Vivitrol Treatment for Opiate and Alcohol Dependency
Once per month office injection
Non-addictive - Vivitrol is not an opioid
Well tolerated, with few side effects
Vivitrol is the extended-release form of Naltrexone, a non-addictive opiate and alcohol antagonist, or “blocker”.
A monthly Vivitrol injection blocks the euphoric effects of opioids and alcohol for up to 30 days, eliminating the need for daily/weekly visits to the doctor’s office as may be the case with other medications.
Prior to beginning treatment with Vivitrol, the patient needs to be off of all opiate medications for 7- 10 days or severe withdrawal symptoms may result. Before receiving the first Vivitrol injection, patients are given a low-dose tablet form of Vivitrol to test for any interactions.
As with other medications, there are certain risks associated with Vivitrol. Mild to Moderate side effects may include: Nausea, tiredness, headache, dizziness (do not drive a car, or operate machinery until you know how Vivitrol affects you), decreased appetite, joint pain, muscle cramps.
Serious side effects may include: Serious allergic reactions, liver damage, hepatitis, depressed mood. This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. For more information - http://www.vivitrol.com/about/safety
The FDA issued the following guidance about Vivitrol use: Vivitrol is not intended to help people detox from opiates.
Individuals must not have any opioids in their system when they start taking Vivitrol, or they may experience opiate withdrawal symptoms. Individuals may be more sensitive to opioids while taking Vivitrol at the time their next scheduled dose is due. If they miss a dose or stop treatment with Vivitrol, patients are at greater risk from narcotic side effects (such as decreased breathing and loss of consciousness) if they resume opioid use.
Naltrexone can cause liver damage or hepatitis if taken in higher than recommended doses. Vivitrol should not be taken by individuals with acute hepatitis, liver failure, or women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.