Alcohol is the third-leading yet preventable cause of mortality in the United States, with an estimated 95,000 individuals (roughly 68,000 men and 27,000 women) dying each year. On the other hand, over 106,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2021. Drinking Alcohol and drug consumption can have long-lasting negative effects on your mind and body. The most common medication used to treat addiction is Vivitrol (Naltrexone). Vivitrol is a strong anti-addiction medication used as part of the addiction treatment program for AUD and OUD. Read ahead and find out the role of Vivitrol for alcohol addiction and opioid use disorder.
What Is Vivitrol?
Naltrexone is sold under the brand names Vivitrol and ReVia. Vivitrol is an FDA-approved, safe and effective medication used to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD). As soon as it is released into the system, its effects start to show within the first 30 minutes. Vivitrol treatment combined with counseling resulted in a 25% drop in the number of heavy drinking days. Vivitrol can be taken as an intramuscular injection and as an oral medication.
Importance of Vivitrol Shot for Alcohol and Opioid Use Disorder
Vivitrol is used for patients that have gone through drug and alcohol detox and not for someone who is only willing to quit drinking and doing drugs. It is important because:
- it reduces the pleasure you get after drinking Alcohol.
- a person who starts taking Vivitrol will not feel the urge to drink alcohol as often as before.
- Vivitrol limits the usual onset of euphoric feelings that alcohol is famous for.
How Does Vivitrol Work in Treating AUD?
1n 2006, FDA approved Vivitrol for alcohol use disorder. Vivitrol may produce the best results in patients abstaining from consuming Alcohol. Here is what happens in your body when Vivitrol shot for Alcohol is injected into the system:
- Vivitrol attaches itself to the receptors that react to the alcohol in your system
- Then it blocks the endorphins that attach to those receptors
- This results in blocking the effects of alcohol
Benefits of Vivitrol Shot for Alcohol Use Disorder
- Reduces the cravings and urges to take Alcohol and drugs.
- Binds the opioid receptors and subsequently blocks any feeling of pleasure that comes after taking Alcohol and drugs.
- Blocks the alcohol cravings and their euphoric effects.
- Changes the way the brain gets after taking Alcohol.
Role of Vivitrol in Treating Opioid Use Disorder
In 2020, opioid drug overdose deaths in the United States increased to 69,710. In 2016, almost 2.1 million people had opioid use disorder. Opioid addiction is a treatable medical condition that occurs due to brain chemistry changes. When someone is addicted to opioids, the desire to fulfill cravings or prevent withdrawal symptoms can be strong and difficult to control independently. During MAT, your healthcare provider may prescribe Vivitrol and counseling sessions to treat opioid addiction.
How Does Vivitrol Work in Treating OUD?
Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist that binds itself to the mu-opioid receptors competitively, inhibiting the effects of opioids. It is an effective treatment for OUD as it tricks the brain into disliking illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, or hallucinogens.
This is how Vivitrol helps in Treating Opioid Use Disorder:
- Vivitrol can stop endorphins from binding opioid receptors in people who consume Alcohol.
- It blocks opioid drugs from binding to opioid receptors in the brain.
- Vivitrol (Naltrexone) blocks the high that comes after taking opioids.
Common Vivitrol Side Effects
Vivitrol is one of the four MAT clinics used to treat alcohol dependence. Vivitrol side effects can be mild or severe and normally dissipate within a few days. As long as Vivitrol is used as directed by a healthcare provider, there will be no long-term side effects. But like any other medication, it may produce some short-term side effects during the treatment. Here are some of the common Vivitrol shot side effects.
Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are non-existent in your surroundings means having hallucinations. Although hallucinations are not necessarily linked with any mental illness, people suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychotic conditions frequently report having hallucinations.
Hallucination is a rare but severe side effect of Vivitrol (Naltrexone). Not everyone who takes Vivitrol reports having hallucinations. Vivitrol can cause the following type of hallucinations:
- Visual hallucinations – seeing the unseen
- Auditory hallucinations – hearing unheard voices
- Tactile hallucinations – feeling unreal sensations all over the body
A lesser-known side effect associated with Vivitrol is that its consumption in larger quantities will likely end up damaging your liver. Vivitrol is metabolized in the liver and has the potential to cause hepatic damage. If you have an already existing liver problem, Vivitrol in heavy dosage may trigger that and make things complicated. Common symptoms of liver damage may include:
- Dark urine
- Yellow tinge in eyes and skin
- Loss of appetite
- Severe abdominal pain
Vivitrol (Naltrexone) works just like an opioid but gives different results. Where opioids give the feeling of euphoria, Vivitrol works by sending signals to the brain to block the receptors and prevent opioid effects. Therefore neurologic reactions after taking Vivitrol are widespread yet not so severe. Some of the common neurological reactions include:
- Reduced sense of touch
- Mood swings
Reaction at the Injection Site
Vivitrol injection and addiction counseling can help a person who wants to avoid drugs and Alcohol. They are injected into the muscle every four weeks or as your doctor suggests. It may cause the following reactions at the injection site:
Vivitrol should be administered under the strict supervision of a healthcare professional to minimize the side effects. If you want to receive Vivitrol for alcohol or opioid use disorder under the strict supervision of professional doctors, contact ChoicePoint at 844.445.2563.
ChoicePoint Is a Telehealth MAT Clinic in NJ That Accepts All Insurance Programs
Alcohol and opioid use disorder has become a significant public health issue. While these issues should not be taken lightly and left untreated, a study showed that 90% of people who need addiction treatment do not receive it. To make things easier for you, ChoicePoint accepts all commercial insurances and provides Telehealth addiction treatment programs right in your living room.
Our MAT Clinic is designed to help you reclaim and live an addiction-free life. Our Medication-Assisted Addiction Treatment Program may offer you the benefits:
- ChoicePoint provides Alcohol and opioid addiction treatment using Vivitrol. Our MAT program can help minimize withdrawal symptoms and offer you a speedy recovery.
- Along with supervised medications, we provide addiction counseling and therapy services. Our highly specialized doctors combine Vivitrol with effective counseling sessions to prevent relapse in the future.
- With rising gas prices in NJ, you can receive addiction treatment through our Telehealth services from anywhere. As a result, you will receive quality addiction treatment and save traveling time.
Vivitrol (Naltrexone) may cause symptoms of withdrawal if a person is addicted to opioids. Therefore it is recommended that a person must stop using opioids prior to starting treatment.
Vivitrol for Alcohol and Opioid Use Disorder: A Final Note…
Alcohol use disorder has become a chronic health issue in the USA that should not be left untreated. Vivitrol is a medication that is primarily used in the Medication-Assisted Addiction Treatment (MAT) Programs to treat alcoholism and opiate addiction. When used, Vivitrol for Alcohol can assist in reducing the desire to drink. On the other hand, when it is used to treat opioid dependence, it works to block the effects of opiates on the brain. Vivitrol is generally very well tolerated by patients, but Vivitrol’s side effects are sometimes reported during treatment as well. Rest assured, you do not need to worry about them. If any of the side effects of Vivitrol prevail, contact your healthcare provider instantly.
If you are looking for doctors that prescribe Vivitrol near you, our MAT clinics use Vivitrol for Alcohol and to treat OUD; contact ChoicePoint in New Jersey at 844.445.2563 and start your journey towards a sober life.
ChoicePoint aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use disorder and mental health issues. Our team of licensed medical professionals research, edit and review the content before publishing. However, this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical advice please consult your physicians or ChoicePoint's qualified staff.