Addiction is not easy to fight. While detox, therapy, and aftercare are all effective, medications are also often brought in to help ween people off the drugs they are dependent on.
There are various medications that can be used, but a Vivitrol shot is one that is said to be highly effective. Read on to find out the answer to the question, what is a Vivitrol shot and how it can be effective in fighting addiction.
What is a Vivitrol Shot?
A Vivitrol shot is an injectable version of the drug naltrexone. It works by binding to opioid receptors to block out the euphoria people feel when doing drugs. It is mostly used to help people ween off alcohol and opioids.
When used on people recovering from alcoholism, it also discourages cravings. It stays in the system, making people feel sick if they try to drink. Once they establish that drinking is no longer a pleasurable activity, they become less likely to engage.
Vivitrol for opioids works by completely blocking the drug’s ability to bind to receptors. It eliminates pleasurable feelings, so people no longer want to use.
How is Vivitrol Used?
Vivitrol is available by prescription only. Medical professionals that prescribe and administer the shots must undergo special training before doing so.
Although the shot is effective in blocking cravings, it must be used in conjunction with therapy. It is not meant to last forever, and the patient needs to be able to control their addiction without it.
Vivitrol should only be administered after patients complete a 7–10-day detox period. If it is given before detox is complete, it can make withdrawal symptoms worse, particularly in those dealing with an opioid addiction. This is because the medication will abruptly remove the opioids from the receptors causing a more severe reaction.
The shot is usually given once a month, and it is injected into the buttocks area. Patients must be sober 7-14 days before taking the shot. The concentration of the drug will begin to decline after two weeks, but it will stay in the body for 25 to 50 days.
It is recommended that patients take Vivitrol for a full year for maximum benefits.
Is Vivitrol Safe?
Vivitrol is generally safe, but it can cause side effects for some people. These include the following:
- Upset stomach
- Sleep issues
- Muscle and joint pain
In rare cases, the shot may cause liver toxicity, eosinophilic pneumonia, and reactions at the injection site.
Benefits of Vivitrol
Vivitrol provides several benefits, including the following:
- Reduces Cravings: Vivitrol reduces cravings for alcohol and opioids, helping to break the cycle of addiction. The elimination of cravings allows people to focus on recovery.
- Reduces Chances of Relapse: The drug’s ability to reduce cravings minimizes relapse at times when a person is most likely to go back to using. Detox and aftercare are often the most challenging times for a patient, but with Vivitrol being administered throughout the first year, they have a helping hand when it comes to getting through these phases of recovery.
- It Does Not Produce Euphoric Effects: Other medications used to control addiction, like methadone, can be abused. They work by producing euphoric effects that take the place of the opioid. So, the person ends up becoming addicted to the medication instead of the drug. Vivitrol does not produce euphoric effects, making it a better choice for ending addiction once and for all.
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