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Alcohol Treatment

How Does Vivitrol Treatment Work For Alcohol Addiction

Written By:

Alex Kudisch

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Over 23 million Americans are affected by addiction. Even though substance abuse has been a problem for generations, the health industry didn’t recognize addiction as an illness until 1987.

The current prevailing opinion is that addiction is a complicated disease that affects the brain and body.

Moreover, their complexity might make substance misuse and addiction seem impossible to overcome.

Addicts can live drug-free with the help of evidence-based therapies, mental health treatments, and even prescription drugs.

One such drug is Vivitrol which has shown promising results in treating alcohol dependence and opioid use disorder. If you are wondering what Vivitrol treatment entails and whether it is the right option for you, keep reading!

To find out more about our Vivitrol treatment plan, contact Crestone Detox Austin – Alcohol & Drug Rehab today!

What Is Vivitrol?

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Vivitrol, the brand name given to a substance called naltrexone, is a prescription injectable medicine.

This drug is known as an opioid antagonist, which means it binds to opioid receptors to block the effects of these drugs.

It is typically administered as a monthly shot by a medical professional and has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependence.

What Is It Used for?

In the section below, we’ll discuss the use of Vivitrol treatment for opioid and alcohol use disorders.

1. It Is Used to Treat Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol abuse statistics in the US are alarming. An estimated 15 million people battle alcohol use disorder, but fewer than 10 percent obtain therapy.

Moreover, over 65 million Americans, or more than 40 percent of all current drinkers, reported binge drinking within the preceding month, and 4,700 people died because of teen drinking.

The FDA Has Approved Vivitrol Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

The FDA granted Vivitrol approval in 2006 to help people trying to recover from alcohol use disorders avoid relapsing.

Unlike other alcohol addiction medications, which might make you sick when consuming alcohol, naltrexone reduces alcohol cravings.

This gives sufferers greater control over their alcohol usage.

2. Opioid Dependence Treatment

Opioids are used in prescription pain medicines and can be used safely to relieve pain. However, in some cases, users can become addicted.

The truth is that opioid use disorder has affected 3 million US residents and 16 million other people worldwide.

Moreover, opioid-containing medicines interfere with neural pathways, blocking pain signals and releasing dopamine, which leads to short-term positive effects.

However, over time, it leads to dependence and can have devastating effects on the mind and body.

FDA Approval for Vivitrol Injections for Opioid Abuse

The FDA also authorized this medication in 2010 to address opioid addiction.

A study revealed that patients who took Vivitrol during their rehabilitation remained in the treatment program longer and were more likely to maintain abstinence and avoid relapse. This led to the discovery that this drug could help with opioid relapse.

How Does Vivitrol Treatment Work?

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Vivitrol prevents the pleasure and sedation brought on by opioid medication and alcohol that depress the central nervous system.

In order to prevent substances like alcohol or opioids from binding to specific receptor sites in the brain, it adheres to them over time.

This effect stops the substances from producing a euphoria, which in turn encourages the user to cut back on or quit using the drug.

Vivitrol Treatment Is a Temporary Aid to Help Prevent Relapse

However, Vivitrol injections do not offer a permanent solution for alcohol or drug addiction.

It is merely a pharmaceutical that, by lessening cravings, assists sufferers in lowering their chance of relapse while they are in recovery.

Patients will need a thorough treatment plan that includes the use of drugs along with treatments and counseling for optimal recovery from alcohol or opioid use disorder.

More On Vivitrol Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

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While Vivitrol binds to opioid receptors to help treat drug addiction, it reduces alcohol cravings through a different process.

This medication alters how your brain responds to the liquor in your bloodstream, in contrast to disulfiram, which makes you feel sick when you consume alcohol.

It prevents endorphins from binding to their receptors, obstructing alcohol’s effects.

The truth is that this drug takes time to work as an alcohol dependency treatment. It does not immediately end the desire for alcohol and must be taken exactly as directed if you want to benefit from it.

Even one missed or forgotten injection might drastically diminish the efficiency of the subsequent dose.

When used in conjunction with a thorough, holistic treatment plan that includes psychotherapy, counseling, and 12-step programs, you can finally gain control over your alcohol addiction.

How to Take Vivitrol

Vivitrol is administered as an injection into muscle tissue. One dose of Vivitrol is recommended every four weeks and is typically administered by a healthcare provider or nurse.

Patients Can Prevent Sudden Opioid Withdrawal by Remaining Drug-free Before Treatment

It’s no secret that opioid withdrawal symptoms can be severe. To prevent sudden opioid withdrawal, patients must be opioid-free for a minimum of 7 to 14 days prior to using Vivitrol.

Vivitrol and Other Medications

Keep in mind that if someone is undergoing a medically assisted opioid detoxification using buprenorphine, Vivitrol can prevent the medication from working and exacerbate opioid withdrawal symptoms since naltrexone eliminates opioids from opioid receptors.

