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Vivitrol Addiction Treatment Works Without Opioid Substitute—But Comes With Big Price Tag  

Author:  Nicholas Zeman.

Source: Volume 18, Number 02, January/February 2017 , pp.31-32(2)

Correctional Health Care Report

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Vivitrol was approved by the FDA in 2006 to treat alcoholism, but it has also proved effective in treating the cravings of heroin and opiate withdrawal. It is a particularly attractive option for court-involved addiction patients, because as a non-opioid medication that dulls the nervous system’s ability to express the pleasurable effects of opioids, it produces no pleasurable effects itself (as traditional anti-opiate treatments that are themselves opiate-based, like Suboxone and methadone, do)—and therefore, is not habit-forming and can be prescribed without the risk of its being misdirected into the illegal market. This article looks at the promises and pitfalls of this promising drug and its use in corrections (including recently by the Barnstable, Mass correctional facility). One problem: a single Vivitrol injection can cost more than $1,000.

Keywords: Opioid epidemic; Alkermes; non-opioid addiction treatment medication

Affiliations:  1: Contributing Editor.

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