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Vivitrol: Naltrexone

Vivitrol: Naltrexone

Vivitrol is used as part of a treatment program for drug or alcohol dependence. It is a narcotic antagonist and it works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain, without activating them, therefore, blocking the effects of opioids (e.g., heroin, morphine).  Vivitrol is also referred to as Naltrexone.  Naltrexone has a high affinity to the Mu receptor, yet not as high as buprenorphine. Naltrexone can help keep you from feeling a “need” to use the opioid. Vivitrol injection is used to prevent relapse in people who became dependent on opioid medicine and then stopped using it.

Naltrexone was first synthesized in 1965. It was approved by the FDA in 1984 for preventing relapse in opioid addicted patients. Later in 1994 the FDA approved it to treat alcoholism, it tends to reduce cravings for alcohol. Naltrexone binds to the opioid receptors stronger than other opioids (except buprenorphine) this results in near complete blocking of opioids. Naltrexone is not used extensively because the retention rate of patients is very low.

Unlike buprenorphine Naltrexone does not activate the opioid receptors at all, so any lingering withdrawal, or pain from a compromised endogenous opioid system will still exist.
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Vivitrol injection is also used to treat alcoholism by reducing your urge to drink alcohol. This may help you drink less or stop drinking altogether. Naltrexone will not decrease the effects of alcohol you recently consumed. You should not be drinking at the time you receive your first Vivitrol injection.
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