Vivitrol Treatment for Opiate and Alcohol Dependency
Vivitrol Is the extended-release form of Naltrexone, a non-addictive opioid and alcohol antagonist or “blocker”. It works by blocking the euphoric effects of opioids and alcohol in the brain, decreasing the desire to use these substances. This medication is given as a monthly injection, eliminating the need to take a pill each day, as can be the case with other medical therapies. When the patient is ready, and they have a good support network in place, the injections are discontinued.
Prior to beginning treatment with Vivitrol, the patient needs to be off of all opioid 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.
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.
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.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. This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. For more information - http://www.vivitrol.com/about/safety.