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Vivitrol Treatment & Support Program for Alcohol & Opioids

Most people who are dependent on alcohol or opioids need the help of a comprehensive treatment program that starts with supervised medical detox (also known as withdrawal stabilization) to safely remove the substance(s) from the body before beginning treatment.

Both during and after the medical detox process, patients may be prescribed anti-addiction medications such as Vivitrol to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and decrease the likelihood of relapse.

Please note that medical detox alone is not considered treatment.

Once the detox process is complete, patients can then start fully participating in a treatment plan of ongoing pharmacological support, psychological treatment, and behavioral therapy to address the physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual aspects of addiction.

Research shows that this combination of therapies and treatments is the most effective way to restore a degree of normal function to the brain and provide a more positive, lifelong outcome.

A treatment plan at Enterhealth may include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy sessions
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
  • Supportive Outpatient Programs (SOP)
  • Maintenance Outpatient Programs (MOP)
  • Holistic treatment services
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A range of treatment options based on you

Each person’s path to addiction is unique with different neurological, emotional, social and environmental contributing factors. That’s why the Enterhealth journey to recovery is personalized to meet individuals and families where they are. Whether you need immersive inpatient care or outpatient treatment, we offer a range of evidence-based treatment options and innovative therapies.

Enterhealth is the only facility with highly trained on-site addiction specialists, including PhDs, MDs and Master’s Level Therapists, who coordinate care at every stage. Because we understand the science behind addiction, we are best equipped to assess and treat individuals and families. Contact us to see why we’re the only facility with an 84% success rate.

Our Addiction Treatment Programs

A full continuum of care: Real treatment. Real recovery.

Residential Treatment

Enterhealth Ranch offers inpatient care that’s on your side, not on the clock. It’s a nurturing environment where treatment is highly personalized and intensified. Every patient has a private room and 24/7 access to addiction trained specialists who use evidence-based treatments and comprehensive care, including medical detox, in-depth medical and psychological assessments, individual and group therapies, life skills and more.

Outpatient Treatment

Enterhealth’s Outpatient Center of Excellence, conveniently located in the Park Cities, is expertly staffed with board-certified addiction specialists. Our comprehensive program is designed for continued recovery care and provides individuals and families the support they need to reconnect with each other and thrive in recovery.

How Enterhealth Makes a Difference

“FPO – When I first arrived here, I truly believed I would never be able to function without drugs or alcohol, nor be happy in general ever again. My family did not know how to help me. After being here, I’m a happier person. Laughter comes naturally. I’m repairing relationships I thought were irreparable.”

Hanna (former Enterhealth patient)

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Frequently Asked Questions About Vivitrol Treatment

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a medication used to help those addicted to alcohol or opioid drugs manage their dependence and prevent relapse. The active ingredient in Vivitrol is a medication called naltrexone, which has been formulated into an extended-release solution for intramuscular (IM) injection by a qualified medical provider.

The FDA approved naltrexone for use in three different routes: in pill form, in an implant device, and, in the case of Vivitrol, as a once-a-month physician-administered injection. Vivitrol is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction recovery program and should only be administered by a healthcare professional.

What are the advantages of Vivitrol?

The main reason Vivitrol is so effective is its ability to deliver a highly effective medication for alcoholism and opioid addiction uninterrupted for one full month.

Patients taking naltrexone orally (by mouth) need to remember to take it every day for it to be effective. As with any patient who has a chronic illness and has to take medications daily, it is possible to simply forget or stop taking the medication for a variety of reasons.

Another reason people stop taking oral naltrexone every day has to do with how effective the medication can be. Patients often take it for a few weeks or months and feel as though they are in control of their drinking or drug use. This can lead them to stop taking the medication.

Unfortunately, oral naltrexone’s positive “anti-alcohol” effects wear off after about three days, which is when the cravings return, making them vulnerable to relapse.

The breakthrough at the heart of Vivitrol’s success is that, in addition to delivering the same benefits as oral naltrexone, it also remedies the critical issue of compliance because it continues to work even during a “weak” moment.

How does Vivitrol work?

Vivitrol is what’s known as a non-addictive opioid antagonist. Vivitrol makes it easier for patients to stop abusing alcohol and opioids by blocking certain receptors in the brain that, when stimulated by these substances, give users a “high” or “rush” by releasing feel-good chemicals like dopamine into their system.

In simpler terms, if someone taking Vivitrol drinks alcohol or uses an opioid, they can’t get drunk or high.

