Those who suffer from opiate addiction may want to learn a few things about Vivitrol, or injectable Naltrexone, which reduces alcohol cravings for those with alcohol dependence. This may be of interest because phase 3 trials have been successfully completed on Naltrexone for opiate dependence, and it is going through the process for FDA approval.
So far it appears that Alkermes has produced a drug that passes all trial phases to the point that it should be approved. But we will not pre-determine the outcome at this time. While remaining prudent until final FDA approval comes, the potential for this type of medication assisted treatment provides us an opportunity to discuss different scenarios where it will be of use.
Heroin cravings are a major reason that individuals remain trapped in an opiate addiction. They can take control of the brain as early as the first use, and last for a lifetime. But, to date, there is not a non-narcotic solution to this problem.
The opiate potency in heroin is so strong that the brain sends signals that the body needs more upon first use. These cravings lead individuals to be more open minded to using it a second time, and are reinforced with each use. Once heroin addiction takes hold there is seemingly no defense against them.
If treatment is sought, heroin detox is typically where it begins. Even the best motivated patients can decide to leave treatment due to the manifestation of cravings. Reminders of heroin use, during a conversation as an example, can take mere minutes to change the motivation from recovery to obtaining and using heroin.
Many who have made multiple treatment attempts resort to Methadone maintenance as a defense against heroin cravings. Methadone for harm reduction works, but it is still a narcotic. While individuals can re-enter society and stop using heroin, they are still addicted to an opiate.
In drug treatment the goal is to help patients remove drugs from their lives completely when they want it. A non-narcotic answer to heroin cravings would be welcome as an option to meet this goal. Not only would it be effective in relapse prevention, but also a healthy alternative to using narcotics for harm reduction.
The excerpt of an article below is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse website. The full article describes current treatments for heroin abuse and addiction.
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A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction. Treatment tends to be more effective when heroin abuse is identified early. The treatments that follow vary depending on the individual, but methadone, a synthetic opiate that blocks the effects of heroin and eliminates withdrawal symptoms, has a proven record of success for people addicted to heroin. Other pharmaceutical approaches, such as buprenorphine, and many behavioral therapies also are used for treating heroin addiction. Buprenorphine is a recent addition to the array of medications now available for treating addiction to heroin and other opiates. This medication is different from methadone in that it offers less risk of addiction and can be prescribed in the privacy of a doctor's office. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is a combination drug product formulated to minimize abuse.
-- Source: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/heroin/heroin5.html --
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides medical detoxification and medication assisted treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment. If you or a loved one has a problem with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.
For more information on Vivitrol, contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.