What is Vivitrol used for?
- Treating alcohol dependence
- To prevent relapse to opioid dependence and other street drugs (after detoxification)
*It is important to note that Vivitrol will be most effective when combined with other alcoholism or drug recovery programs.
How does it work?
Vivitrol comes as a Naltrexone injection in liquid form. It is injected into the muscle tissue of the buttocks by a healthcare provider once every four weeks. It is important to keep the appointments that are made over these time periods.”It is believed that VIVITROL works by providing continuous levels of its active ingredient naltrexone. Naltrexone blocks activity in the brain’s reward system (the “limbic system”) which is thought to play a central role in alcohol dependence”
What are the risks?
- Severe reactions at the injection site
- Liver damage or hepatitis
- Risk of opioid overdose (using opioids in amounts that you used before treatment with VIVITROL can lead to overdose and death)
- Severe allergic pneumonia
- Serious allergic reactions
- And many other less severe reactions including: anxiety, nausea, coughing, hives, chest pain, stomach pain, and dry mouth
Vivitrol is a relatively new drug so there are added risks. However, it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has been studied in individuals 18 and older. Although many of the risks are very severe, this treatment may make the recovery process easier for those that choose to receive it. Relapse is a very serious problem that people face with addiction and being able to help avoid it is an idea way ahead of its time. It seems too good to be true, but since technology has advanced, it seems to be worth giving it a shot. Vivitrol offers an answer to people struggling with addiction when they wonder: how am I going to get through this? It may be all the help we need.