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Vivitrol treatment for Opioid & Alcohol addiction

An estimated 10% of adults in the United States are addicted to drugs and alcohol. When it comes to drug abuse and addiction, opioid drugs like heroin and prescription narcotics are the number one culprit behind the increase in overdose death rates since the early 2000s. 

Vivitrol is becoming one of the more important medicines for the treatment of these addictions. It is one of the 3 FDA-approved medicines for treating opioid dependence, specifically preventing relapses to it. The injection is meant for detoxed patients who want to avoid relapsing to physical dependence on these drugs, a treatment long viewed as an “outlier” next to more traditional medicines. But as opioid-related hospital deaths increase and the federal government rallies lawmakers around the cause, medication assisted treatment (MAT) with Vivitrol is increasingly taking center-stage as a reliable and effective rehab solution. 

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Basic facts about Vivitrol:

Vivitrol is a once-monthly medication for Opioids addiction.

  • MAT with Vivitrol is safe and effective.
  • Patients receiving Vivitrol are about 15x less likely to relapse.
  • Patients tend to stay in treatment longer while on Vivitrol, compared to those who did not receive the medication.
  • Opioid cravings decreased by 55% among those taking Vivitrol.
  • Treatment takes from nine to twelve months.
  • You must be free of opioid substances such as heroin and alcohol for at least one or two weeks before starting.
  • Behavioral therapy increases the effectiveness if combined with Vivitrol.

The patient must definitely go through detox first. Then, the injection stops cravings and blocks the body’s opioid receptors, so even if users try to get high, they cannot feel it anymore. 

Vivitrol is not addictive like suboxone and methadone. Black market is nonexistent. At first, addicts get very angry for not getting high. But later on, many are thankful. The luckiest among them haven’t even thought about sticking a needle in their arms ever since.

How does Vivitrol (injectable Naltrexone) work?

For treatment to be a success, patients in recovery require integrated, holistic treatment plans like those available at La Jolla Recovery. 

In some cases, they will include prescriptions for medicines that are designed specifically to treat people in recovery for opioid or alcohol addiction. One medication that’s been manufactured and distributed for this purpose is Naltrexone.

Naltrexone can be taken as either a tablet or an injectable, and most patients are given a dose of 50 milligrams once per day. 

The injectable form of the drug is called Vivitrol. 

Vivitrol is given intramuscularly at 380 milligrams once every four weeks. Only licensed healthcare practitioners can administer Naltrexone in any of its forms.

Taking Naltrexone without fully detoxing from opioids or alcohol can cause severe withdrawal side effects. Patients will need to abstain from drugs for at least seven to ten days before. Including those who have used Methadone and are switching to Naltrexone.

Opioid drugs produce a highly addictive euphoria that completely rewires the brain’s risk and reward neural pathways. For people addicted to opioids, it can be incredibly challenging to go through the withdrawal process and manage cravings without help from medications combined with customized therapy sessions. 

Risk of Overdose and Vivitrol vs Methadone & Buprenorphine

Also, people who have achieved initial sobriety from opioids, but relapse, are at high risk of experiencing a fatal overdose. The body quickly loses its tolerance levels to opioid drugs once someone enters a recovery period. Users who are relapsing can take more of an opioid than their body can handle, thinking they still have a tolerance to the drugs. But taking Naltrexone can reduce this risk.

Naltrexone works by blocking the euphoric, soothing effects of opioid drugs. 

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is different from Methadone and Buprenorphine. The difference of Buprenorphine and Suboxone is that Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, whereas Subutex contains only buprenorphine. These medicines activate opioid receptors in the body and help reduce cravings for drugs. Instead, Naltrexone binds and blocks opioid receptors, reducing cravings, and preventing opioid drugs from taking effect if someone relapses. 

With Naltrexone, there is no risk of abuse or diversion, because the medication doesn’t activate the opioid receptors in the brain at all. People on Naltrexone should not only maintain abstinence from opioids, but they should also avoid sedatives, tranquilizers, and other illegal drugs.

However, taking Naltrexone will also lower someone’s tolerance to opioids. Patients who relapse may not realize how much more sensitive they are to opioid drugs. 

As part of a treatment plan for alcohol addiction, Naltrexone also works to block the pleasurable effects of alcohol and feelings of intoxication. Naltrexone won’t interact poorly with alcohol if someone relapses. Experts agree that for Naltrexone to be most effective, patients should be on Naltrexone therapy for at least twelve weeks. Naltrexone is safe to use indefinitely for treating both alcoholism and opioid addiction. Attending personal needs and time in recovery are essential to the effective long-term outcomes of these medications such as treatment, therapy and social modal supports.

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a female doctor wearing a medical mask naltrexone vivitrol rehab

If you or a loved one is going through the challenges of heroin addiction, La Jolla Recovery can provide the ideal plan for a new beginning. Contact us today for more information on our comprehensive heroin rehab program.