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Vivitrol is an FDA-approved intramuscular injection of the pharmaceutical drug naltrexone. It is used for the treatment of alcoholism and drug abuse after an initial detoxification period.
Vivitrol is classified as an opioid antagonist. It is used as part of a comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment and drug recovery programs. It should not be taken by anybody currently using opioids, including methadone. This may cause opioid withdrawal symptoms to occur.
Vivitrol is an effective treatment for alcohol abuse and alcohol use disorder. A recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that a monthly Vivitrol shot is as effective as a daily pill of buprenorphine and naloxone, which has well-proven efficacy.
Vivitrol is effective because of how it affects the brain. Blocking opioid receptors negates the reward-based feelings that accompany drinking. Other treatments, such as Acamprosate, are designed to promote alcohol abstinence through adverse side effects.
Vivitrol is different. It is intended to limit the ability of alcohol to reach the reward centers of the brain.
Clinical evidence suggests that Vivitrol is more effective in diminishing heavy drinking among men than women. This may be due to the nature of the injections. Vivitrol is better absorbed intramuscularly (inside muscle tissue) than subcutaneously (inside fatty tissue). Men tend to be able to take on more intramuscular medication than women, on average.
Regardless of sex or gender, Vivitrol works best when administered as part of a more extensive rehab program or treatment plan.
Many patients that take Vivitrol injections do not experience any side effects. However, Vivitrol can cause unpleasant and potentially serious physical reactions for some users, including:
Vivitrol can also cause neurological side effects, such as:
If patients have traces of opiate recovery medications in their system, there is also a chance of developing severe withdrawal symptoms. A healthcare provider should be notified immediately if any of the following occur:
According to the FDA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), there appears to be no significant dangers or interactions associated with drinking alcohol while taking Vivitrol. However, if Vivitrol is being used to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD), then the patient being treated should not drink alcohol. It is important to start Vivitrol only after drinking has stopped for several days.
The FDA only approves the use of Vivitrol for people who have stopped drinking alcohol and those who are able to not drink alcohol during outpatient treatment. The FDA and NIAAA state that drinking alcohol while taking Vivitrol will not:
Vivitrol is commonly used in a substance abuse treatment plan. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that some patients are not deemed qualified to receive Vivitrol. They include:
Healthcare professionals typically recognize the most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal symptoms as:
Vivitrol is generally considered safe when used according to a doctor’s prescription and under the supervision of a health care provider. However, certain precautions must be kept in mind. These include:
Even though Vivitrol’s abuse potential is low and not known to be addictive, do not use Vivitrol unless prescribed by a doctor. Taking naltrexone without professional medical advice may do you more harm than good.
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