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Old 09-12-2012, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Vivitrol shot

My husband (opiate addict) started outpt rehab and they want him to go to his doctor to get this injection which I guess is good for 30 days. Do any of you know anything about it? Do you know anyone who has tried it and if so did it help?
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You can run a search here about the shot. It is very expensive and something your husband would need to get on a monthly basis for a while. Does your insurance pay for it? It is not a be all, end all drug. Your husband will still need on-going recovery work. Getting the drug out of the body is only the start of the process. He must learn a new way of living without drugs.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My son takes Vivitrol. He swears by it. He has been on since mid-June, and just had his third shot yesterday.

The risk of Vivitrol is that. because it blocks the effects of opiates, an addict who takes percoset, or uses heroin, will not feel high. However, the risk is that an addict will try to "beat" the shot, using more and more- not feeling the effect- and overdose. The risk of overdose (because of the increased sensitivity) in the immediate period after the shot wears off is also increased. So, it's only recommended for patients who are highly motivated to stay clean, and who are involved in an active program of recovery - meetings, IOP, and/or therapy.

It is very expensive ($1000-$1500) a shot, so is only practical for those with health insurance. It also has some side effects; my son's doctor had him try oral naltrexone for two weeks before the shot to make sure he wouldn't experience any problems.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Vivitrol Question

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Originally Posted by SundaysChild View Post
My son takes Vivitrol. He swears by it. He has been on since mid-June, and just had his third shot yesterday.

The risk of Vivitrol is that. because it blocks the effects of opiates, an addict who takes percoset, or uses heroin, will not feel high. However, the risk is that an addict will try to "beat" the shot, using more and more- not feeling the effect- and overdose. The risk of overdose (because of the increased sensitivity) in the immediate period after the shot wears off is also increased. So, it's only recommended for patients who are highly motivated to stay clean, and who are involved in an active program of recovery - meetings, IOP, and/or therapy.

It is very expensive ($1000-$1500) a shot, so is only practical for those with health insurance. It also has some side effects; my son's doctor had him try oral naltrexone for two weeks before the shot to make sure he wouldn't experience any problems.

Has your son experienced any side effects? I have heard it causes anger and violent behavior?
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I just left this reply on another thread, but Im going to copy it here because it is our experience with vivitrol. Short and sweet though: Id recommend.
--------
I can tell you our experience with naltrexone. My husband suffered a sports injury and that got him started on pain meds. I donít think he ever advanced to heroin, but before he quit he did try out Bezos (Xanax) and coke. When he decided to end his use; he first tried to stop on his own. He didnít make it through that as he started to get really ill. From what we were told by the doctors, the life threatening severe withdrawal symptoms he experienced were from the benzos; not the opiates. The opiates just make you completely miserable but in most cases the withdrawals wont actually kill you.

After his attempt failed; he did not want to go through severe withdrawals again. So what we ended up doing was opting for a treatment called Rapid Detox specifically for the opiates. (It didnít handle the benzo use; but they had other ways to assist him with this while he was hospitalized). Im not sure if you are familiar with this procedure. A lot of people are not.

Basically, you are put under sedation, all the monitors and everything just like if you were in the ICU are available to you. The meds they give you to eliminate the opiates from your body would cause unbearable pain if you were awake. The whole process is hard on your body, and that is why it is done in the hospital, and with full monitoring. The procedure takes about a day, and then my husband stayed in the hospital for about 4 days. And its expensive and not covered by insurance.

Maybe more than you wanted to know; but at the end of the process once all the opiates are removed; you are injected with naltrexone. This is what my husband did. So as far as side effects from this; he really hasnít had any. If he did it was in the very beginning when he was still suffering some from the benzos and we attributed it to that. It was not bad.

You understood the way it worksÖ. Im not a scientist, so this may not be technically correct, but the drug latches onto receptors and prevents opiates from attaching if you were to take them. Because of this, you cant get high.
After my husband went through the detox he entered a non-12 step rehab.

He did 90 days which included some outpatient, and now he is about 5 months clean; back home with me and out son, and he is back to work. He does continue to get counseling once a week, and has made a lot of lifestyle changes. We also worked a program of marriage counseling simultaneously with his rehab which was very helpful to us. We continue to do this, but only once a month now. As for the naltrexone injections; it was suggested that he take it for at least 6 months, and the reason for that is because it is also suggested ( and may be required in some places ) that you get follow up counseling Ė sort of like to double team you and make sure you work through the issues that got you hooked to begin with. I guess they figure 6 months time and you should have made enough progress, and also broke the mental chain of addiction to where statistically youíve a better chance to remain free of opiates. But, my husband did not want to continue taking it. It was just a mental thing for him. He had this feeling like by taking it, and knowing it was blocking the high it would somehow interfere with the work he was doing mentally/emotionally in rehab & he didnít want setbacks later on when he would go off the injections. So he only took it for two months, and then he had time to feel confident the shot was not really what was bringing out the changes in him. He had to do what was best for him, and well it appears to have worked for him so far, so I cant argue.

And also, I should tell you about me. Initially while he was actively using I did a lot of reading and research, and then once he went into rehab I started working with the family counselor there. It helped me a lot to work through my own issues, worries, and teach me healthy ways to deal with my husbandís recovery and our future. Now I see a therapist about twice a month.

Anyway, hope sharing our experience can help you just a bit. If you have more questions that I can answer, just send me a note.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Has your son experienced any side effects? I have heard it causes anger and violent behavior?
My husband didnt experience anything like this. Never really heard of that one. But it does have a list of possibilities just like anything else, and Im not positive but I think they check liver enzymes when your on it. Id have to ask my husband to be sure though as I cant recall exactly.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Has your son experienced any side effects? I have heard it causes anger and violent behavior?
He doesn't live with me, so I can't say for sure. I have noticed him a bit more irritable around the time of the shot. I was with him Tuesday this week, and he was getting the shot later that afternoon. He mentioned that he would be totally exhausted for a few days after it.

I can't emphasize enough, though, that the shot should not be used unless there is a commitment to recovery as well as concurrent counseling. Aside from the overdose risk, Vivitrol doesn't eliminate the effects of all drugs...so an addict who was "forced" to take the shot might decide to shift to benzos, for example. This is a decision that needs to be owned by the addict, not the addict's loved ones.
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