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How Effective is Vivitrol® for Relapse Prevention?

Medication-assisted treatment offers patients with substance use disorder numerous options when choosing the medicines that will help them successfully achieve recovery. Every patient’s treatment experience is unique and requires a personalized plan that is curated by their medical provider to ensure safety and health. While medications like methadone and buprenorphine work to minimize the effects of withdrawal, some patients have looked to Vivitrol® for relapse prevention to stay the course towards recovery. It’s essential to learn about how Vivitrol® works, and understanding its benefits is vital to deciding to switch MAT regimens for advanced care.

What is Vivitrol®?

Vivitrol® is an injectable and extended-release form of naltrexone. It’s an opioid antagonist that is non-addictive and can treat both alcohol and opioid addiction effectively. The injection is administered to patients every month and is one of the most convenient ways to treat substance use disorder due to the lack of daily administering. Vivitrol® can be started anywhere from 7-10 days after ceasing all opioid use. This transition is best done with medical provider supervision and staff.

The Benefits of Vivitrol® include:

  • Lessened desire to misuse substances

  • Euphoric effects of substances are blocked

  • No traveling to a clinic every day for medication

  • Blood levels are more stable with injection versus oral naltrexone

  • Full opioid agonists do not supply any habit-forming opioid receptor stimulation

Vivitrol® for Relapse Prevention

Patients who experience chronic relapse caused by intense cravings or trigger sensitivity while in MAT may quickly become discouraged with the treatment process, leading to higher dropout rates. A medication like Vivitrol® can provide an extra element of security to prevent patients from frequent relapse and misuse of partial-agonists like methadone.

During a study conducted testing the efficiency of Vivitrol® for relapse prevention, researchers found that the medication extended the time between relapse and opioid dependence by about five weeks when compared to patients in alternate treatment. The relapse rate between those on Vivitrol® was 43% compared to 64% in the usual treatment group. Over 24 weeks, 76% of patients on Vivitrol® were able to remain opioid-free compared to 56% in the other group. There were also no overdose events reported in the Vivitrol® group of the study, whereas patients on other medications had seven such reported incidents. Overall, the trial surmised that patients have hope in using Vivitrol® for relapse prevention when enrolled in MAT, as it can be an invaluable asset in achieving long-lasting recovery.

Patients who are frustrated by cravings and frequent trigger-induced relapse may benefit from switching their current MAT to Vivitrol® injections. While comprehensive efforts involving substance use counseling and other behavioral therapy are also vital to treatment and recovery success, taking monthly Vivitrol® for relapse prevention can give patients a much-needed safety net. Every patient’s recovery journey is different, and making the correct adjustments to medication-assisted treatment plans can make a necessary change of direction in the path to life-long health and recovery of opioid use disorder.

For more information about our clinics or to begin treatment, contact us today.


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