incredible-marketing Arrow


Does Vivitrol Prevent Opioid Relapse?

Vivitrol, or naltrexone, is an opioid antagonist–a medication that blocks opioid receptors in the brain and prevents opioids from working. That means, if you use opioids while receiving Vivitrol injections, the opioid will not relieve pain or get you high. In order to start treatment with Vivitrol, you must detox completely from opioids. If you are still experiencing opioid withdrawal, the sudden blocking of opioid receptors may cause painful or dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Vivitrol is a relatively new drug and not well studied. It was granted FDA approval based on one study in Russia. That study found that 36 percent of participants given Vivitrol had not relapsed after six months compared to 23 percent who were given a placebo. Participants taking Vivitrol also reported fewer cravings.

Vivitrol doesn’t work by itself. It’s tempting to believe there is pill or shot that will cure addiction, but like any other problem, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Just because opioids no longer work in the brain doesn’t mean the cravings go away. Nor does it magically cure the underlying problems that drive addiction. All Vivitrol does is make sure that if you look for solace in opioid use, you won’t find it.

That distinction is important because some studies suggest relying on Vivitrol alone to treat opioid addiction may increase your chances of a fatal overdose. One problem is that people sometimes up their doses to dangerous levels to overcome the antagonistic effect of the Vivitrol. Another problem is that addicts who relapse after a period of abstinence are likely to use at pre-detox levels without accounting for their reduced tolerance.

Trying to overwhelm the effect of Vivitrol is a desperate move and indicates a serious addiction. Vivitrol may work better for less serious addicts who suddenly find they get no pleasure from opioid use.

For serious addicts, other well-established alternatives might be better. Methadone and buprenorphine, or Suboxone, are cheaper and often show better results. Unlike Vivitrol they are both opioid agonists, meaning they bind to opioid receptors just enough to limit cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The strategy here is not to end drug dependence completely, but rather to prevent fatal overdoses and allow the addict to be more functional in daily life. These have much more research behind them and have been shown to reduce the risk of relapse and death by overdose. They also don’t require total detox before beginning treatment. No studies have compared methadone and buprenorphine to Vivitrol.

Human dignity has value. When a loved one chooses detox, they should be comfortable and treated with respect. Struggling with addiction is not something punished. Recovery should be supported with empathy and acceptance. Gardens Detox stands out, changing the way the industry approaches detox. Call us today for information on our programs:  (844) 325-9168