What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is the brand name for the time-released, injectable form of generic naltrexone. A monthly, non-addictive opioid antagonist drug, used in some treatment programs for those addicted to opioids. Vivitrol for opioid addiction curbs the cravings that make a sustainable recovery such a challenging journey.
How Does It Work?
The drug occupies the receptors in the brain that are usually affected by the opioid use. Furthermore, because of its blocking effects, it can make opioid drugs much less desirable, which can help avoid a relapse.
Opioid antagonists such as Vivitrol and oral naltrexone can be a great addition to a successful opioid treatment. Thus, we have been providing our patients with these forms of drugs for nearly 20 years, in conjunction with the Waismann Method®. It is essential to understand that before taking these medications patients need to be fully opioid-free.
What to Know Before Taking Vivitrol?
It is imperative that physicians only give Vivitrol to those who have already gone through detox and are fully opioid-free. Therefore, anyone who has taken any opioids of any kind within the previous 7 to 10 days should not use the drug. Please consider discussing with your healthcare provider specific options based on your medical and dependence history.
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This medication should be used only as recommended and under direct medical supervision. Often, the benefits of Vivitrol often outweigh the risks. However, if used by those who are not ready to be opioid-free, it can be dangerous or even life-threatening.
Vivitrol for Opioid Addiction and Its Use in Rapid Detox
As part of the Waismann Method® rapid detox treatment, before we give patients the injectable Vivitrol, a short period of oral naltrexone is recommended. This preventative measure allows us to closely monitor patients for unexpected side effects and the adequate antagonist dosage. In addition, it gives patients time to be sure they are committed to sobriety, which will make the monthly blockage effects of Vivitrol safer.
If you are thinking about taking Vivitrol, consider the following benefits:
- Vivitrol’s main advantage is that it eliminates or substantially reduces the constant craving for opioids
- Patients do not need to concern themselves with taking a daily dose of the oral medication, naltrexone, which may make it easier to comply with your treatment plan
- Vivitrol can help you break your dependence on habit-forming drugs without running the risk of a secondary addiction to drugs like suboxone or methadone
Risks and Drawbacks
These are some negative factors you should consider.
- Opioid overdose – The most significant risk of using Vivitrol is an opioid overdose. This can occur in one of two ways:
- Patients who decide to use again can try to overcome the blocking effects by taking large amounts of their opioid of choice in order to reach a “high”
- If they stop their use of Vivitrol, for a period of time, their tolerance to opioids is lower. As a result, even a small amount of opioids used can result in an overdose
- Liver damage – Your healthcare provider should monitor your liver function while taking Vivitrol. Additionally, be sure to report any stomach pain lasting more than a few days, unusual fatigue or dark urine
- Reactions at the injection site – Inform your physician if you have swelling, redness, lumps or pain at the injection site
- Opioid withdrawal – Using any opioid medication while on Vivitrol, including some types of cough syrup, over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements, can cause sudden withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal can be dangerous and might require immediate medical attention
- Vivitrol may not be safe for women who are presently pregnant or breastfeeding
Some Possible Side Effects
Although not everyone experiences side effects, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Allergic reactions
- Nausea, which can subside after the first few days
- Joint pain
- Decreased appetite
- Trouble sleeping
For more information about treatment options, especially using Vivitrol for opioid addiction, contact us at the Waismann Method® center and speak confidentially with one of our experts. 1-800-423-2482 or email us at [email protected]
For accurate and most up to date information on Vivitrol uses, benefits and risks, please speak with your healthcare provider; additionally, you can learn more at www.vivitrol.com.