How It Works and Is It Safe?
Vivitrol, an opioid-antagonist, is an extended-release prescription medication that has been utilized in medication assisted treatment programs for the treatment of both opioid addiction and alcoholism. The primary ingredient in Vivitrol is naltrexone (which received approval in 1984 from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in opioid treatment programs), and is administered via a once-monthly injection. Vivitrol received approval for use in alcohol treatment in 2006, and again for opioid addiction treatment in 2010.
When taken as prescribed and under the supervision of a certified medical professional within a medication assisted treatment program, Vivitrol is safe for both short- and long-term use. However, a complete physical examination is required prior to receiving Vivitrol, as naltrexone can increase an individual’s risk for liver damage. Should an individual experience any issues, he or she should inform his or her physician immediately.
Vivitrol has not been approved for use by pregnant women or individuals who have consumed opioids within the past week.
Like most all medications, there are a number of side effects associated with Vivitrol. By speaking with your physician, you can discuss the safety and potential side effects of Vivitrol in detail so you and your physician can better determine if Vivitrol is appropriate for your treatment needs.
The Effectiveness of Vivitrol Treatment
Vivitrol has been proven highly effective by numerous studies. For instance, one recent study showed that individuals who received Vivitrol in a medication assisted treatment program experienced an average of 99.2% opioid-free days. In addition, cravings to use opioids amongst those who were taking Vivitrol were decreased 10-fold in comparison to those who were not receiving Vivitrol.
Another study showed that the majority of patients who were taking Vivitrol within a medication assisted treatment program continued to be successful in the 12 months following the start of the study. Half of the patients were able to stay clear of opioid use, none reported any issues at the injection site, and the majority disclosed positive results that included a decrease of cravings and an increase in overall quality of life.
Benefits of Vivitrol Treatment Plus Counseling
While Vivitrol is highly effective in treating opioid addiction, it is only one aspect of a much more involved comprehensive treatment plan. At Portland Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we involve all of our patients in group and individual therapy sessions, as well as other services that can be beneficial to their recovery.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Above all else, it is imperative that you understand that treatment is just one aspect of many efforts that will help you achieve long-term sobriety. The entire process of recovery will force you to commit to yourself, your health, and your recovery so that you can make sobriety your reality. To obtain the most from your experience in treatment, recognize that those who are there to help you are the ones who will aid you in achieving your goals. You will have to look deeply in the mirror and analyze the life that you have been living so you can address the decisions that have led to your unhealthy ways. Prepare yourself to be ready to make a number of changes when you begin your treatment, and hold fast to a positive mindset that supports your desire to stop abusing opioids. You can put the excuses behind you and begin making changes that will build yourself a bright future. The path towards recovery might include obstacles and challenges, however if you remain determined and focused on your treatment goals, you will achieve success.
How to Support Your Loved One during Medication Assisted Treatment: Watching your loved one struggle with an opioid addiction can be heartbreaking, upsetting, and overwhelming. Do not think for one second that the efforts you have made to help support your loved one have been overlooked. In fact, it might have just been your determination that encouraged your loved one to get help in the first place. Your support could have easily been the force that encouraged him or her to get sober rather than continue the abuse of opioids. Once your loved one joins a medication assisted treatment program, begin learning as much as you can about what treatment will entail, prepare to support the changes that your loved one will experience, and stay connected to help for yourself by attending a support group or family therapy. While your loved one has caused a great deal of damage to his or her own life, he or she has also negatively impacted yours. As a result, you should not neglect your own emotional wellbeing. Your loved one’s treatment center can be an incredible resource for education, information, and assistance that you might need at this time.
The Side Effects of Vivitrol
Below are the possible side effects of Vivitrol use:
- Muscle cramps
- Dental pain
- Decreased appetite
- Shortness of breath, persistent cough, or other respiratory problems
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Pain, swelling, or scabbing near the injection site
- Liver damage
For more information regarding Vivitrol and its possible side effects, as well as how this medication can impact you, contact Portland Comprehensive Treatment Centers to obtain more information. We look forward to hearing from you.