RU Texas The Beat

How Vivitrol Helps Families after Treatment

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 29, 2016 11:51:49 AM / by RU Texas posted in Vivitrol, Opioid Addiction, Addiction, Family, Prison

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Those of us who have helped our loved ones manage addiction know how difficult it can be. Even after the best treatment and the most positive and encouraging signs of progress, the path can still be difficult. For every single person that suffers from addiction, there is usually a group of people suffering right alongside them. Sometimes this suffering consists of active conflict, including shouting fights and even physical confrontation; other times it can be as passive as watching a loved one struggle through the pain and sickness withdrawal symptoms. Many prefer actually fighting with their loved ones to watching them go through withdrawal because at least they have sense of control over a confrontation.

To watch a loved one struggle through their residual withdrawal period, even when they’re remaining faithful to their post-treatment recovery program, can be truly painful. Add to this, the constantly looming danger of relapse and subsequent overdose, and it’s easy to see how families can disintegrate in the wake of drug addiction. Loved ones of addicts are getting help from a newer and increasingly effective resource: Vivitrol. Vivitrol is an established and reputable medication for combatting alcohol and opioid abuse. It reduces cravings and blocks the euphoria associated with opioid highs. It is administer via a monthly injection by a licensed and credentialed physician.

Families of addicts are experiencing the benefits of Vivitrol through a growing variety of institutional avenues. In Duval County, Florida, an area which lies just under five hours from the Recovery Unplugged flagship facility in Fort Lauderdale, the prison system is using the medication to help inmates with their cravings so they’re able to better transition into their everyday lives once they’re released. The county is one of dozens across the country that is utilizing Vivitrol injections to help rehabilitate inmates. Vivitrol maintenance is not meant to replace any element of rehab like group therapy or individual counseling; but rather it’s meant to help patients reduce ongoing cravings.

For families who have an addict either in treatment or in prison, the reduction of cravings and the stabilization of physical health can be a game-changer in the way they’re able to transition into their lives in recovery. This mitigates family dysfunction, helps recovering addicts to focus and allows them to feel better every day. For a disease that is so complex, so powerful and so destructive, every single resource helps.

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US Prisons Using Vivitrol to Curb Post-Release Opioid Addiction among Inmates

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 14, 2016 10:24:51 PM / by RU Texas posted in Recovery, Vivitrol, Opioid Addiction, Treatment, Alcoholism, Medication-Assisted Treatment

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Addiction and incarceration have been closely linked for decades. One of the primary critics of this country’s current drug laws is that they disproportionately punish non-violent offenders, needlessly crowding the prison system and tearing families apart. Looking at the current incarceration rates in US prisons, it’s hard to disagree with this assessment. It’s also true that prisons, themselves, can be incubators for addiction. Most recently there was a controversy regarding the smuggling and abuse of Suboxone in American prisons, proving once again that even anti-opioid drugs can be diverted and abused. A pilot program that provides Vivitrol injections to addicted inmates may offer medication-assisted treatment with diminished opportunity for diversion.

Vivitrol shots last for four week and are used to block the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief or feelings of well-being that can lead to opioid abuse. Vivitrol is used as part of a treatment program for drug or alcohol dependence. There have been remarkably encouraging signs regarding the medication’s efficacy in relapse prevention, with some studies claiming that it cuts relapse by nearly half. Opponents of the pilot program have many concerns, including its price tag. Vivitrol shots are $1,000 per injection, however proponents say Vivitrol could save money compared with the cost of locking up a drug offender.

Vivitrol’s slow-acting formula and infrequent dosages make it a viable alternative to other, more easily abused drugs like buprenorphine and methadone. The drug won approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 for the treatment of alcoholism and in 2010 for relapse prevention in opioid addiction patients. Vivitrol is not meant to replace proven and established elements of treatment like detox or counseling; but rather occur as part of patients’ ongoing post-treatment recovery. Eligibility is determined by patients’ physicians and treatment professionals.

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Is Vivitrol Right for Me?

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 16, 2016 6:50:15 PM / by RU Texas posted in Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Vivitrol

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Vivitrol has proven to be an effective resource in helping sufferers of opioid and alcohol dependency manage their cravings and overcome their withdrawal symptoms. The medication is used as part of an overall treatment program, and is not meant to replace any aspect of care. Vivitrol works by blocking the pleasurable effects associated with alcohol and opioid use, greatly diminishing cravings and, theoretically, making long-term abstinence easier. While it is a decidedly valuable tool in the fight against continued opioid and alcohol abuse, the drug is only for eligible patients who fit a standardized, multi-level criteria under established professional guidelines.

Who Can Take Vivitrol?

To begin with, those who are still using or are in the early stages of withdrawal should not take Vivitrol. The drug is also not for patients who are allergic to naltrexone or any other ingredient in Vivitrol. Vivitrol is administered via monthly injections from a qualified physician, and should be taken as part of a larger overall treatment program. The drug is meant to be administered in conjunction with detox and rehab. Treatment can last a year or more and should be monitored by an experienced and qualified physician. Some of the side effects of Vivitrol can include: 

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Joint and Muscle Pain
  • Cold and Flu-Like Symptoms
  • Fatigue and Headache

A successful Vivitrol regimen depends largely on patient-physician communication. It is important that the regimen be closely monitored to assess progress and eventually wean patients off the drug.

To best assess your eligibility for Vivitrol, speak to your treatment provider about starting a course of therapy after detox. Recovery Unplugged is ready to answer any questions you may have prior to starting your Vivitrol treatment or any other course of medication-assisted therapy (MAT). There is a great deal of speculation regarding the efficacy of MAT in addiction care. The best approach is to find out for yourself from your current treatment center.


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