Vivitrol, a prescription medication comprised of the opioid-antagonist naltrexone, has extended-release properties. When used in medication assisted treatment programs, Vivitrol is effective in treating alcoholism and opioid dependency. Naltrexone was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1984 and received further approval to be used for treatment of alcoholism in 2006 and treatment of opioid addiction in 2010.
When used as directed and under the supervision of medical professionals in a medication assisted treatment program, Vivitrol is a safe and effective medication for short and long-term use. Since naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol, can increase the risk of liver damage, it is recommended that a physician conducts a complete physical examination prior to prescribing Vivitrol.
Vivitrol is not safe for pregnant women and is not approved for individuals who have taken any form of opioid within the past seven days.
Like most other prescription medications, the use of Vivitrol can cause side effects. Your prescribing physician can educate you on these side effects, as well as help determine if Vivitrol is the appropriate medication for you.
The Effectiveness of Vivitrol Treatment
Numerous researchers have conducted studies to determine Vivitrol’s effectiveness. One study in particular reported that individuals taking Vivitrol experienced an average of 99.2% opioid-free days. Within the same study, it was shown that cravings were 10 times lower in individuals who took Vivitrol than in those who did not.
Another Vivitrol study showed that the majority of individuals receiving medication assisted therapy with Vivitrol had more success in their sobriety if it was taken for 12 months. While 50% of these individuals stayed opioid-free, none of them reported any reactions at the injection site. Instead, the majority of individuals said they experienced reduced drug cravings, decreased opioid use, and a better quality of life.
Benefits of Vivitrol Treatment plus Counseling
The use of Vivitrol is only one component to a more comprehensive treatment program. At Southern West Virginia Comprehensive Treatment Centers, individuals will also participate in group and individual therapy, as well as additional support services that will benefit their recovery. For these individuals and their loved ones, understanding the following information can help enhance the treatment process:
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program
Above all else, it is critical that you realize that treatment includes a number of components that will help you achieve and maintain your sobriety. You will need to make a commitment to yourself and your recovery, as well as make any and all changes necessary to follow through with that commitment. Understand that those whom you are working with are there to help you achieve your goals. Be prepared to take an honest look at your life, acknowledge your mistakes, and work towards positive changes. Utilize a mindset that supports your dedication to getting sober, ditch the excuses, and build a healthy tomorrow. Know that your road to recovery might not be easy, but that through your commitment, this road can lead you to great success.
How to Support Your Loved One during Medication Assisted Treatment
Witnessing a loved one battle with an opioid addiction can bring about a number of emotions, from anger and sadness to disbelief and heartbreak. Do not doubt any of your supportive actions throughout your loved one’s addiction, as it might have just been the support he or she needed to finally reach out for help. That very same support can also serve as encouragement for your loved one to continue in his or her success. When your loved one begins recovery at a medication assisted treatment program, educate yourself on the treatment process, prepare to support him or her in the ways that he or she needs, and seek out a support group/family therapy program to help yourself. Recognize that your loved one has affected your life and that you must care for yourself in order to provide support to him or her. Maintain strong mental, physical, and emotional health during this time. Know that your loved one’s treatment center can be an excellent resource for information and assistance for you during this time.
The Side Effects of Vivitrol
Below are the possible side effects that can develop in response to Vivitrol use:
- Pain, swelling, or scabbing near the injection site
- Liver damage
- Shortness of breath, persistent cough, or other respiratory issues
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Decreased appetite
- Muscle cramps
- Dental pain
For more information on Vivitrol’s side effects and how it can affect you, contact your physician or one of our compassionate staff members at Southern West Virginia Comprehensive Treatment Centers.