This makes alcohol and opioids less alluring and prevents relapse by causing several things to occur:

  • Vivitrol decreases cravings for alcohol and opioid drugs by up to 90%.
  • If a patient drinks alcohol while on Vivitrol, it blocks the euphoria they would normally get from drinking*.
  • Because Vivitrol binds with opioid receptors, it prevents opiates like heroin from taking effect at all. Therefore, when the patient is on Vivitrol, they can’t get high.

*Note that drinking on Vivitrol will still produce symptoms of intoxication, like slurred words or poor balance, but patients don’t benefit from any of the positive (pleasant) effects of alcohol.

Unlike other treatments such as disulfiram (Antabuse) that deter people from continuing to drink by making them sick if they consume alcohol, Vivitrol discourages people from wanting to drink or use opioids in the first place.

By preventing patients from getting drunk or high, Vivitrol is a powerful tool for preventing relapse and helping patients stay committed to their treatment so they can learn the appropriate coping skills to allow them to live in their normal environments and deal with stress in healthy ways rather than using alcohol or drugs as their primary coping mechanism.

How long does Vivitrol last?

Vivitrol is typically given either orally or as a once-a-month extended-release injection.

The average duration of effects with oral administration varies depending on the dosage, but typically ranges from 24 to 72 hours. Because the Vivitrol injection is a different, time-release formulation, the medication will last for about 4 weeks.

Most patients begin to feel the effects of the medication within the first 2-3 days of starting their first injection. Subsequent Vivitrol injections are then administered each month for the medication to continue working.

How long do you need to take Vivitrol?

This depends largely on the individual. Factors such as how long the patient was using alcohol or opioids, whether there are any co-occurring mental issues or cross-addiction risks, as well as other factors, need to be considered before discontinuing Vivitrol treatment.

The good news is that Vivitrol can be safe and effective when used either short- or long-term. Most patients benefit most from at least one year of Vivitrol injections.

What are Vivitrol side effects?

Enterhealth utilizes Suboxone (buprenorphine with naloxone) to treat opioid addiction. It works by activating the same opioid receptors in the brain that Demerol does, but without producing the same euphoric high, which makes it safer than short-acting opioids.

As a result, patients report that Suboxone helps by minimizing cravings and relieving some of the withdrawal symptoms so they can actively participate in their treatment program.

Is Vivitrol Safe?

The active ingredient in Vivitrol is naltrexone. The FDA approved oral naltrexone for treating alcoholism in 1994 and for the treatment of opiate addiction in the 1970s. The medication has been the subject of many studies and has proven safe and effective.

The primary side effects are nausea (which occurs in a small number of cases and usually only lasts 2-3 days after the first injection), occasional headache, and some tenderness at the injection site for a short time.

All of these symptoms are mild in most cases and much less toxic or evident than the side effects of opioid addiction or alcoholism. Consequently, Vivitrol is very safe, well-tolerated, and non-addictive.

Why is intramuscular injection preferred to oral administration?

One of the reasons Vivitrol has few side effects is its intramuscular injection delivery method. By being injected into the muscle where it can slowly release into the bloodstream, the medication initially avoids going through the liver before it goes into the rest of the body.

One of the liver’s main functions is to break down different substances, including medications. When any medication is able to bypass the liver initially, less of it is destroyed, leaving more of it is available. Thus, a patient needs a much lower dose to be effective (in the case of Vivitrol injection, 70% less).

This overall lower dose of naltrexone produces minimal side effects compared to oral administration. As an added bonus, because of the way Vivitrol gets into the bloodstream, it also provides four times the brain levels of the oral dose, so more medication is available to help the brain.

As with any medication, it’s important to discuss any concerns with your doctor and determine if it’s right for you.

How does Vivitrol help families of addicts and alcoholics?

Another critical success factor for the use of Vivitrol for alcohol and opiate addiction is that the patient’s family and overall support system can significantly benefit from their loved one’s usage of the drug.

Once someone gets the injection, their family knows that for the next 30 days, they won’t be able to experience any intoxication from alcohol or opioid use. Additionally, cravings will decrease by 90%, in general, which helps with mood and irritability issues that can accompany stopping these substances.

In the extensive research and clinical use of Vivitrol for alcohol and opioid treatment, physicians have found that once a family understands the significant benefits of Vivitrol, they begin to feel some “control” returning to very chaotic, “out-of-control” home environments.

Vivitrol is the first anti-addiction medication for alcoholism and opiate addiction that provides this sense of control for the family members, as the patient cannot change the effects of the medication once the injection is received.

Family members and others in the patient’s support system quickly realize that if they help the alcoholic or opiate addict to just get to treatment every 30 days, Vivitrol can make a tremendous difference in all of their lives.

*State standard is 1:10 clinical staff to patient ratio