How It Works and Is It Safe?
Utilizing an extended-release version of naltrexone, Vivitrol is an opioid-antagonist medication that is prescribed to treat opioid addiction. First approved for use in opioid treatment programs in 1984 by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Vivitrol is given once monthly via injection as a part of medication assisted treatment programming. Vivitrol was first approved for use in alcohol treatment in 2006 and for opioid addiction treatment in 2010. When taken under the guidance of a medical professional within a medication assisted treatment program, Vivitrol is an extremely safe and effective option for patients struggling with an addiction to opioids for both short and long-term use. Since naltrexone does increase a patient’s risk for damage to their liver, it is important for individuals to complete a full physical examination prior to taking Vivitrol.
Since naltrexone is not safe for use by pregnant women, those who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant should discuss other medication options with their physician. Individuals who have taken opioids in the past seven days should also refrain from utilizing Vivitrol as well. As is the case with most prescription medications, side effects can take place, which is why patients are urged to discuss the safety and side effects of Vivitrol with their physician in order to determine if Vivitrol is the appropriate treatment route to take.
The Effectiveness of Vivitrol Treatment
Numerous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Vivitrol when used as directed. One recent study reported that patients who were prescribed Vivitrol reported an average of 99.2% opioid-free days. It was also noted that opioid cravings among those taking Vivitrol were much lower than those who did not take Vivitrol.
Another study concluded that the majority of patients who were prescribed Vivitrol within their medication assisted treatment program continued to experience success while receiving Vivitrol for 12 months following the conclusion of the study. 50% of the patients remained completely opioid-free, zero patients reported any serious reactions at the site of injection, and the majority of patients reported positive results, including a reduction in drug cravings and an improvement in quality of life.
Benefits of Vivitrol Treatment Plus Counseling
Western Virginia Comprehensive Treatment Centers believe that in order for Vivitrol to be fully effective, therapeutic interventions must also be incorporated into treatment as well. By utilizing both group and individual therapy, patients are provided the opportunity to gain insight and support into the emotional aspects of addiction and recovery.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: In order to be successful within a comprehensive treatment program, patients must first understand the long-term recovery takes both time and effort. The process will require individuals to commit to their health and recovery while making the changes necessary to achieve sobriety. It is also important to understand that the medical professionals within treatment are there to help you progress towards long-term recovery. By taking an honest and open look at past actions, patients are given the opportunity to make changes moving forward without the aid of opioids. When patients first enter treatment, they must change their mindset by ceasing all excuses and acknowledge the fact that changes must be made in order to achieve their goals. Finally, patients must realize that the path to long-term recovery is not a short or easy one. Although there may be setbacks along the way, individuals must remain committed to their treatment and progress and in doing so, recovery can be achieved.
How to Support Your Loved One during Medication Assisted Treatment: Although watching someone you love struggle with an addiction may cause frustration and heartbreak, you must remind yourself that your support and dedication very well may be the reason why they finally entered treatment. Your support may be the difference between returning to opioids and continuing with treatment. When someone you love enters a treatment program, you must obtain support for yourself as well. Through family and individual counseling services, you will be able to gain the education and support required in order for you to support your loved one throughout their recovery journey.
The Side Effects of Vivitrol
The following have been reported as potential side effects associated with the use of Vivitrol:
- Dental pain
- Liver damage
- Pain, swelling, or scabbing near the injection site
- Shortness of breath, persistent cough, or other respiratory problems
- Decreased appetite
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Muscle cramps
For more specific information about Vivitrol as well as information about the other treatment options available at Western Comprehensive Treatment Centers, please contact our dedicated intake team today.