Tens of millions of Americans wrestle with drug addiction and substance abuse. An estimated two million are addicted to Vicodin (acetaminophen and hydrocodone), Fentanyl (Duragesic), OxyContin (oxycodone), or other commonly abused opioids and prescription painkillers. If you or a loved one is coping with an opioid addiction, you should know that you are not alone.
You should also know that defeating your addiction is possible. No matter why you began using, how long you have been addicted to opioids, or how many times you have tried to quit in the past, it is never too late to beat addiction, start fresh, and begin living the life you have always dreamed of leading. Symetria Recovery® is here to help you take the first step.
Chicago Vivitrol® Clinic for Opioid Addiction Treatment
At our five conveniently located Chicago addiction treatment centers in Palos Heights, Highland Park, Naperville, Lakeview, and Des Plaines, your personalized treatment plan will be overseen by a caring, compassionate team of physicians, nurses, therapists, and psychiatrists, all in a comfortable and confidential outpatient setting. Your course of treatment may include monthly injections with Vivitrol® (naltrexone), which aids recovery by blocking the effects of opioids.
Continue reading to learn more about how Vivitrol® works, how Vivitrol® can help you quit opioids, and some common risks and side effects of Vivitrol®. When you’re ready to start the journey toward a healthier, happier you, call Symetria Recovery® at (888) 782-6966 for a free and completely confidential consultation about treating your opioid addiction with Vivitrol®.
How Does Vivitrol® Work to Fight Opioid Cravings?
Vivitrol® (naltrexone) is an injectable medication commonly used to treat opioid addiction. Vivitrol® works by preventing opioids from binding with and activating the opioid receptors in your brain. When these receptors are blocked, so are the pleasurable effects of opioids. This is known as the “opioid blockade” or “Vivitrol® blockade.”
Because of its mechanism of action, Vivitrol® is sometimes described as a “blocking medication” or “antagonist.” In medical terminology, an “antagonist” is any substance that counteracts or works against an action, just like the antagonist in a book or film works against another character. The opioid molecules that Vivitrol® blocks are known as “agonists.”
Vivitrol® is not a pill you swallow or a patch you apply to your skin. It’s a liquid injection that only needs to be administered by your doctor once a month. Between doses, Vivitrol® keeps working until it’s time for the next injection. Currently, Vivitrol® is exclusively available in a 380 mg dose.
One of the reasons we make Vivitrol® available to our patients at Symetria Recovery® is its high efficacy rate. In one study, the median Vivitrol® patient refrained from using opioids for 90% of the study period, compared to just 35% in patients who were given placebos.
While we recognize that Vivitrol® can be highly effective for reducing cravings and treating addiction, we also recognize that every patient has unique medical needs. Some medications work better for certain patients than others, and most patients require multiple medications in combination with counseling and therapy to find the optimal recovery plan. For example, your treatment might start with Suboxone®, which is later followed by Probuphine®, before you begin receiving Vivitrol® injections.
Our medical team will monitor your progress closely, and sit down with you for detailed discussions about how you’re feeling physically and emotionally. If Vivitrol® isn’t working for you, or is producing intolerable side effects, we can tailor your course of treatment to make you more comfortable. You will be an active participant in your own treatment plan, and will have an important voice in shaping your road to recovery.
Vivitrol® Side Effects, Risks, and Warnings
There are no known Vivitrol® withdrawal symptoms, which means you will not experience any sickness or discomfort once you eventually stop using Vivitrol®. However, like any medication, Vivitrol® may cause side effects. While every patient has their own experience using Vivitrol®, reported side effects of Vivitrol® may include:
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Cramps
- Tooth Pain
In addition to the side effects listed above, there is also a risk that the injection site could become infected. Warning signs of infection at the Vivitrol® injection site include:
- Fluid Discharge (Oozing/Weeping)
- Severe Pain/Tenderness
It will be very important for you to keep a close eye on the injection site, especially during the first few days after receiving your first Vivitrol® injection. If you notice any changes at all, no matter how small or subtle, contact us immediately.
Finally, there is an extremely important warning concerning increased risk of overdose death. Because Vivitrol® blocks opioid receptors, you would not feel any effects if you were to use opioids while taking Vivitrol®, increasing your risk of a fatal overdose. Due to the increased risk of death, it is critically important that you avoid all opioid use while you are being treated with Vivitrol®, no matter how many days or weeks have passed since your most recent injection. Additionally, before beginning treatment with Vivitrol®, you must be opioid-free for a minimum of one to two weeks. Our clinic will oversee the detoxification (“detox”) process, and provide you with Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) that’s designed to make detoxing comfortable and safe.
If you experience opioid cravings while using Vivitrol®, contact us immediately for help. Our team of physicians is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide emergency support any time you need it. Never hesitate to contact us, no matter what time of day or night it is – that’s precisely what we’re here for.
We know taking the first step is frightening, but you won’t be making your journey alone. When you’re ready to reclaim your life from opioid dependence, call Symetria Recovery® at (888) 782-6966 to learn more about the opioid treatment services we provide in the Chicago area.