Can Vivitrol Help my Opioid Addiction?

Vivitrol is a brand name for a medication prescribed to help people who have been unsuccessful in treatment for opioid addiction.

Also used as a treatment for alcoholism, Vivitrol is the extended release, injectable version of naltrexone, which is prescribed in pill form and taken every one to three days.

Vivitrol isn’t magic, and it shouldn’t be considered as a cure for addiction. However, it can be highly effective when combined with drug and alcohol treatment or rehab.

How Vivitrol Works

Vivitrol works by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain. If you use opiates after taking Vivitrol, you’ll experience absolutely no feelings of pleasure or euphoria. Whether the opioid is hydrocodone, oxycodone or another medication prescribed by a doctor, or heroin purchased on the street, the effect is the same.

Vivitrol is not a narcotic. It isn’t addictive, and you’ll experience no withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the medication. One injection of Vivitrol lasts about a month.

How is Vivitrol Used?

Vivitrol is prescribed and administered by a physician or other healthcare provider, and you’ll return for an injection every month. Unlike some anti-addiction medications, your healthcare provider needs no special qualifications to prescribe Vivitrol.

While the medication is the same as naltrexone, there’s no need to remember to take a pill. A monthly injection usually makes it easier for people to comply with a treatment plan, or to fully engage in treatment. Vivitrol is also effective in prevention of relapse following drug and alcohol treatment or rehab.

You can’t take Vivitrol until you’ve detoxed and your body has been free of opioids for seven to 10 days. However, your doctor may prescribe other medications to help you through the difficult symptoms of withdrawal.

Vivitrol as Part of Medically Assisted Treatment for Addiction

Vivitrol is most effective when used in along with traditional drug and alcohol treatment or rehab, including individual or group counseling, 12-Step groups, or other proven techniques.

Vivitrol and Overdose Danger

If you consider using opioid drugs after taking Vivitrol (or if you miss a dose of Vivitrol), be aware that the danger of overdose is greater at this time. Using opioids is dangerous after you’ve stopped, even if it’s been a month since your last injection.

This is primarily because your body is no longer accustomed to your regular dose of opioid drugs. In other words, the same amount of opioid drugs you took before Vivitrol can send you into dangerous, potentially deadly overdose.

Similarly, it’s also extremely dangerous to take high doses of opioid drugs in an attempt to get high while taking Vivitrol.

Visit your Healthcare Provider

If you think Vivitrol might be useful for you or someone you love, the first step is a visit to a healthcare provider who is equipped to discuss all the benefits and risks. If you’re unsure where to turn, a drug and alcohol treatment center or rehab will be able to help you gather more information.

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