Vivitrol Treatment

Substance abuse is a major problem in the United States. It affects not only the individuals struggling with the disorder, but also their loved ones and society as a whole. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

Vivitrol is an option for treating some substance use problems. It is a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) that uses the active ingredient naltrexone to minimize the rewarding effects of opioids and alcohol as well as reduce cravings.

How Vivitrol Works

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it attaches to the same receptors in the brain that opioids and alcohol do. By doing so, it blocks the feelings of pleasure and euphoria that these substances provide, rendering them less rewarding to addiction sufferers.

Vivitrol is an extended-release injection given once a month, which is different from other MATs such as methadone, buprenorphine products, or oral naltrexone that must be taken daily. This is beneficial for people who may have difficulty sticking to a daily medication regimen and may not have frequent access to other treatments. The long-acting benefit from Vivitrol also helps with accountability for those that are inconsistent with taking medication and it also helps prevent a planned or even unplanned relapse. Additionally, the manufacturer of Vivitrol promotes its consistent blood levels over the 28 days course being a benefit over the inconsistent levels from daily dosing with oral medication.

Indications for Vivitrol

Vivitrol was approved by the FDA for the treatment of both alcohol and opioid use disorder. It was approved in 2006 for use in treatment for alcohol use disorder and in 2010 for opioid use disorder.

Vivitrol has also been shown to have other uses. A study published by the National Library of Medicine found that Vivitrol is effective in treating gambling addiction, as well, but is not approved for this indication.

Administration and Dosage of Vivitrol

Vivitrol is available as a monthly injection and is available in only one dose. The recommended dosage is 380 mg and is given as a 4 mL gluteal intramuscular injection, delivering medication continuously over the approved dosing interval. It must be administered by a healthcare professional. 

It’s important to note that Vivitrol should only be used in individuals who are already opioid-free for at least 7-14 days, as starting the medication before this can cause withdrawal symptoms.

As with any medication, there can be side effects such as nausea and headaches. Most of the side effects of Vivitrol are minor, while some may not experience any at all. It is important to discuss any concerns with your mental healthcare provider.

A trial of taking oral naltrexone is completed before administration of the first Vivitrol injection to confirm the active ingredient is tolerable. This is often down while waiting for the first injection to arrive from the pharmacy.

Effectiveness of Vivitrol

Alcohol Use Disorder

In a study of people with alcohol use disorder, those who received Vivitrol were more likely to remain in treatment and had a significantly lower rate of heavy drinking compared to those who received a placebo.

Opioid Use Disorder

In a study of people with opioid use disorder, those who received Vivitrol had a lower rate of opioid use and fewer days of use compared to those who received a placebo.

How Long Will I be on Vivitrol?

There is no mandated length for how long you must use Vivitrol. The decision for how long someone uses Vivitrol as part of their recovery plan is an individualized one. There are recommendations for at least 6 months where the norm is 12 months. There is long term data and reports on those that have been using Vivitrol for many years and this is now common practice.

Studies have shown that Vivitrol can be effective in reducing relapse rates and improving overall outcomes in people with alcohol and opioid use disorder.

Therapists sitting in a circle discussing substance abuse treatment with vivitrol.

Need More Information About Vivitrol?

Vivitrol can be very effective in reducing relapse rates and improving overall outcomes in people with alcohol and opioid use disorder. If you think Vivitrol would benefit you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Carencia. We are licensed healthcare professionals that are able to administer the Vivitrol dosage at our local office.

It is important to note that medication alone is not a cure for substance use problems, and a comprehensive treatment plan that includes therapy and support groups is crucial for long-term success.

Fill out our New Patient Request Form below and we will contact you within 24 hours to set up your initial appointment. We look forward to hearing from you and helping get you back on the right track.

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