A Lifesaving Opioid and Alcohol Recovery Resource
Vivitrol® is the latest, and arguably most successful, attempt to provide safe and effective medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to struggling addicts. It is an extended-release injection of the anti-opioid drug naltrexone that is administered via regular injections. Because Vivitrol is an injection, unlike sublingual MAT drugs like buprenorphine, it’s potential for diversion and addiction are greatly decreased. The drug has proven remarkably effective in reducing alcohol and opioid dependency. Vivitrol is not meant to replace traditional treatment, but should be administered as part of a larger overall treatment program. Eligibility for Vivitrol treatment is determined by patients’ physicians and treatment professionals.
How Does Vivitrol Work?
Vivitrol works by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain to block their effects. Although it prevents the feelings of euphoria that patients experience when taking opioids, it doesn’t diminish the pleasurable sensations associated with other activities. The dose of Vivitrol gradually decreases over the course of a month until it is time for a new dose. The extremely controlled use of Vivitrol has made it a safe, effective and responsible alternative to maintenance drugs like methadone or even buprenorphine. It’s important that patients quit drinking before taking Vivitrol for alcoholism. Patients taking the drug for opioid dependency should not initiate the process until after they’ve completed a comprehensive course of medically supervised detox.
Side Effects of Vivitrol
Like practically every other type of medication, Vivitrol comes with a variety of potential side effects, which can include:
- Decreased appetite
- Painful joints
- Muscle cramps
- Cold symptoms
- Trouble sleeping
If you or a loved one is experiencing these or any other symptoms related to your Vivitrol use, consult your prescribing physician immediately.