Vivitrol, which is also known as Naltrexone, is a medication used in the treatment of addicts and alcoholics in order to reduce cravings. Vivitrol is typically administered through a once-a-month injection by a medical professional. Vivitrol is commonly used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) due to its ability to block opioid receptors in the brain. This medication is classified as an opioid antagonist, meaning it binds certain neural receptors that inhibit euphoria. This causes a person to not be able to achieve the high feeling associated with taking opiates.
The most common medications used in medication-assisted treatment are Suboxone, Methadone, and Vivitrol. While they are all used during the same treatment process, each drug has different qualities and uses. Methadone is an opiate medication, meaning it is used as a tapering medication to lessen withdrawals during a patient’s detoxification process. Suboxone is only a partial opioid antagonist, meaning it will lessen the effects of opiates but won’t necessarily completely block opioid receptors – like Vivitrol. Because Vivitrol completely blocks the opioid receptors, it is known to lessen the cravings that many addicts experience long after the detoxification process.
Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist that binds to opioid receptors in the brain, which is precisely where alcohol and painkillers bind in order to produce the pleasurable euphoric feeling that users crave. This artificial stimulation of dopamine is exactly what causes users to become addicted, causing cravings to develop that are extremely difficult to ignore. These cravings are typically the most potent during early recovery because the brain is still accustomed to having the artificial surges of dopamine.
Vivitrol works by binding to these opioid receptors without producing the corresponding surge of dopamine that other drugs do. Because of this, this medication reduces cravings. In the case of a relapse, this medication would take away the pleasure of using opiates or drinking alcohol. However, one of the risks of this feature is that if n active addict was attempting to get high while using Vivitrol they may attempt to take too large of a dose of opiates. This could lead to overdose, which is why Vivitrol is only meant to be used once patients have completed detox and are medically sober. Vivitrol is most effective when used in concurrence with other forms of addiction treatment, including evidence-based therapies.
Every medication comes with side effects, but while under a physician’s care, any side effects that may interfere with your treatment can be promptly addressed and solved.
Some of the common side effects associated with Vivitrol include the following:
The more severe side-effects are only experienced by a small number of patients. Always keep in mind that if your doctor has prescribed you a medication, they believe that your need for the medication outweighs the potential risk of side-effects.
Severe side effects of Vivitrol include:
If you experience any of the severe side-effects, notify your doctor immediately.
If you are currently under the influence of drugs or medications that include opioids, Vivitrol should not be administered to you. This includes any prescription pain medication as well as street opiates such as heroin. In order to determine if a patient is ready to begin Vivitrol treatment, your doctor may give you a small injection of Naloxone. If you begin to experience signs of opioid withdrawal, you are not ready to begin Vivitrol treatment.
Signs of Opioid Withdrawal:
Treatment with Vivitrol should always be taken in concurrence with behavioral therapy that addresses the root of addiction or alcoholism. Without behavioral therapy, there is a huge risk of a patient relapsing due to unresolved traumas and possible co-occurring disorders. Relapse prevention plans should be implemented by an addiction counselor while in treatment.
Patients taking Vivitrol must have undergone a complete medical detox in order to ensure that they do not develop an acute abstinence syndrome . Acute abstinence syndrome is the development of an exacerbated opiate withdrawal experience, which can be extremely uncomfortable and ultimately cause a patient to relapse in the attempt to soothe their symptoms. Because of this, patients must be medically free from opiates for seven to ten days.
Vivitrol is only administered by a medical professional who possesses the required training and licenses. This medication is given in the form of a shot in the gluteal region.
There are many different types of MAT medications administered while in treatment. Vivitrol may be the best option for you, so if you are interested in utilizing an opioid antagonist it is recommended to do so under the care of a medication-assisted detox facility. Your substance abuse treatment medical professional or your primary care doctor will decide which medication best suits your needs. If you are seeking medication-assisted treatment, you can easily find a treatment center local to you that provides the care you seek.