Medication-assisted treatment offers a variety of medicines that can help people with opioid use disorder overcome their addiction and improve their lives. While these medications all share a common goal, they all work differently to help the body avoid withdrawal symptoms while clearing the mind to help the patient focus on their recovery and improving their health.
Naltrexone is a class of drugs called opiate agonists, which means it works in the brain to inhibit opioid effects like euphoria and pain relief, while also decreasing the patient’s desire to use opioids, helping prevent relapse. It has become one of the most effective pharmaceutical methods for treating opioid addiction when coupled with a comprehensive treatment program that also includes substance use counseling and support groups.
Taking Naltrexone Monthly
This medicine comes in three different forms: naltrexone table, naltrexone monthly injection, and naltrexone implant device. Naltrexone monthly is most often administered under the brand name Vivitrol® and provides an extended-release formula given to patients once a month in the form of an injection. The medicine is injected into a muscle by a certified medical provider in a clinical setting. The effects of this medication are slowly released into the body over a period of time through naltrexone monthly injections, and the benefits can be experienced immediately upon administration.
Patients that are best suited for naltrexone monthly injections are those who have already completed detoxification or patients that are ready to transition from other methods of MAT, such as Suboxone® or methadone. Before administration, patients will have their urine tested for signs of opioid use, or they may be given a naltrexone challenge test to determine if there are opioids present in the system. It’s vital that each patient receiving naltrexone monthly doesn’t use any opioids at least seven days before they receive their injection, and should stop using any previous MAT medicine at least ten to fourteen days prior to starting naltrexone monthly treatment.
Dosages of naltrexone monthly injections are based on each individual patient’s medical status and response to opioid use disorder treatment. Providers will often start patients out on lower doses and monitor the body’s reaction for any side effects before increasing the dosage.
Benefits of Naltrexone Monthly
There are plenty of benefits of taking naltrexone monthly when compared to other treatment methods. Many patients will have gone through standard MAT using other medicines, but feel they may benefit from naltrexone due to its relapse prevention properties. Compared to visiting a methadone clinic daily, naltrexone monthly opens up patients’ calendars, giving them more time to focus on recovery goals.
Taking naltrexone monthly can significantly enhance a patient’s treatment experience, most often for those who struggle with chronic relapse. While recovery cannot be achieved overnight, naltrexone monthly injections can provide invaluably effective treatment components for many patients, especially when combined with a therapeutic plan that includes substance use counseling and a strong support network. Need more information? Feel free to contact us now!