Is Vivitrol Treatment Hard on Your Liver?
Vivitrol does list liver damage as a side effect of their drug but that involves cases where it’s already damaged from drinking and drugging.
Vivitrol (also known as Naltrexone or ReVia) is a drug known as an opioid antagonist. It’s a once-a-month intramuscular injection given to reduce cravings for opiates or alcohol. The drug has been on the market as a treatment for alcohol dependency since 2006 and opiates since 2010 and has been proven to be an effective method for maintaining abstinence from these two substances. But doctors tend to monitor liver function thoroughly while using the drug which begs to answer the question: is Vivitrol hard on the liver?
What does Vivitrol do for opiate addicts?
Normally when one takes opiates, opioid receptors in the brain receive the molecules and release dopamine which creates euphoria. The solution when used correctly and injected once monthly, binds itself to opioid receptors. If new opiate molecules are introduced while the Naltrexone is still active, the user will not feel the high normally associated. Therefore cravings are greatly reduced. This combined with this knowledge that using will not be satisfactory means that relapses are reduced. But Vivitrol is not a solution for addiction and is best effective when paired with counseling and other traditional treatments. Vivitrol is supposed to get the addict through the hardest time of their recovery, not meant to be a maintenance drug to be taken forever.
What does Vivitrol do for alcoholics?
Since alcohol also binds to the opioid receptors in the brain to release endorphins and thus the pleasure associated with drinking, Naltrexone has a profound effect on alcoholics as well as opiate addicts. But Vivitrol is different from other drugs that reduce drinking or urges to drink such as Antabuse (also known as Disulfiram) which makes the drinker sick after drinking alcohol. Rather than creating an adverse effect in response to alcohol intake, Vivitrol gives the drinker a greatly reduced effect. Simply said, the drinker can’t get drunk and the ‘feel good’ euphoria associated with drinking is eliminated. Cravings then subside with time as the perceived benefits of drinking are no longer available to the addict.
But is it hard on the liver?
There are a lot of different ways to get the vitamins you need during your drug detox. When I was in detox, I had a hard time eating at the beginning and many others experience this as well. A drug detox center will be able to provide you with supplements and multivitamins in the meantime. Once you do feel like eating again, make sure you eat a balanced diet with lots of protein, carbs, fruits, and vegetables. These supplements can do wonders to make your detox process more comfortable for you. The drug detox centers at Evoke Waltham can help you figure out which supplements are best for your drug detox.
But is it hard on the liver?
Vivitrol does list liver damage as a possible side effect of their drug but that usually involves cases where the liver is already damaged from drinking and drugging. When it comes to the use of Vivitrol in non-extreme cases of cirrhosis, here is what the National Institute of Health has to say about its effect on the liver:
Arguably, the risk−benefit assessment likely favors naltrexone treatment. (NIH)
The drugs to combat addiction may have the side effects of slight liver damage; drinking and drugging do much more damage. Luckily, the liver is a regenerating organ if one can reach recovery in time.
What could go wrong with Vivitrol?
Since Vivitrol takes the high away from opiates and alcohol, the danger of overdose is very real. A user might think he can overwhelm the prescription with enough opiates but all that ends up happening is an overdose. Therefore it’s of the utmost importance that directions be followed completely when using drugs like Vivitrol.
It is also extremely important to have completely detoxed from opiates before taking a dose of Vivitrol. Because the drug is a pure opiate antagonist, Vivitrol would make the user go into sudden opioid withdrawal which is dangerous. Make sure you are completely honest with your healthcare provider before accepting an opiate antagonist like Vivitrol.
If you or someone you love is struggling with opiate addiction and are curious about Vivitrol, you are not alone. On Call treatment is a resource to answer any of your questions about addiction and get you in touch with help if needed.