Is Vivitrol the Right Option for Me?
When it comes to opiate addiction, there’s not an easy choice. Some people recommend quitting cold turkey through a detox center, saying it’s the only way to achieve real abstinence. Others take a harm reduction model and recommend a methadone maintenance program to help overcome the drug urges and cravings. Others don’t like the stigma of methadone, nor how the clinics where it must be administered from operate, and claim that it’s no different than heroin, and works to keep people addicted.
Others opt for the less controversial Suboxone, but its effectiveness is not 100 percent and, as with any daily medication for addiction, there is always an issue with compliance.
And that’s where Vivitrol comes in.
What Is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is a once-a-month injection administered by a physician to help those addicted to opiates, and to some extent, those with alcoholism. Made with naltrexone, Vivitrol works as an opiod blocker, binding to the opiod receptors in the brain to block any other opiate that may be introduced to the body. Because Vivitrol binds to these receptors, it does more than deter opiate use, it also curbs the cravings and withdrawal often associated with stopping the use of opiates. If you’re addicted to opiates and seeking recovery, call 800-533-1341 for help.
Making Compliance a Non-Issue
Naltrexone is the same drug found in Suboxone, another anti-opiate medication to help those with addiction. With Suboxone, which is taken daily, there’s a constant issue with compliance. Every time the addicted individual has to take his or her medication, there may always be the draw to skip it, “just this once.” This leads to more relapses and less compliance.
But with Vivitrol, there is not a daily issue with compliance. Once the drug is administered, it stays in the system for 30 days. Yet, the drug is not as popular as one would think, especially with the growing acceptance and use of Suboxone.
While Vivitrol works great for some people, research shows it’s really only effective for about one in five people. The other 80 percent tend to still use, and to some, this can become a fatal decision.
Because of the way Vivitrol works, addicts can still use, but they just don’t get high. Yet, that doesn’t mean the drug doesn’t impact the body and its system. Addiction is a powerful force, and many addicts want proof they can’t get high on Vivitrol. So they use. And because they don’t feel anything, they use again. And maybe even again. Having such a surge of opiates in the body still does damage, as the drug is a depressant, even though the individual isn’t getting high. This has led to multiple overdose deaths, and makes Vivitrol somewhat controversial in the realm of addiction treatment.
A Heavy Cost
Add to this the expensive price tag associated with Vivitrol, , which comes in at about $1,100 a month, and it’s understandable why some people aren’t flocking to it as a miracle cure. But for others, it works and it works well.