If you’re looking for informative and easy-to-follow Vivitrol Reviews, then you’ve come to the right place, my friend. In this article, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about using the Vivitrol shot for opiate addiction.
I am EXTREMELY PASSIONATE about opiate addiction recovery, and so my goal is to make this the most helpful Vivitrol Review available online. My intention is to serve you well, and I promise to give you a detailed review of the pros and cons associated with using Vivitrol for opiate addiction recovery.
I’ll be covering the following topics in this Vivitrol Review:
- Vivitrol mechanism of action
- Vivitrol cost
- Vivitrol statistics
- Vivitrol side effects
- How to use the Vivitrol shot for opiate addiction
- Vivitrol pros and cons
Note: My ultimate goal is to provide you with a good understanding of the pros and cons associated with using Vivitrol for opiate addiction recovery, thus enabling you to make an informed decision on whether or not to use this medication. So without further ado, I now present with my review on the Vivitrol shot, which starts with a little history…
Table of Contents
In 1994, a once-a-day pill named naltrexone was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat alcohol dependence, after the medication was shown to reduce drinking frequency and the likelihood of relapse to heavy drinking
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist medication. It binds to the same receptors in the brain that drugs like heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, Suboxone, and methadone bind to.
But instead of inducing pain relief, sedation, euphoria, and other opioid effects, naltrexone instead occupies these receptors with no pleasurable feelings. After binding to the mu opioid receptors, naltrexone blocks the effects of opioid drugs, and it may also reduce alcohol’s ability to stimulate these receptors, thus preventing alcohol from inducing pleasure when it’s consumed.
Along Comes Vivitrol
In 2006, the injectable, extended-release naltrexone (under the brand name “Vivitrol,” formerly known as “Vivitrex”) was approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcohol use disorders. Four years later, on October 12, 2010, the FDA approved Vivitrol to treat and prevent relapse after patients with opioid dependence have undergone detoxification treatment.
That same day in a Press Announcement, Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, stated the following:
Addiction is a serious problem in this country, and can have devastating effects on individuals who are drug-dependent, and on their family members and society. This drug approval represents a significant advancement in addiction treatment.”
In 2012, the Opiate Treatment Program (OTP) I was counseling at became a Vivitrol provider. As part of the outpatient treatment protocol, patients trying to stay clean from either alcohol or opiates were given the option to take a monthly Vivitrol shot in conjunction with addiction counseling.
Note: Due to the high cost of the medication, we never had more than two patients on Vivitrol at any time while I still worked there. However, the patients that I spoke with all told me how much they loved the medication.
The Vivitrol cost can run up to $1200 per injection (even more in some cases) when paying out-of-pocket. And while insurance can cover it, the high copays and deductibles can cost a lot on a monthly basis. Luckily, the company that makes the drug offers patients up to $500 to cover copays or off the cost of the shot for individuals that don’t have insurance.
To avoid the high price of Vivitrol, one could always just take naltrexone pills (a mere fraction of the cost).
However, since it needs to be taken every single day, many people miss doses on purpose so they can get high. The monthly intramuscular injection if preferable, because at any time if the person uses opiates, the pleasurable effects will be blocked.
To sum things up, the Vivitrol cost might range anywhere from $500 to $1200, though you might be able to get it for cheaper or even have to pay more. This is a very high price for a medication, however, in my own life, I used to spend more than $1000 per month on heroin towards the end of my addiction.
In a study of 250 opioid-dependent individuals, Vivitrol was shown to have better results than a placebo. Patients in the placebo group dropped out much faster than the Vivitrol group during the first four weeks before receiving the second dose. Approximately 36% of the patients in the placebo group and 13% of the patients in the Vivitrol group dropped out before Week 5.
The dropout pattern was similar between the two groups after Week 4. In another study, Vivitrol helped significantly more patients complete treatment (24 weeks) compared with placebo.
Vivitrol Side Effects
Many people have stayed clean from using Vivitrol for opiate addiction, though at a price. Unfortunately, many of the side effects of the medication can be unpleasant, to say the least.
Common side effects of Vivitrol include:
- A headache
- Decreased appetite
- Painful joints
- Muscle cramps
- Cold symptoms
- Trouble sleeping
- A toothache
Other possible serious side effects include:
- Depressed mood
- Allergic pneumonia
- Serious allergic reactions
Note: Naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol, can cause liver damage or hepatitis.
How To Use Vivitrol For Opiate Addiction
Many individuals that have detoxed from opiates have chosen to get on Vivitrol to increase chances of staying clean. If you wanted to get on Vivitrol, you would first need to be at least 7-14 days clean from the use of opioid drugs. The range of days varies because it takes longer for l0ng-acting opioids to completely leave your body than it does for short-acting opioids.
After your initial intramuscular Vivitrol injection, you would need to return once a month to get follow-up shots, as well as any counseling, urine tests, doctor check-ups, and other follow-up visits that are part of the treatment requirements.
Pros and Cons
After reading Vivitrol Reviews on the internet, it’s helpful to decide for yourself whether or not it feels like a good fit for you. Evaluating the pros and cons becomes important before making this big decision, thus, I’ve created the following breakdown for your convenience.
- Statistics – According to multiple studies, the individuals that used Vivitrol had higher percentages of staying clean in treatment vs the placebo groups.
- Monitoring – Regular doctor visits and counseling sessions can help you remain accountable and responsible for recovery.
- Deterrent – Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist drug; It blocks the effects of opioids if they are used while naltrexone is in your system, thus acting as a deterrent.
- Price – Vivitrol costs in the approximate range of $500 to $1200 or more, making it difficult to afford for many people.
- Side Effects – There is a long list of possible unpleasant symptoms that can arise in the user.
- Body Harm – Naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol, can cause liver damage or hepatitis.
Vivitrol Review Conclusion
This brings us to the end of the Vivtrol Review. To sum things up, Vivitrol is an antagonist medication that is taken once a month to reduce the likelihood of opioid cravings and relapse. As with any medication, there are pros and cons associated with its use.
One thing’s for sure: Whether you use Vivitrol or not, it’s VERY IMPORTANT to have a strong personalized recovery program, especially during those first difficult months of clean time.
To check out natural methods for staying clean, eliminating cravings, and feeling really awesome after quitting opiates, I encourage you to read my popular article on treating Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.
If you have any questions about my Vivitrol review, please feel free to post them in the comment box below. 🙂