Once you’ve decided to live a life free from drugs and alcohol, you may want to consider asking a clinical professional about medication-assisted treatment as a part of your recovery. These medications can’t get you clean on their own but may help to reduce cravings, lessen the adverse side effects of withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.
What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol (Naltrexone) is the first and only non-addictive, once-monthly medication that, when combined with counseling, can help prevent relapse to opioid dependence, after detox. Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist, meaning it binds to opioid receptors and blocks them from activating. In other words, Vivitrol prevents users from getting high using opioids.
Vivitrol is non-addictive and does not lead to physical dependence, which differentiates Vivitrol from other MAT options such as Suboxone or Methadone. Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors in the brain for one month at a time, helping patients to prevent relapse to opioid dependence, following detox, while they focus on their road to recovery.
At Landmark, we encourage opioid users to take Vivitrol post-discharge, as we believe Vivitrol significantly reduces the chance of relapse. While Suboxone and Methadone can merely replace one addiction with another, Vivitrol is non-addictive, allowing the patient to live a life that is truly substance free. At Landmark, we set patients up for their first Vivitrol appointment and ensure follow up during our regularly scheduled Alumni calls.
For more information about Vivitrol, visit:
How Does Vivitrol Work?
Vivitrol, like all forms of naltrexone, works by blocking the opioid receptors within the brain. The medicine binds to these receptors like glue and remains on them, ensuring that no high is attainable from taking another opioid. This is in contrast to medications such as Methadone and Buprenorphine which enact a mild euphoria from using. The drug is administered in only one dose, 380 mg, and must be administered by a clinical professional. The shot is taken once a month, and acts on extended release over that period, continually delivering medication.
Before taking the drug, the patient must be opioid-free for a minimum of 7-10 days. The concentrations slowly decline a couple of weeks after injecting. The drug is used for alcohol and opioid dependence. However, it can be dangerous when patients are given Vivitrol but still attempt to get high on opioids or consume alcohol. This is because the blocking effect may lead to the patient overindulging to attain a high, which will only lead to serious injury or death.
Unlike methadone, Vivitrol is not a controlled substance, meaning it can’t be abused and there is no black market for it. It wasn’t until researchers created an injectable, long-acting version that clinical studies showed the drug’s promise. Vivitrol has been tested in a six-month double-blind study, where people who used Vivitrol with counseling to treat alcoholism had a more significant reduction in the number of relapses, and more time spent abstinent from alcohol.
Is Vivitrol Right For You?
As with any recovery treatment medication, many scientists and psychiatrists caution against labeling Vivitrol as a magic bullet or overstating its efficacy. It’s not the sole factor that can decide the outcome of treatment. However, taking the shot monthly can be extremely helpful for those facing daily cravings for opioids or alcohol.
Vivitrol vs. Suboxone
The most extensive study comparing the efficacy of both Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) and Vivitrol was conducted from 2014 to 2017 at eight inpatient treatment facilities across the country. 570 opioid-addicted patients were administered either drug, and their progress was tracked. The results showed that both drugs were promising for long-term treatment, with about half of each population reaching and maintaining sobriety for the three years.
Vivitrol (Naltrexone) vs. Narcan (Naloxone)
Naltrexone and Naloxone are both used for the treatment of substance abuse. Both of these medications are opioid antagonists that prevent the user from achieving a high. The only difference lies in the timeframe they work. Naloxone, brand name Narcan, is used for short-term relief, generally to help reverse the effects of an overdose. Naltrexone is a longer-term opioid antagonist that usually takes a couple of hours to kick in. Naltrexone, brand name Vivitrol, is administered in the form of a large shot taken once a month.
How Can I Get More Information?
Call our confidential admissions line at 888-448-0302 We can often arrange for you to begin treatment within a few days.