How It Works and Is It Safe?
Vivitrol, a prescription medication that is used in medication assisted treatment programs to treat opioid addiction, is an opioid-antagonist that includes an extended-release version of naltrexone and is administered once monthly. Naltrexone, the main ingredient in Vivitrol, received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1984 for use in opioid treatment programs. By 2006, it was approved for use in alcohol treatment, and in 2010 for opioid addiction treatment.
When taken as prescribed and under the care of medical professionals, Vivitrol is safe for both short and long-term use. However, naltrexone can increase a person’s risk for experiencing liver damage, so individuals will receive a complete physical examination before taking this medication. If you know of any existing health issues, you should discuss them with your provider before taking Vivitrol.
For example, pregnant women cannot take Vivitrol because it is unsafe. In addition, individuals who have taken opioids within the past seven days are also not approved to take Vivitrol.
As with all other prescription medications, the use of Vivitrol can lead to the development of side effects. Be sure to talk with your provider about the safety and potential side effects of Vivitrol prior to use to be sure that this medication is appropriate for you.
The Effectiveness of Vivitrol Treatment
Extensive research has solidified the effectiveness of Vivitrol. For example, a single study that was recently conducted showed that individuals who received Vivitrol for an opioid addiction experienced an average of 99.2% opioid-free days. In addition, cravings to use were also 10 times lower than those who were not taking Vivitrol.
A separate study determined that the majority of individuals who took Vivitrol in a medication assisted treatment program continued to stay in recovery for the following 12 months. Half of these individuals stayed 100% opioid-free, none of them experienced significant reactions at the injection site, and most stated how their withdrawal symptoms and cravings were dramatically decreased. These individuals also experienced an improved quality of life.
Benefits of Vivitrol Treatment plus Counseling
Vivitrol is merely one aspect of a complete, comprehensive medication assisted treatment program for opioid addiction. At Maryland Comprehensive Treatment Centers, patients can obtain individual and group therapy, plus support services, based on their personal needs.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Above all else, it is important to recognize that treatment is just part of a bigger picture where you will be constantly working to maintain your sobriety. You must be willing to commit to your health and wellbeing in order to make changes that will turn that commitment into a reality. Know that, in order to gain the most from your experience, those with whom you will work are devoted to helping you achieve your goals. They will ask you to look at your life through an honest lens, recognize that you have made poor decisions, and be ready to make sincere changes. Be sure to enter into treatment with a clear mind and determination to begin making progress that will support your overall health and wellbeing. Know that this process is never easy and that you will face challenges, but if you remain committed, you can achieve success.
How to Support Your Loved One during Medication Assisted Treatment: Witnessing your loved one battle with an addiction to opioids can be miserable, overwhelming, and heartbreaking. However, do not think that the support you have provided to your loved one thus far has fallen on deaf ears. It might just be the devotion you have put forth towards your loved one that made him or her obtain treatment in the first place. As your loved one begins treatment, educate yourself about the ins and outs of treatment, be ready to support him or her, and seek out support for yourself at this time. You have been impacted by your loved one, so in order to continually support him or her, you must tend to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Also, reach out to your loved one’s treatment center for more resources that can help you at this time.
The Side Effects of Vivitrol
Below are the possible side effects of Vivitrol use:
- Liver damage
- Pain, swelling, or scabbing near the injection site
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Shortness of breath, persistent cough, or other respiratory problems
- Decreased appetite
- Dental pain
- Muscle cramps
For more information about Vivitrol and its side effects, as well as how taking it can impact you, reach out to your healthcare provider or contact one of our Maryland Comprehensive Treatment Centers.