Vivitrol is a long-acting injection form of the drug naltrexone, and is intended to reduce cravings in those abstaining from alcohol, helping to prevent relapse. Like the oral version of naltrexone, Vivitrol works by blocking opiate receptors in the brain, and reducing the pleasure one feels when consuming alcohol.
Vivitrol injections must be administered by a healthcare provider every four weeks, which is the length of time the drug remains active in the body.The long-acting nature of the injection helps to eliminate problems experienced by users of the oral version, in which the temptation to skip doses or to forget to take the medication leads to relapse.
Vivitrol is recommended for use by those who are abstinent from alcohol, and who have completed a period of detoxification. Drinking while using Vivitrol may create symptoms of intoxication without any of the seemingly pleasant effects of alcohol—that is, you may be impaired without feeling drunk. Vivitrol will also block the effects of any narcotic drugs taken for pain relief, so you should wear a medic ID bracelet during use and let your doctor know you are taking Vivitrol if you are injured or treated for any type of pain.
Vivitrol should not be used by anyone currently dependent on opiate medications or illicit drugs such as heroin. Since naltrexone blocks the brain’s opiate receptors, an opiate-dependent person who uses Vivitrol will enter into immediate full opiate withdrawal. You need to abstain from all opiates for 1-2 weeks prior to using Vivitrol.
Vivitrol can be prescribed by any doctor. Many patients list cost as a major drawback to Vivitrol use, as each injection can cost $800-1400. However, Vivitrol therapy may be partially covered by insurance, and some low-cost clinics administer Vivitrol on a sliding scale.
People who wish to abstain from alcohol and are willing to take a monthly injection to help them reduce cravings.
See your physician to discuss whether Vivitrol is appropriate for your situation.
The Vivitrol website maintains a directory of doctors and clinics who administer Vivitrol injections.
Learn more: Drugs.com: Vivitrol
Learn more: Vivitrol Website
Learn more: About.com/Alcoholism: Vivitrol
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