lack of oxygen to the body (respiratory depression)
    • Start of treatment
    • Age 65 or greater
    • Dose changes and higher doses
  • Heart problems (arrhythmia)
    • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking Methadose (methadone) with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Death from overdose
    • Children age 18 and younger
    • Taking more than prescribed dose
    • Mixing with alcohol or drugs that interact with Methadose (methadone)
  • Abuse, tolerance, and addiction
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Long-term use
    • History of drug abuse or mental illness
See more detailed risks and warnings