Safe and effective treatment of addiction often requires both counseling and medication. Finding a doctor who can administer Vivitrol has proven success in preventing relapse by reducing cravings for opioids as well as alcohol. This allows patients to focus on the psychological aspects of rehabilitation through counseling, emotional support, and developing ways to better cope with stress.


Background on Vivitrol and Why A Doctor Prescribes It

Patients treated with Vivitrol receive the medication once every 30 days via injection. Vivitrol can also be taken orally, as a pill. Vivitrolcontains naltrexone, which is anopioid antagonistthatbinds toopioid receptors in the brain.Once bound, the antagonist blocks opioid molecules(from drugs) from also attaching to the receptor site. Antagonists do not signal the release dopamine, offsettingthe euphoric and addictive effects of drugs and alcohol.

While Vivitrolis not addictive and does notresult inphysical dependence, there are risks associated with Vivitroltreatment.Only a trained healthcare provider (e.g., a doctor near you) can administer the drug.

When injected, patients commonlyreceive the recommended dose of 380 mg every 4 weeks via an intramuscular (IM) injectioninto the gluteal region (i.e., buttocks) and each subsequent injection alternates betweenthe right and left buttock

Within 4-6 hours of the injection, urine analysis will test for thenaltrexone in Vivitrol. Blood and saliva will alsotest fornaltrexonefor up to 24 hours.Since each dose of Vivitrolblocks opioid receptors for a month, patients have the time—and relief—they need to focus on the psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects of recovery.

While patients are required to detox prior to treatment with Vivitrol, the drug helps mitigateand reduceopioidcravings that often lead to a relapse. Since, however, Vivitrol requires a prescription, only a trained healthcare professional (such as a doctor) can determine if Vivitrol is the right treatment for you.Each unique case or addiction comes with a variety of factors to consider.

For example, a doctor may decide to implement Vivitrol as an alternative to other opioid antagonist drugs, such as methadone and buprenorphine; in other cases, a doctor may use Vivitrol as a supplement to a treatment plan. A Vivitrol doctor near you can help you decide how—or if—Vivitrol fits your unique treatment plan and situation.

The Benefits of Treatment by aVivitrolDoctor

When a Vivitrol treatment plan is administered and followed properly, statistics on the drug’s website claim patients prescribed Vivitrol were 17-timesless likely to suffer a relapse as compared to a placebo group.

Likewise, patients were shown to commit to longer stays in treatment (over 168 days), remained opioid-free 90% of the time, and self-reportedsignifyingly less cravings (a 55% decrease from baseline). By contrast, placebo groups only stayed in treatment 96 days, were opioid-freejust 35% of the time, and had a 3% increase(from baseline) of self-reported cravings.

SinceVivitrolis non-addictive, it also does not cause withdrawal. Often opioid agonist maintenanceleads to withdrawal and/orrequires tapering tosafely discontinue use, but Vivitrol does not have these side effects.

Additionally, treatment with Vivitrol is convenient and simple because of the drug’s extended release. That means patients don’t have the hassle of driving back and forth to a treatment facility or even the annoyance of remembering to take a pill each day.This lets patients focus more of their attention on other facets of recovery.

Considerations to Discuss with a Vivitrol Doctor

Like any drug or medication, Vivitrol has side effects and potential risks that you should consider when speaking with your doctor. For example, you cannot begin treatment with Vivitrol until you’ve beenopioid-free for at least 7-14 days. Otherwise taking Vivitrol can cause sudden opioid withdrawal, which may lead tohospitalization.

Also, it’simportant to communicate openly with a Vivitrol doctor near you about any—and every—medication, drug, or supplement that you’ve currently taken. This includes street drugs, prescription medicines, and even over-the-counter vitamins and supplements.Make sure your doctor knows aboutanymedicine you might have recently ingested for colds, cough, and/or diarrhea, as it may havecontained opioids.

Similarly, if you’re considering Vivitrol to treat alcohol dependency,and have recently taken a drug, medicine, or substance that contained anopioid,it’s crucial to tellyour doctor before you begin treatment with Vivitrol to avoid sufferinga severeopioid withdrawal.

Accidental overdose is another risk associated with opioid antagonists, which can occur if a patient attempts to overcome the opioid-blocking effects of Vivitrol by continued use of drugs or alcohol.Using opioids during Vivitrol treatmentposes an increased risk of accidental overdose, which can lead to severe injury and/or death.

You can further minimize the risk of side effects bykeeping yourdoctor aware of any pain, discomfort, or concerns you experiencewhile takingVivitrol. Especially pay attention to any reactions that might develop at the injection site and report them to a Vivitrol doctor near you immediately. It may be the early signs of tissue death, which could require surgery. Symptomsinclude pain, swelling, scabs, blistering, and/or lumps or hardness around the injection area.

Other common sideeffects associated withVivitrol treatment include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Joint and tooth aches
  • Headaches, disorientation, and dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cramping and muscle stiffness
  • Drowsiness and difficulties withsleep

While Vivitrolcan be an invaluable asset inaddiction therapy, it’s not right for every addiction, treatment plan, or patient. Finding aVivitrol doctornear youwill help youdecide if Vivitrolis a good fit foryou or someone you care about. For more information about Vivitrol, contact a Vivitrol doctor near you who can further explain your treatment options with Vivitrol.