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What Is Vivitrol (Naltrexone)?

July 2014---What Is Vivitrol (Naltrexone)?

When you read the pharmaceutical manual on this drug, and watch the accompanying DVD, you almost need a bio-chemistry degree to understand the true mechanism in which this drug works. Therefore; I am going to explain it much simpler.

So let's so you are an opiate addict of any type (heroin, dilaudid, morphine, vicodin etc) and you want to break this addicition. There are options such as methadone and suboxone, which work to varying degrees depending upon who you talk to. The "new kid" on the block is Vivitrol. It has actually been around for quite some time, but is really starting to gain in popularity. NOTE-Vivitrol is also used for alcohol dependence, but I'll save that for another day.

I recently had a discussion with a substance abuse professional who stated that Vivitrol has been much more successful in treating opiate dependence than methadone or suboxone. This individual stated that with the right support system in place, Vivitrol was definitely the best option for treating opiate dependence.

Vivitrol is an injection that you receive once a month. Before receiving this injection, you must be 100% opiate free for 7-10 days. Once the injection is administered it creates an "opiate blockade". Meaning, if you are on Vivitrol and then try to get high using an opiate, it (the opiate) will have no effect. You will not get high. Vivitrol binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and "blocks out" the illicit opiates such as heroin etc.  Basically, while you are on Vivitrol, using any opiate in an attempt to get high is a waste of time and money.

So there it is, the simplest explanation. Vivitrol is a drug that causes opiates to have no effect on you and basically just "blocks them out".

If you are opiate (or alcohol) dependent it may be a good idea to discuss the possibility of Vivitrol with your health care provider.

Some words of caution----If you are on Vivitrol and try to overcome this opiate blockade, you can die. Meaning, if you think....hmmmmm I'm on Vivitrol but I really want to get high. So, what I will do is use a whole bunch of heroin, way more than I would normally use, to overcome this opiate blockade....don't. This is a good way to overdose and die.

Also, let's say you are on Vivitrol and all is going well, when you are seriously injured. You have been in a car accident, suffered a compound fracture of your femur and need morphine (or some other opiate based painkiller) to deal with the pain. The opiate based painkillers won't work. The Vivitrol will block them. There are other ways to deal with the pain reduction and there are ways to reverse the Vivitrol blockade of opiates, but you need to tell medical personnel that you are on Vivitrol.

Just my personal opinion, but if I were on Vivitrol, I would wear a medic alert bracelet saying so. Just in case I ended up in a situation where I couldn't speak for myself. You can go online and order medical alert bracelets and have them custom engraved with whatever you need them to say.

Want to know how to stop death from an opiate overdose? Click here.

Want to know why heroin is so popular now? Click here. 

Do you know the leading cause of death for young people in Ohio? To find out click here. 

Can you break opiate addicition in a few hours? Find out here. 

Can legal heroin clinics help solve an opiate epidemic? To learn more click here.

Chief Kyle J. Fittro

 If you are seeing this page as a single blog post, and would like to read more posts about drugs on the chiefteach website, simply click the blog tab at the top right of this page.


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