Recovery from alcohol addiction is a long process that involves multiple steps. Once individuals have committed to the treatment process, various forms of therapy combined with counseling and medications often result in complete sobriety. At Innovative Medicine, we offer our clients a customized recovery program that includes Vivitrol® injections. This medical treatment is FDA-approved and is proven to be effective in curbing alcohol cravings.
How Vivitrol® Works
Alcoholism is an addiction that works by reprogramming what the brain desires. In other words, it can be thought of as a mental addiction as well as a physical one. An alcoholic has cravings because the brain finds it difficult to sense that all is well in the absence of alcohol.
Vivitrol® is a brand name of naltrexone, which is prescribed to persons who are addicted to opiates. The pleasure centers of the brain react to both alcohol and opiate substances. Vivitrol® is a once-a-month injectable drug that effectively blocks the brain’s reaction to opiates.
In a similar manner, Vivitrol® changes how the brain reacts to the presence of alcohol and the effect it has on the brain. Since alcohol cravings are caused by the brain seeking pleasure from drinking, blocking the receptors from receiving this information decreases the desire to drink in the first place.
Taking the Drug
Vivitrol® is taken as an injection directly into an area of muscle. This treatment cannot be performed by just anyone; at Innovative Medicine, our team is highly experienced in addiction treatment. One of the problems with pill medications is that they are easy to forget. Vivitrol® is injected during a routine monthly examination, making it easier for patients to get the treatment on a regular monthly schedule.
Side Effects of Vivitrol® Injections
A slight amount of pain and swelling at the injection site is experienced in some cases. Headaches and dizziness are sometimes accompanied by a slight feeling of nausea. Decreased appetite may also be experienced, but some patients experience no side effects at all.
When Vivitrol® Should Be Prescribed
We prescribe Vivitrol® as part of an ongoing alcohol treatment program. Candidates include only those individuals who have already completed an alcohol detox program. Before Vivitrol® is prescribed, the patient will have had a physical examination including a blood workup to ensure that there is no extensive liver damage.
We prefer the use of this drug because it is non-narcotic, non-addictive and is an extended release form of naltrexone hydrochloride. Patients who qualify for a treatment regimen that includes the use of Vivitrol® must be completely free of any opiate substances in their system. This form of drug treatment works best in conjunction with psychosocial therapy, counseling, and group support. Because Vivitrol® is classified as an abstinence-based medication, people who have completed the detoxification process and are ready for counseling and therapy are the best candidates for using this once-per-month injectable drug.
Innovative Medicine offers advanced, integrative medical solutions that redefine medicine and health. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out if Vivitrol® is the appropriate next step for treating your alcohol addiction.