What is Vivitrol and Is It Effective?
What is Vivitrol? Vivitrol (Naltrexone) is a popular medication that serves as an opiate-antagonist. Much like how medications such as varenicline can be used to block nicotine receptors so that it becomes easier to quit smoking cigarettes, Vivitrol is used to prevent relapse by hampering the mechanisms that allows someone to get high off of opiates. It can be extremely useful because someone on Vivitrol may still enjoy other pleasurable activities in their life while also being nullified to opiates. At The Southeast Addiction Center, we employ Vivitrol shots as a method of relapse prevention to those who may need it. However, for those who have never taken Vivitrol or are wondering about its potential efficacy, this article is for you.
The Opioid Epidemic
In the United States, it is estimated that over 130 people die from opioid overdoses. Opioid addiction has become so severe that in 2017, the HHS declared a full-scale public health emergency. This was no surprise that President Trump and The Department of Health and Human Services announced the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency when considering that in 2016, opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths.
In the wake of this crisis, usage of opiates has created a dire need for methods of treatment for addiction as well as an uptick in the demand of drugs that can offer support for opiate addiction. For example, the HHS had announced a 5 point strategy to combat the opioid epidemic.
The first step of this 5 point strategy was, of course, providing access to better treatment for addiction and recovery services. The HHS issued hundreds of millions of dollars in grants in 2017 that would go towards supporting addiction treatment. One of the major positives of these grants was that they made it easier for states to receive treatment waivers that would allow for Medicaid programs to cover treatment.
Point 5 of the strategy is to cultivate better research on pain and addiction—two things which when combined, result in a heightened chance of addiction towards opiates or pain pills in particular.
In general, this 5 point plan is part of a greater need and strategy to protect
How Does Vivitrol Fit Into All of This?
Like many medications/drugs, Naltrexone was developed much earlier than many would think. Naltrexone was first synthesized in 1963 by Endo Laboratories. It has been used to treat opioid dependence for many years but has recently become more of a household name through brands such as Vivitrol which have gained much acclaim for their use in opioid addiction treatment.
Naltrexone was approved by the FDA to treat drug addiction stemming from heroin, morphine, and oxycodone in 1984. It has been thus far an effective complement to a regimen of one on one therapy, group counseling, and a 12-step program. Medication-Assisted Treatment. MAT has been an increasingly emphasized part of addiction treatment. It also further supports the idea that while drugs can be incredibly harmful when used incorrectly, there are also medications that can help you as well.
Vivitrol Can Help With Opioid Addiction
Vivitrol was approved by the FDA to treat alcohol use disorders in 2006, and a mere decade ago it was approved once again by the FDA for the treatment of opiate addiction. Studies have shown that people who receive treatment alongside Vivitrol were more likely to avoid relapsing. According to the Vivitrol website, “The median patient reported 90% opioid-free weeks, compared to 35% receiving the placebo.”
Vivitrol is a medication that works most effectively on the longer end of the short-term rather than immediately. Patients who stuck it through the first 3 weeks found themselves benefitting from medications such as Vivitrol as compared to Suboxone.
The Benefits of Vivitrol
At Southeast Addiction, we offer Vivitrol shots as part of our additional services. It is an ASAM, SAMHSA, and FDA recognized medication. We use Vivitrol (Naltrexone) because it is a non-narcotic that works effectively as a tool for preventing relapse. Anyone who has worked in addiction treatment (or has gotten sober themselves) knows that time is of the essence when treating addiction.
When a person is addicted to substances, their mind is not thinking straight, their body is not thinking straight, and habitually they are tied into their addiction as well. It is well known that the first few weeks of sobriety are the most difficult as well as the most fertile grounds for relapse. Cravings are the highest, withdrawal symptoms are prevalent, and the addict is in disarray because they have been typically been rooted out of their old habits and life.
The Vivitrol shot is a great supporting tool for treating addiction and preventing relapse because it can ensure that more treatment patients make it through those initial weeks and months without relapse. However, it is important that before receiving a Vivitrol shot or taking oral Naltrexone, you must be opioid-free for 1-2 weeks so that sudden withdrawals can be avoided.
Vivitrol For Alcohol Use Disorders
Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist, but that doesn’t mean it can only be used for preventing relapse for opioid addiction. In fact, Vivitrol was approved for treatment of alcohol use disorders before it was approved for opioid addiction. While the exact mechanism by which Vivitrol prevents alcohol cravings is unknown, it is thought to be a product of reducing cravings through interfering with the association between pleasure and drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol while under the effects of Vivitrol is known to be significantly less pleasurable, and therefore over time, your perception of drinking alcohol as a pleasurable activity will diminish.
Medication-Assisted Treatment in Norcross, Georgia
At The Southeast Addiction Center, we are here for you no matter what stage of your recovery journey you’re at. The most important thing we emphasize is that recovery requires a specialized approach per person. While everyone who comes to us struggles with addiction in some manner, it’s important to approach each person with an individualized approach.
Our Partial Hospitalization Program and Intensive Outpatient Programs are sure to be right for you depending on how much of a time commitment you can make. If you’re fresh out of detox or just starting your journey into recovery, we highly recommend our PHP as this is a fantastic place to create distance from your old life and habits by putting in significant contact hours per week. Moreover, we are networked with many reputable structured sober living homes in the area and can help you find a place to stay.
We strongly believe in the efficacy of a good PHP combined with a structured sober living home for those who are entering the first phase of recovery. A big reason for this is that going home in the beginning stages of recovery can leave you susceptible to unpleasant associations that are still fresh in your mind from when you were using. It is also for this reason that we offer Vivitrol shots so that those who are suffering from alcohol use disorders or opiate addiction can have a tool to help curb the chances of relapse.
Contact us today to make the first step, whether this is your first time or your tenth time, we’re here for you every time. Call (888)-757-6836 to get help today.
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