If You’re Taking Vivitrol, It’s Important to Let Your Healthcare Provider Know

It’s crucial to wear a medical ID tag that describes your use of Vivitrol while taking the medicine.

Moreover, it is essential that any healthcare provider that may treat you while you take Vivitrol understands that you are taking this drug in case something was to happen to you.

This is because Vivitrol makes you significantly more susceptible to opioids. The drug lessens the effects of opioids, which may cause an unintentional opioid overdose or even death.

The Side Effects of Vivitrol Treatment

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Vivitrol can cause side effects. Some of these adverse reactions are injection site reactions, an increased risk of overdose, and other common side effects.

Common Physical Side Effects

Some patients may experience mild to severe negative physical responses to Vivitrol. Some of these typical adverse side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Symptoms of pneumonia
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Restlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Skin rash
  • Nervousness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Symptoms of jaundice

Keep in mind that you may experience sudden opioid withdrawal symptoms if you take Vivitrol less than seven days before you stop using opioid drugs.

Depression may also occur during treatment, so if you experience symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor.

Increased Risk of Opioid Overdose

Patients may unintentionally overdose in one of two ways. Firstly, the effects one experiences after taking opioid drugs can be blocked with Vivitrol.

If the patient increases opioid usage in an effort to counteract this effect, an unintentional overdose may result.

Secondly, after taking Vivitrol, continuing to use illegal or prescribed opioids might result in overdose and death. Since the treatment makes you sensitive to opioids, even in small doses, it can be harmful.

Severe Injection Site Reactions

Unfortunately, some may experience negative effects at the Vivitrol injection site. Tissue death is one of these and may require surgery. 

Call your healthcare practitioner right away if you have any issues at the injection site. Symptoms to take note of include:

  • An open wound
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Blisters
  • A dark scab
  • Hardness in the area

How Long Do the Side Effects Last?

The severity, type, and range of the adverse effects you can expect when taking Vivitrol will vary from one person to the next, as with most drugs.

Although some people may find that the negative effects pass within a day or two, others could experience chronic side effects. You can get the help you need to deal with side effects from your healthcare practitioner.

What Happens If You Consume Alcohol While on Vivitrol?

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The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that there are no significant risks for people who use naltrexone while consuming alcohol.

They might observe signs of alcohol use, such as impaired coordination, slowed thinking and response times, and a lessened desire to drink alcohol while on the treatment.

Receiving Vivitrol Treatment in Austin, TX

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Only a licensed healthcare professional may issue a prescription for Vivitrol injections. Receiving Vivitrol treatment in conjunction with a holistic addiction treatment program is the safest and most effective way to gain control over your addiction.

This drug is not intended to be taken as a stand-alone treatment in place of opioid detoxification, cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, and other treatment methods.

We provide specialist opioid and alcohol addiction treatment at our wellness center in Austin. The development of a personalized treatment plan is a component of our in-patient rehabilitation program.

If you meet the requirements, your therapy provider might recommend Vivitrol injections. However, you must continue receiving psychiatric counseling to be eligible for this treatment.

As part of a treatment plan, we will work to improve your mental well-being and teach you coping mechanisms and relapse prevention techniques.

Contact Crestone Today!

Through group and one-on-one counseling, our initiatives address trauma, mental health issues, and dependence. We employ skilled, board-certified, and licensed therapists to administer Vivitrol shots to our patients.

Our ultimate objective is to teach you how to live a sober lifestyle!

Call us today at (737) 265-8689 or complete our online form for more information about our treatment programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I have to follow an in-patient treatment program to receive Vivitrol injections?

No. At Crestone Detox Austin – Alcohol & Drug Rehab, our goal is to help you receive the treatment that’s best for you. If you are working or have a family to take care of, you can ask about our outpatient programs.

2. Where can I receive Vivitrol shots?

You will need to go to a healthcare professional to receive these shots. We have licensed doctors at our treatment facility that can administer the drug safely.

3. How long does Vivitrol block opioids?

This treatment typically blocks the effects of opioid drugs for four weeks. After that, you will need to receive another dose to enjoy continued benefits.

4. Where can I find more information about this treatment?

If you need more information about Vivitrol, you are welcome to talk to one of our healthcare providers. Give us a call, and we will gladly help!

5. Who is Vivitrol for?

Vivitrol is only for people who have already undergone alcohol or drug detoxification. It’s crucial to have already completed this step so that there is no remaining physical dependence.

It is best to break the habit of drinking if you want to treat your alcoholism permanently.

6. Who should not take this drug?

It is not appropriate for people who continue to have any kind of physical reliance on alcohol or drugs.

This will be examined via a procedure known as the “naloxone challenge test,” in which a modest dose of naloxone is injected to observe if any opioid withdrawal symptoms develop. It is not possible to begin Vivitrol therapy if withdrawal effects are apparent.

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Alex Kudisch
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