What is Vivitrol?

Our brains have receptors that decrease pain and create a sense of euphoria when opioids attach to them. This sense of euphoria is what makes opioid medications so highly addictive. Vivitrol is a non-addictive brand name formulation for Naltrexone administered as a medically assisted treatment (MAT) via an injectable, intramuscular solution once a month to help maintain abstinence from opioids while recovering from an opioid or alcohol dependence.

How does Vivitrol Work?

Vivitrol is not an opioid medication. Like Buprenorphine, Vivitrol attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain, thereby preventing opioids from being able to attach to those same receptors.

Initially introduced as a means to prevent relapse in those recovering from an alcohol use disorder, Vivitrol minimizes alcohol cravings. Alcohol also releases endorphins that result in a similar euphoria, making it difficult to turn away from continued use. Vivitrol is a naltrexone medication which lasts for a month, making it easier for those attempting to break an opioid dependence. Medically assisted treatment is a viable outpatient option for people who are concerned about their ability to endure withdrawal symptoms and/or those who are at risk of relapse.

What Are the Side Effects?

Abstinence from opioids and alcohol should be maintained for 7 to 10 days after detoxification before beginning treatment with Vivitrol to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Side effects of naltrexone include:

  • Cold symptoms
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion or trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness or nervousness
  • Serious allergic reaction
  • Sleepiness
  • Upset stomach
  • Toothache
  • Vomiting

Other possible side effects include severe reactions at the injection site that can include tissue death, sudden opioid withdrawal, pneumonia caused by an allergic reaction, and liver damage or hepatitis.

Misuse Potential & Safety

When a person taking any form of naltrexone medication suffers a relapse, the euphoria normally associated with opioids and alcohol does not occur due to the blocking effect of the medication. Naltrexone does not cause any euphoria, unlike opioid agonist medications commonly used to treat addiction. Since Vivitrol blocks the effects of opioids, the use of opioids can lead to accidental overdose, serious injury, coma, or death due to increased sensitivity to opioids. This increased opioid sensitivity can occur:

  • after detoxification
  • when the next Vivitrol dosage is due
  • if a dose is missed
  • after treatment is stopped

Treatment with Vivitrol: Limited to naltrexone

Our team of dedicated, caring professionals at Achieve Whole Recovery in Colorado Springs is here to provide treatments utilizing the benefits of Naltrexone injections to help you or a loved one overcome addiction. Medication assisted treatment and therapy has been proven to work in many situations where an addiction to alcohol, opioids, heroin, or prescription painkillers is present. Addiction can affect anyone regardless of age, income, race, background, or gender. Every person is unique, with unique needs and circumstances. If Vivitrol treatment is best for you, this can be determined by speaking with a recovery specialist at Achieve Whole Recovery about a comprehensive treatment plan that may include therapy and other services along with inpatient and/ or outpatient treatment.

References:

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/addiction-medications/vivitrol

https://www.vivitrol.com/

https://www.vivitrol.com/opioid-dependence/what-is-vivitrol

If you or a loved one is ready to start the journey to recovery, reach out to the professional team at Achieve Whole Recovery today and let’s find the best treatment options for you.

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