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Vivitrol Addiction Treatment

Opioid use disorders affect millions of people. Roughly 100 people die each day from an opioid-related drug overdose. Vivitrol is a controlled substance and an addiction medicine used to treat opioid addiction as well as alcohol use disorders. A form of medication-assisted treatment MAT, Vivitrol contains the active ingredient naltrexone, which can reduce alcohol and opioid cravings. Medication-assisted treatment alone can’t prevent relapse, but it can play an important role in a recovery treatment plan. If you’ve been through the detox process, Vivitrol treatment might be ideal for you, but it’s important to understand Vivitrol’s risk for abuse and addiction.

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is the brand name and injectable form of the drug naltrexone, which can be injected or taken in pill form. Vivitrol is not an opioid agonist like some forms of medication assisted treatment such as methadone and suboxone. For this reason, it’s not technically addictive, though it can be habit forming. Vivitrol binds to opioid receptors in the brain and will block the effects of heroin or other opioid drugs if the individual uses them. In short, when a person has been injected with Vivitrol, they will not be able to get high from opioids for a month when the effects of Vivitrol wear off. 

Vivitrol may also be prescribed for alcohol addiction as it can reduce cravings and urges to drink, and that can still support addiction recovery as it helps individuals prevent relapse. Taking Vivitrol monthly can help individuals overcome their opioid dependence and manage their opioid or alcohol addiction. 

Vivitrol Effects

Vivitrol injections will not cause a person to feel high; the active ingredient in Vivitrol blocks the receptors associated with feelings of euphoria and the highs associated with drug addiction. Even so, users should be aware of the effects of Vivitrol and any serious side effects that could possibly occur after they’ve received Vivitrol injections. 

Common effects of Vivitrol treatment include:

  • Reactions near injections sites (i.e. swelling or pain)
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Toothaches
  • Raised blood pressure

Although these may be cons of Vivitrol use, these effects are frequently mild and may dissipate soon after receiving a Vivitrol shot. On the other hand, serious side effects such as liver swelling, allergic reactions, and depression, while rare, could possibly occur. 

Signs of Vivitrol Abuse and Addiction

Treatment with Vivitrol is not considered addictive. However, any drug may be abused. Some people may become psychologically dependent on medication-assisted treatment even if they do not form a physical dependence. Even so, a person could still experience an opioid overdose while taking Vivitrol if they choose to take enough opioids to overcome the effects of Vivitrol. While Vivitrol is not itself associated with overdose, it’s still possible for people undergoing Vivitrol treatment to overdose on opioids (or any other drug). The risk of overdose from opioids is still great for someone suffering from opioid use disorders, but Vivitrol can reduce the cravings associated with opioid abuse.

Vivitrol Withdrawal Symptoms

Vivitrol is not associated with physical dependence, so it does not cause withdrawal symptoms. However, clients must completely detox from opioids before their first Vivitrol shot or they could experience sudden opioid withdrawal symptoms. When undergoing opioid abuse treatment, clinicians will not start a client on Vivitrol treatment until the individual’s system is free of opioids. 

Long-Term Side Effects of Vivitrol Abuse

If a person has serious side effects from Vivitrol use, they could suffer permanent tissue damage near injection sites or even death if their allergic reaction is severe enough or they don’t receive medical treatment for serious side effects. Clients should contact their healthcare provider right away if they experience any serious side effects after their Vivitrol treatment. 

Vivitrol Addiction Treatment

Treatment of opioid addiction and alcoholism with Vivitrol can be effective for reducing powerful cravings to use drugs and alcohol. However, medications such as Vivitrol do not cure addiction or provide adequate addiction treatment alone. Enrollment in addiction recovery programs that include behavioral therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy are crucial for supporting long-term recovery. Resurgence Behavioral Health offers world-class substance abuse treatment. If you’re addicted to street drugs like heroin, prescription drugs, or alcohol, you can enroll in our treatment programs to get the support you need to manage your addiction for good.

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