Vivitrol Effective for the Prevention of Relapse to Opioid Dependents

Kelly Clixby wears a necklace saying she is on Vivitrol, which is a prescription drug that helps former drug users stay off of opiates.

In a recent study from The New England Journal of Medicine published on March 31, 2016, the efficacy of Naltrexone (Vivitrol) was tested on those with a history of opioid dependency. This randomized trial compared a 24 week course of extended – release Naltrexone with the usual treatment. The injectable form of Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is a once a month injection only performed by a doctor. Naltrexone is an opioid blocker, therefore diminishing any craving for the opioid.

The studied participants were volunteer criminal justice offenders with a history of opioid dependence. After the volunteer’s eligibility to perform in this study was confirmed, an independent and automated telephone system made calls to assign treatment groups. Those in the extended – release group also were provided with medication – management counseling as is required with the use of Vivitrol. The injection dose of 380 mg was administered by intramuscular injection every four weeks in the upper quadrant of the buttox. The participants undergoing the usual treatment received similar counseling focusing on prevention of relapse.

This trial included 153 participants in the extended – release group and 155 receiving usual treatment. During the 24 weeks of testing, it was found that those undergoing the extended – release treatment had a longer median average relapse time than those going through usual treatment. Following the 24 week trial, follow up assessments occurred at weeks 27, 52 and 78. After 78 total weeks of observation, there were no overdose events in the extended – release group, but 7 in the usual treatment group.

Naltrexone was FDA approved in 2006 for alcohol dependence, and in 2010 for the prevention of opioid relapse after detoxifying treatment.


Vivitrol Effective for the Prevention of Relapse to Opioid Dependents was last modified: April 20th, 2016 by Emily Harrison