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Vivitrol for Opiates Close to FDA Approval

by James Heller 17. September 2010 12:10

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is pleased to report that the US Food and Drug Administration is one step closer to officially approving Vivitrol for use in opiate addiction treatment.  This Naltrexone injection was originally meant to reduce alcohol cravings, with full knowledge of its potential to reduce opiate cravings.  After opiate detox, individuals with heroin, prescription drug, or other opiate addiction can use Vivitrol to improve their chances at long-term recovery.

For more information on this exciting news, please click on the link below:
http://investor.alkermes.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=92211&p=RssLanding&cat=news&id=1472331

Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Vivitrol as part of our Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs for qualified patients.  Our MAT programs include Methadone Maintenance, Suboxone Maintenance, and 21 Day Outpatient Detox.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  Our services are also available via telemedicine for those who qualify.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

For more information on Vivitrol, contact us via email at vivitrol@tarzanatc.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.

Recovery Month 2010 Events

by James Heller 3. August 2010 14:06

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles will participate in Recovery Month 2010 by planning and attending several events you may want to attend.  We will help the national recovery community to bring awareness to the public about the benefits of recovery from alcohol dependence and drug addiction.  Please join us in September for this celebration of hope and freedom.

Here are just a few of the events we will attend:

August 31, 9:30am           LA County Supervisors Proclamation at LA County Hall

September 7, 6:00pm       City of San Fernando Proclamation at Council Chambers

September 23, 6:00pm     Recovery Night at Dodger Stadium

September 28, 10:00am   Antelope Valley Rally and March for Recovery at Tarzana Treatment Centers

September 29, 10:00am   San Fernando Valley Rally and March for Recovery at Van Nuys Court Quad

We will plan and attend more events, so please bookmark this page and check back every day for updates.  If you or your organization would like to plan an event in your area, go to this page for information:
http://www.recoverymonth.gov/Community-Events/Event-Planning.aspx

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

All of our services are also available via video conference or phone as part of our telehealth services.

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.

Alcohol Dependence and Drug Addiction -Tolerance

by James Heller 18. May 2010 13:48
Tolerance, as it relates to alcohol dependence and drug addiction, is often misunderstood by many in the general public.  In the manner that drug and alcohol tolerance functions, it can be a safety mechanism to the body and, at the same time, deadly.  This makes awareness of the subject critical for anyone who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, as well as those in recovery.

It can easily be assumed that tolerance means that an individual can drink more alcohol without getting drunk, or handle drug use in a seemingly controlled manner.  With this assumption comes the belief that these “abilities” are an example of the natural differences that exist from one individual to another.  While this is partially true, the nature of alcohol and drug tolerance is much more complicated.

Alcohol tolerance is the example with which most people can relate.  Consider the amount of alcohol you need to drink before you feel the effects, or “buzzed”.  Let’s say this is 2 beers.  If you drink 2 beers every day, over time you will feel less of an effect.  If you want to feel the same effect, you must drink more alcohol.  The amount of alcohol needed for the same feeling will continue to increase as you add more alcohol.  

The same concept works with drugs.  Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can result from tolerance since individuals will chase that feeling by drinking or using more on each occasion.  If the cycle continues with regular daily alcohol or drug intake, the body can become physically dependent and alcoholism or drug addiction is the result.  

On this road to addiction that we just followed, the brain has protected the body from overdose, with tolerance, by adjusting to the higher levels of substance use.  This benefit of drug tolerance can become a dangerous consequence, though, for recovering individuals who relapse.  The addicted brain still needs a large amount of drugs for an effect, but the body returns to a lower tolerance of what is essentially a poison.

At the time of first use on a relapse, the brain will dictate the most recent amount of drugs used to get a desired effect.  If the formerly recovering addict is not careful, this amount can easily cause a drug overdose or even be fatal.  Many drug addicts are not aware of this fact, and will even ignore warnings from fellow drug users because they don’t realize the consequences they face.

While alcoholics are less likely to overdose on alcohol during first use on a relapse, they may experience what is known as a lack of tolerance.  At this point, a drunken feeling may result from only 1 drink.  Lack of tolerance can actually occur with anyone who drinks alcohol, but it is typically coupled with alcohol dependence.  Of course, that 1 drink will still not be enough to satisfy alcoholics and they can become a danger to themselves through inebriation and alcohol’s effect on the body.

This information is good to share with teens, friends in recovery, or anyone you may know who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  Too many see tolerance as a benefit both early in substance use and in addiction.  Tolerance is explained in effective alcohol and drug treatment as part of addiction education groups to prevent accidental overdoses among those who may relapse.  Bringing this awareness to the general public may save even more lives.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and addiction education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

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.

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Medication Assisted Treatment Options

by James Heller 12. April 2010 14:07

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a safe and effective method for alcohol and narcotic withdrawal and maintenance.  There is ample evidence suggesting that harm reduction strategies should be more widely available to those suffering from alcohol dependence and drug addictionTarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles has taken note of these facts, and offers several medication assisted treatment options.

Traditional alcohol and drug treatment services help many individuals to begin a life in recovery and improve their lives.  MAT is utilized in medical detoxification at the start of treatment to minimize withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other drugs.  This process is important since patients must be medically stable before beginning the process of recovery.

For some, though, relapse commonly follows traditional treatment.  This is generally due to alcohol cravings and opiate cravings that vary greatly from patient to patient.  Medications like Suboxone, Vivitrol, and Methadone help to minimize cravings so these individuals may begin the process of recovery, medically stable and in a receptive state of mind.

