Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

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What is Vivitrol?
(naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension) Vivitrol is a prescription injectable medicine used to: *Treat alcohol dependence.  You should stop drinking before starting Vivitrol. *Prevent relapse to opioid dependence after opioid detox.  You must stop taking opioids or other opioid-containing medications before starting Vivitrol. It is injected into the body once every four weeks and stays active in the body for this period of time. Vivitrol must be used with other alcohol or drug recovery programs such as counseling.  Studies show that taking Vivitrol in addition to getting counseling (psychosocial therapy) is about three times more effective than counseling alone.

How does it work?
The active ingredient in Vivitrol – naltrexone – works as a “blocker”.   It attaches to certain opioid receptors in your brain and blocks the pleasurable feelings associated with taking opioids. Even though Vivitrol may block the intense high from opioids, it does not prevent good feelings that come from other naturally pleasurable activities. After you get a dose of Vivitrol, its blocking effect slowly decreases and completely goes away over time.  It is important to know that you should not try to overcome the Vivitrol blockade by taking opioids.  Using opioids in the amounts you used before starting Vivitrol treatment, or even lower amounts, could lead to overdose or death. Vivitrol is in no way addictive.  There is no withdrawal associated with sudden discontinuation of the medication.  Most people tolerate the medication well, though there can be side effects.  Our providers will work with you to help determine if Vivitrol should be part of your overall treatment plan.

How do I start treatment?
You must be in withdrawal to start Vivitrol.  To ensure this:
*Alcohol must be discontinued 4 days prior to starting treatment.
*Heroin/opioids must be discontinued 7 days prior to starting treatment.
*Methadone must be discontinued 14 days prior to starting treatment.
*If you are not detoxed prior to Vivitrol injection it will precipitate immediate and sometimes severe withdrawal (to include but not limited to nausea, muscle cramps, tremors, headache and sweating).  

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