Why is it so hard to find a doctor willing to do Vivitrol injections?

Vivitrol is a brand-name version of the drug naltrexone, a medication used to help treat alcohol and opioid dependence. Typically administered as a monthly injection, Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist, which blocks the effects of opioid drugs and reduces the desire to drink alcohol.

Unlike other treatments that require daily dosing, Vivitrol’s monthly injection offers a convenient and effective way to manage cravings and maintain sobriety, making it a valuable tool in the journey toward recovery. In this post, we’re going to look at why it can be a challenge to find doctors who will do Vivitrol injections, and where you can turn to get the treatments you need.

The Benefits of Vivitrol

Vivitrol has been proven to be effective in helping individuals maintain abstinence from alcohol and opioids. Its long-acting formula means that patients don’t need to manage daily medication, which can significantly improve compliance and treatment outcomes. 

Vivitrol reduces the brain’s reward response to alcohol and opioids, diminishing the pleasure associated with these substances, and helping individuals avoid relapse. It can significantly increase the number of days of abstinence and can also reduce the rate of relapse compared to placebo, and because it’s non-addictive, it presents a safer option for those in recovery.

Challenges for Doctors Prescribing Vivitrol

One of the primary challenges in prescribing Vivitrol is the need for doctors to undergo specific training and certification to administer the injection. Additionally, Vivitrol must be stored under specific conditions and handled properly, which can impose logistical and financial burdens on healthcare facilities, particularly smaller practices.

Not only that, but the cost of Vivitrol can be prohibitive, and insurance coverage for the medication varies significantly. Some insurance companies may not cover Vivitrol, or they may require extensive documentation and pre-authorization, delaying treatment.

Patient Eligibility and Preparation for Vivitrol

Before starting Vivitrol, patients must be opioid-free for a minimum period, typically 7 to 14 days, to avoid precipitating withdrawal symptoms. This means completing a detoxification process, which must be closely monitored by healthcare professionals.

Patient selection is also important since Vivitrol is not suitable for everyone. Those with certain medical conditions, like hepatitis or liver failure, may not be eligible.

Barriers in the Healthcare System

The healthcare system itself presents barriers to the widespread adoption of Vivitrol. Limited awareness and understanding of Vivitrol among healthcare providers can result in fewer doctors being prepared or willing to prescribe and administer the medication.

Additionally, there is often a stigma associated with addiction treatment within the healthcare community and society at large. This stigma can affect the willingness of providers to engage with and offer treatments like Vivitrol.

Finding a Doctor for Vivitrol Injections

Finding a doctor who can prescribe and administer Vivitrol injections requires research and perseverance. Patients and their families can start by consulting with addiction specialists or treatment centers that have experience with Vivitrol. Additionally, Alkermes, the manufacturer of Vivitrol, offers a locator service on their website to help patients find clinics and healthcare providers who offer the medication.

Trust Casa Recovery for Comprehensive Treatment Options

While Vivitrol offers a promising path for those struggling with alcohol and opioid dependence, the barriers within the healthcare system and the specific requirements for administering the medication can make it challenging to obtain.

If you or someone you care about is thinking about Vivitrol as part of a recovery plan, it’s important to advocate for the necessary support and resources. At Casa Recovery, we understand the challenges of addiction and the importance of accessing effective treatments like Vivitrol, reach out today to speak to someone about getting started.

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