For more information, click the link below:


Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles offers many medication assisted treatment options.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

For more information on Vivitrol, contact us via email at vivitrol@tarzanatc.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.

Using Vivitrol to Promote Recovery

by James Heller 1. September 2009 13:58
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Early recovery brings many challenges for those suffering from alcohol dependence.  Relapse, the biggest challenge, has the power to reverse and possibly erase all progress during this time.  Since alcohol cravings are a major relapse trigger, it is a good thing that advances are being made in medication assisted treatment.

For those who do not suffer from alcoholism, these cravings may be difficult to understand.  An easy way to get the picture is to think of a favorite food.  Did your mouth begin to water? The difference, of course, is that alcohol is deadly to the alcoholic.  But even after many years of abstinence, the sight of James Bond with a martini can bring similar reactions to an alcoholic in recovery.

Although these cravings subside in frequency over time, they can be downright overwhelming in early recovery.  Motivation for recovery can help carry individuals past cravings as they occur.  But most of the time, a relapse is the result.  When questioned as to why they drank, they answer with an indication that they were only trying to satisfy an intense craving.

Researchers understand craving for alcohol in different ways depending on their disciplinary backgrounds.  Psychologists may use concepts of reinforcement, social learning or cognitive processing to explain why we crave alcohol.

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Many theoretical models attempt to explain the phenomena associated with craving. Although no single model accounts for all aspects of craving, each has elements that may eventually contribute to an overall, comprehensive model. Key characteristics of selected models are described below.

  • The reinforcement model is based on alcohol's ability to produce an elevated mood or to help relieve an unpleasant mental state such as stress or anger. An unconscious learning process called reinforcement leads to repetition of the behavior (i.e., drinking) that produces the positive experience. Eventually, objects, environments, or emotions consistently associated with alcohol consumption can produce a similar response as powerfully as can alcohol itself. Such stimuli (i.e., cues) may include the sight of a bar, liquor store, or beverage advertisement; the company of friends who drink; or exposure to alcohol itself. An abstinent alcoholic exposed to appropriate cues will experience a conscious urge, or craving, for alcohol.
  • According to the social learning model, cue-elicited craving during or after treatment can trigger conscious coping strategies aimed at maintaining abstinence. The success of coping depends on the drinker's confidence in his or her ability to resist the urge to drink. This model acknowledges craving as only one of several factors necessary to induce relapse.
  • The cognitive processing model postulates that alcohol use becomes a habit which requires little conscious effort or attention, just as driving down a familiar road can become automatic. In this model, craving represents the effort involved in mobilizing conscious problem-solving skills needed to block the automatic drinking behavior. Such a situation may occur when a drinker finds that his favorite bar is unexpectedly closed. Similarly, following treatment, an alcoholic who is motivated to remain abstinent might experience craving while consciously attempting to avoid cue-induced relapse.

-- Source: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa54.htm  --

Neuroscience explains craving based on brain chemistry, specifically on the regulation of the neurotransmitters endogenous opioids and dopamine.  So medications have been developed with a purpose to reduce alcohol cravings for those in recovery.  Simply put, when the spigot of chemicals is turned down or off, cravings are less likely to manifest.

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Medications to interrupt the process of reinforcement are being investigated. The key neurotransmitters involved in reinforcement include the endogenous opioids and dopamine. The endogenous opioids are a group of brain chemicals similar in action to morphine. They appear to amplify the pleasurable effects of rewarding activities and have been shown to help maintain drinking behavior. Naltrexone helps prevent relapse and reduce craving by blocking certain opioid receptors, presumably reducing the pleasurable effect of alcohol.

-- Source: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa33.htm --


Tarzana Treatment Centers Los Angeles has been using Vivitrol with patients for over a year beginning in September 2008.  We’ve provided the medication to over 120 patients in the past year.  Vivitrol is Naltrexone in the form of a monthly injection which blocks the euphoria associated with alcohol use.   Patients report that cravings for alcohol and other drugs are reduced.

Tarzana’s experience with Vivitrol began with participation in a pilot project sponsored by Los Angeles County Alcohol and Drug Program Administration and Alkermes, the manufacturer of Vivitrol.  Use of Vivitrol at Tarzana has been greatly expanded through the Alkermes Touchpoints program.   Touchpoints provides the initial Vivitrol injection to any patient free of charge.   

Follow-up interviews with Vivitrol patients in treatment indicate positive results overall.  Patients who have relapsed on several prior occasions, with little recovery time, reported greater motivation and hope after being injected with Vivitrol.  So Vivitrol does indeed appear to aid those in alcohol treatment toward long term recovery.

At Tarzana Treatment Centers we use the Urge to Drink Scale to assess patients for medication assisted treatment with Vivitrol.  During the admission process they are informed about the use of Vivitrol and given literature explaining details about the medication.  We are also finding that our Vivitrol patients are privately recommending it to other patients who are approved for use.

While Vivitrol is not a miracle drug, it has proven to be effective for many patients as a helpful tool on the road to long term recovery.  This medication assisted treatment may not stop relapse from occurring, but it offers a solution to alcohol cravings which tend to lead to relapse in early recovery.  This is not just about reducing an annoyance.  With reduced alcohol cravings patients can focus more on other issues that may trigger a relapse, thus giving them an even greater chance at long term recovery.

If you would like more information about medication assisted treatment with Vivitrol at Tarzana Treatment Centers, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or email at vivitrol@tarzanatc.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.