More than 85.6% of people aged 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol during their lifetime. In 2019, 14.5 million people aged 12 years or older dealt with an alcohol use disorder. That same year, about 10.1 million people who were 12 or older misused opioid drugs.
Alcohol and opioid addiction are very difficult, mainly because quitting them becomes almost impossible for some people. Trying to quit leads to severe withdrawal symptoms, which makes them go back to the substance they abused. So, people go to rehabilitation centers where they could get the right treatment that allows them to make some life improvements.
One of the medications used to commonly treat these addictions is Vivitrol. When administered correctly, Vivitrol can be a powerful ally that reduces cravings and ensures you are successful in getting rid of your addiction.
Vivitrol or naltrexone is a prescription medication for people who are experiencing addiction. It can help people who are dependent on opioids or alcohol. Vivitrol has long-lasting effects, and it is an extended-release medication.
The medication is injected into the patient’s muscles every 4 weeks – therefore, the patient has to go to the doctor’s office regularly for this treatment. Vivitrol is not recommended for children, and adults can only receive it from a healthcare professional.
The medication works by binding to the opioid receptors of the brain. So, it is an opioid antagonist, but instead of causing a rise in dopamine, it only blocks the effects of opioids. It can also reduce cravings for both opioids and alcohol.
Of course, in other to be effective, it should be part of a larger treatment and not be the only thing administered to the patient. Behavioral therapy may be used alongside it.
Vivitrol For Alcohol Addiction
Vivitrol treatment may be used for alcohol addiction. Usually, doctors suggest this medication when an adult has stopped drinking alcohol and didn’t go to the hospital for treatment.
Since alcohol attaches to certain sites of the body, Vivitrol will block these binding sites and make sure that not only the release of dopamine is stopped, but also that the cravings are reduced. Dopamine is usually what keeps someone dependent on alcohol – so, blocking the release will make sure the person does not relapse.
Vivitrol For Opioid Addiction
Sometimes, opioid addiction treatment also involves Vivitrol. The medication can be very useful after someone detoxes. The patient’s body will be clear of opioids during the detoxification, and Vivitrol will make sure that the individual does not crave the drugs again.
Just like in the case of alcohol, Vivitrol will stop the dopamine release by binding to the same sites opioids attach to. Since dopamine is responsible for offering pleasant feelings to the drug user, it is usually why people are unable to quit opioids.
As such, Vivitrol will help reduce cravings and will put an end to opioid addiction
Precautions for Vivitrol Use
There are a few precautions to keep in mind before taking Vivitrol. Usually, your doctor or pharmacist will communicate these to you before deciding whether the treatment is suitable or not.
For this to be possible, you will be asked some things regarding your health history. If you are experiencing specific medical conditions, Vivitrol may not be the most suitable medication.
Anyone who has been dealing with allergic reactions from Vivitrol or one of its ingredients should not take the medication. If you experienced allergic reactions in the past, you should let the doctor know so they can find better treatment options for you.
Taking Vivitrol is also something that can make the effects of opioids worse in case you are still using the drugs. Basically, if you consume Vivitrol after using opioids, you may deal with severe withdrawal effects and even be at risk of overdosing. Therefore, Vivitrol should only be taken if the last opioid dose was 7-14 days ago.
Vivitrol Side Effects
Vivitrol can also cause some painful side effects in some individuals. Not everyone has to worry about them, but it is important to know how to recognize them. The symptoms may be mild or severe.
The symptoms may be different depending on whether you dealt with alcohol or opioid addiction. For alcohol addiction, the side effects of Vivitrol might include:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Injection site reactions
- Decrease in appetite
- Dizziness and fainting
- Belly pain
Meanwhile, people who dealt with an opioid addiction might experience the following Vivitrol side effects:
- Increased blood pressure
- Injection site pain
Some side effects may not be too severe – therefore, they may not require any medical intervention. In some situations, though, certain side effects could get worse and require treatment. More serious side effects could be liver disease, pneumonia, allergic reactions, opioid withdrawal, serious injection site reactions, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Is Vivitrol Addictive?
Many medications used for treating substance addictions are addictive themselves. For instance, Methadone and Suboxone are both quite addictive, because they result in euphoria and other pleasant feelings due to partially activating the opioid receptors.
For this reason, some individuals who use Suboxone and Methadone end up becoming addicted to these substances. They are replacing the abused substance with these medications, becoming addicted to them.
But Vivitrol is not the same. Although it also binds to the receptors responsible for releasing dopamine, all it does is block these effects. So, it stops the drug’s symptoms while making sure that the person doesn’t crave opioids or alcohol. This way, it becomes an essential part of addiction treatment.
Why Choose Real Deal?
At Real Deal, we can take care of your addiction and mental health simultaneously. Our Alcohol detoxification program will help get you off the drug you were abusing, while our professionals will make sure you follow the treatment correctly.
Furthermore, you will be able to go to therapy, treating any potential problems that may have encouraged your alcohol or opioid addiction.
Call for help if you know someone dealing with an alcohol or opioid addiction. By getting Vivitrol, they can quit the addiction successfully.