Vivitrol is a prescription injectable medicine used to prevent relapse to opioid dependence. It is also used to treat alcohol dependence (alcoholism). Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist that blocks the opioid µ receptors that are receiving the signal if someone is exposed to opioids such as Heroin or narcotic pain medications (Oxycodone, Methadone, Vicodine, Dilaudid etc.). Data reported at the American Psychological Association found that 90 percent of all patients on Vivitrol had opioid-free urine tests over a six month period as opposed to 35 percent of those on a placebo injection. To be effective, Vivitrol must be used along with recovery programs, such as counseling.
Vivitrol is a step forward in treating Opioid Dependence. It holds the promise of a CURE for the opioid dependent patient as oposed to Buprenorphine which is used mostly for MANAGEMENT of Opioid Dependence. Patients do not experience any withrawl symptoms upon discontinuation of Vivitrol. The Vivitrol injections can be stopped easily at any point. After 6 months of therapy and the risk of relapse at that point is low.
Vivitrol is probably the best option for someone who has been just released from an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Usually, these patients have been free from opioids and they have been discharged with the recommendation to follow up with an outpatient program or more counseling. The prevailing current opinion is that the counseling, inpatient and outpatient, will prevent relapse. The reality is that these patients relapse almost immediately the same day or, in a better case scenario, find a Buprenorphine physician and begin Buprenorphine management. The best decision in this situation, however, is to go to a Vivitrol provider and receive a Vivitrol injection IMMEDIATELLY. This will provide a point of no return. You are going to be blocked from using opioids including Buprenorphine for 30 days. If you continue to have Vivitrol injections once a month for the next 6 months most likely you will never go back to using opioids again.
Vivitrol is also a very good option for patients on Buprenorphine management that want to stop Buprenorphine. You will need to taper down your Buprenorphine dose and stop it before taking a Vivitrol injection. Call our office for consultation regarding how to switch from Buprenorphine to Vivitrol.