Some opioid addiction drugs harder to start than others, study finds

The first large head-to-head comparison of two opioid addiction medications found that, although they were equally effective in getting people off of high levels of opioids, users had a significantly more difficult time starting a regimen of naltrexone, compared with buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine is commonly known by the the brand name Suboxone, and naltrexone is sold under the brand name Vivitrol. The study, published Tuesday in the Lancet, looked at 570 patients with opioid addiction at eight inpatient treatment centers across the country for 24 weeks. Half of the group was assigned to naltrexone and the other half to bupenorphine. Six percent of those enlisted to use buprenorphine were unable to start their treatment, whereas 28% of those assigned to naltrexone droppe...