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There are many positives to using Vivitrol in recovery, such as its ability to block the effects of opioids and diminish some of the reward of drinking alcohol if a person does relapse. When used by people highly motivated in their treatment, such effects may lessen the chances for relapse, especially in the early stages of recovery.
Additionally, Vivitrol may play a role in preventing cravings that might otherwise lead a person to relapse after the initial opioid detoxification process. Though many people are able to resume their recovery trajectory after a relapse, in some instances, an early relapse can lead to a person giving up the recovery the process altogether.
Studies have indicated that the use of an extended-release naltrexone such as Vivitrol may be comparably effective for the treatment of opioid use disorder as a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone (e.g., Suboxone)—an encouraging finding, especially for people who do not wish to remain on opioid agonist maintenance treatment indefinitely.
A related benefit for those on Vivitrol monotherapy would be there is no risk of withdrawal when discontinuing the drug like they do when opioid agonist maintenance is a factor. Consequently, naltrexone therapy doesn’t require a drug taper when discontinuing either. Because the drug is long-lasting, Vivitrol is a convenient treatment tool for people in recovery. It doesn’t require a person to remember to take a pill each day, nor does it require a person to commute to a clinic or treatment facility numerous times per week.
A double-blind clinical study showed positive results from individuals who were opioid-dependent. The six-month, randomized study compared two groups: one who received a placebo along with counseling and the other who received Vivitrol and counseling. At the end of the study, the people who took Vivitrol had an average of 90 percent opioid-free weeks while the placebo group only had an average of 35 percent opioid-free weeks. The group who took Vivitrol also reported a 55-percent decrease in self-reported cravings. In contrast to the placebo group, the Vivitrol group was 17 times less likely to have a serious relapse that resulted in physical dependence. On average, the group who took the opioid antagonist remained in treatment longer. In fact, individuals in this group stayed in treatment for an average of more than 168 days. In comparison, those in the placebo group stayed in treatment an average of 96 days.