Top 5 Benefits of Vivitrol Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Millions of people need addiction treatment but are reluctant to get help. This includes more than 800,000 Americans addicted to heroin and nearly two million people addicted to prescription opiates such as Vicodin and OxyContin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

In the past few months, there has been a lot of buzz among those who are battling the disease of addiction, as well as those who treat it. What’s the reason for the excitement? A new medication called Vivitrol that shows great promise in the treatment of opiate addiction and alcoholism.

While the medication is not a magical cure for addiction, Vivitrol treatment is one more tool available to opiate addicts and alcoholics who are looking to achieve lifelong sobriety.

Here are a few of the benefits of Vivitrol treatment:

  1. Vivitrol is non-addictive and has no mood- or mind-altering effects. Unlike other medications for opiate addiction, such as methadone and buprenorphine, Vivitrol has little potential for abuse and has no street value. Patients who wish to stop using Vivitrol will not have to wean off the drug slowly or suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
  1. Vivitrol is taken just once a month. Each injection of Vivitrol takes effect within two days and lasts for one month. Vivitrol is also safe for long-term use.

Compliance is one of the biggest problems with any medication for addiction. Medications that must be taken daily (such as methadone and buprenorphine) require the recovering addict to make the choice to get well every single day. Vivitrol, by comparison, only requires a commitment once a month, which increases the chances that the individual will continue their program of recovery.

  1. Vivitrol is safe and well-tolerated by most patients, with minimal side effects. While most medications carry some risks, research suggests that Vivitrol is a relatively well-tolerated medication. Side effects may include vomiting, insomnia, headache, fatigue, painful joints, muscle cramps, decreased appetite and dizziness. Though most people tolerate the medication well, you should talk to your doctor or consult an addiction treatment program before taking Vivitrol.
  1. Research suggests that Vivitrol really works. Clinical trials have shown that Vivitrol is effective at preventing relapse and reducing drug cravings. According to the Food and Drug Administration trials, patients treated with Vivitrol were more likely to stay in treatment and refrain from using drugs.

In a Russian study of 250 heroin addicts, 86 percent of patients taking Vivitrol were drug-free, going to counseling and working or going to school after six monthly injections, compared to 57 percent of those taking a placebo.

  1. Vivitrol helps patients manage drug cravings and significantly reduces the risk of relapse. Vivitrol shots enable addicts and alcoholics to stay clean and sober while working a 12-Step program or completing drug rehab. The longer an individual is able to stay sober and actively working a program of recovery, the better the chances of avoiding relapse and staying clean for life.

Cutting-Edge Treatment for an Age-Old Disease

People are beginning to experience the benefits of Vivitrol treatment for opiate addiction firsthand. As Vivitrol works for more people addicted to opiates or alcohol, experts predict that its use may dramatically increase.

Nora Volkow, the director of NIDA, called the approval of Vivitrol for opiate addiction “an important turning point in our approach to treatment.”

Sober Living by the Sea, a renowned network of drug rehab centers in California has begun making the Vivitrol shot available to patients at all of its drug rehab programs. The combination of intensive counseling, 12-Step work, medication and esteem-building activities has helped make Sober Living by the Sea one of the most respected drug rehab centers in the country.

Addiction is a brain disease. Thus, for many addicts, it makes sense to fight the disease by making changes in the brain. Vivitrol impacts the physical function of the brain, while counseling, 12-Step work and drug rehab treatment change the underlying thought and behavior patterns that lead to addiction. Together, these interventions have the potential to save countless lives.

by McKayla Arnold