Is there a shot that can help heroin addicts?

Yesterday’s blog was about a shot that can help reduce the craving for alcohol.   The same shot also works for patients who are addicted to heroin or other opioids.

Vivitrol  (Naltrexone, other trade name is ReVia) works to reduce cravings for patients who are addicted to alcohol but also to opioids.

How does it work?  It binds to a receptor in the “Addiction Center” of the brain, which decreases the urge for heroin or other opioids.

Vivitrol is given as a shot once a month, and is to be used along with counseling for opioid addiction.

The cost for the shot is about $1250 per month, which some insurance plans cover.

The patient has to have stopped taking opioids for a period of time (about 7-14 days) prior to getting the shot.

Does it work?  There is a 50% success rate while on Vivitrol for patients with opioid addiction.

Other medications that can assist with opioid addiction treatment include oral medications Subutex and Suboxone. Success rate with these medications is 40-60% if the patient stays on the medication, but drops to 8% if the patient stops taking the Subutex or Suboxone.

The traditional form of treatment for opioid addiction is methadone. The long-term success rate from methadone is 13%. About 2% of patients who go on methadone die from methadone-related effects.

vivitrol

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