The Process Recovery Center is pleased to be a Vivitrol provider in the Southern New Hampshire and Greater Boston region. We offer Vivitrol as an adjunct to P.H.P. and I.O.P., and as part of our aftercare planning. We believe that Vivitrol is just one useful tool in a holistic treatment program. We share Vivitrol’s philosophy that medication assistance should be “part of a comprehensive management program that includes psychosocial support”.
Vivitrol – or extended release Naltrexone – is a non-narcotic medication indicated for the prevention of relapse to opioid use following opioid detoxification. Vivitrol is the only medication assisted treatment on the market that can describe itself as “relapse preventative”. How does it work? Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the opioid receptors in the brain. When the receptor is blocked, the introduction of opioids into the system will not cause a high. A person who introduces an opiate into his or her system while receiving Vivitrol treatment will not feel pleasure or receive pain relief. Vivitrol can describe itself as relapse preventative because it is non-narcotic and one’s body must be detoxified of all opioid substances before inducing therapy.
Vivitrol is an ASAM, SAMHSA, and FDA recognized medication and is typically administered as a monthly injection. Vivitrol has no street value or contraband appeal. While Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors, it will not block other pleasure pathways. Exercise, sex, music and other pleasurable activities can still be enjoyed without interruption. Dog tags are distributed in case pain management is needed in an emergency, such as a car accident or surgery. Vivitrol can be used with proper monitoring in Hepatitis-C patients, and is also appropriate for those presenting with a high metabolism. Oral Vivitrol can be prescribed to prolong the effectiveness of the injection through 28 days.
The Vivitrol website states that “you must be opioid-free for a minimum of 7-14 days to avoid sudden opioid withdrawal”. People who take Vivitrol are also at increased risk for opioid overdose. After detoxing from opiates and beginning a non-narcotic therapy, opioid tolerance levels decrease significantly. In some cases, substance users may try to resume using opiates at the same level they were using before they detoxed. Since their tolerance levels will be down, their bodies cannot handle the same opiate dosages. Overdose is still possible even though the effects of the opioids cannot be felt.
In addition to opioid addiction, Vivitrol can also be used to treat alcohol dependence. Alcohol withdrawal must be treated separately. While the outcome statistics are different for alcohol users than opiate users, the medicine works similarly in that it blocks the receptors in the brain from feeling pleasure when alcohol is ingested. Since Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist, it targets opioid receptors specifically. This means that alcohol could, in rare circumstances, impact other receptors. However, drinking will be significantly less pleasurable and, for many, it will bring no pleasure at all.
If you have further questions about Vivitrol, please call the Process Recovery Center at (888) 649-1149 and ask to speak to one of our medical professionals.