Can Vivitrol Help With Opioid Addiction?
What is Opioid Addiction
With opioid addiction, even short term addiction can lead to overdose. Opioids are a class of drug, some prescription, some manufactured, are opium like compounds that bind to one or more of the three opioid receptors in the brain. When used as directed, opioids are safe to use to control acute pain, such as that following surgery. However, if the medications are used incorrectly, they can quickly become addictive and cause physical and mental issues.
Opioids travel through the blood to attach to the opioid receptors to muffle your perception of pain and ultimately boost pleasurable feelings. Unfortunately, this effect also makes them highly dangerous. While low doses of opioids can make you sleepy, higher doses can lead to slowed breathing and lowered heart rate, which can lead to death. While many opioids are prescriptions, heroin is manufactured by makers and dealers and is illegal for any type use. This does not mean it is any more or less dangerous than abused prescriptions just that it is made illegally.
Help for Opioid Addiction
There are many treatment options for opioid addiction. While in-patient treatment is always a first choice, there are other options. To begin with you should find a reputable doctor or facility to detox in slowly. Detox from opioids can be life threatening if done cold turkey. Once the until detox is complete, a program, counseling, or group therapy should be sought after if not in an in-patient facility. This will allow you to learn the necessary tools to stay clean long term. This is often accomplished through behavioral therapy techniques over time.
Another option for dealing with opioid addiction is a medication known as Vivitrol. Vivitrol is an antagonist, also known as a blocking medication. This allows Vivitrol to reach opioid receptors, but does not allow for dopamine release. These are non-addictive and will not lead to physical dependence. This also means that Vivitrol can help prevent relapse for those with opioid dependence. To start using Vivitrol you must first be detoxed from opioids. However, once the detox is complete the medication works for a full month at a time.
Concerns with Vivitrol
There are some concerns in using Vivitrol if you have an opioid addiction. Accidental overdose is a concern. If you try to overcome the effects of the medication by taking large amounts of opioids, it can lead to injury, death, or coma. After you get the dose of Vivitrol, the blocking effect slowly wears off over time. If you go back to using opioids after the Vivitrol dose wears off and try using the same amount, it can lead to instant overdose or death. Additionally, you may be much more sensitive to opioids after the initial dose of Vivitrol.
Make sure that you are opioid free for 7 to 14 days prior to receiving an opioid dose and all street drugs. Including methadone, or rapid withdrawal may occur. While some doctors may choose to start Vivitrol in a medical facility, this must be done under supervision in a place where sudden withdrawal symptoms can be managed. Vivitrol may even cause liver damage and any symptoms should be reported for diagnosis.
If you choose to try Vivitrol know you should expect a monthly injection that will slowly lose effectiveness throughout the month. If this is an option you want to consider, contact a healthcare provider to see if you qualify. Your life is worth living addiction free, do what is necessary to make that happen.
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