COLUMN: Studies Compare Impact of Opioid Addiction Treatment Drugs

by David Williams, HNN Freelance Correspondent

There are two addiction issues  that run hand in hand. One is if jail is enough of a detox for addicts and another is if the relatively new opiate blocker Vivitrol is effective long-term.

In a article,  expert Betty Tai, director of the Center for Clinical Trials Network for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, wrote: "With just detox, and not providing additional treatment, the relapse is almost instantaneous."

The article continues, "Only about 5 percent to 10 percent of people who detox will be able to stay drug-free with just detox, said Theresa Winhusen, professor and director of the Addiction Sciences Division within the UC College of Medicine psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience department. 

But detox is necessary for one of the FDA-approved medications for opioid addiction. Tai noted that research shows people who detox in a jail can remain free of opioid-seeking behavior if they follow incarceration with injectable naltrexone, known commonly as Vivitrol, and counseling. The non-narcotic blocks the effects of opioids."

FULL ARTICLE:…/addictions-myths-bu…/880167001/


A friend of mine recently was locked up for a year. They were drug free for that time and was interested in remaining clean. When the person returned to their home, they gradually began using. If the person would have received Vivatrol, they may have remained clean.

The hospital I work at has made Vivitrol available. They do not use Suboxone or Methadone. The hospital also offers extensive counseling and therapy.

Vivitrol is a form of Naltrexone in a 28-day extended-release method that blocks the effect of heroin. Test results released the last two weeks reveal Vivatrol is as effective as suboxone.

According to…/long-awaited-study-finds-monthly-vivi…19, 2017 1:19 PM EST

"The largest head-to-head study to date between two leading drugs to treat opioid addiction has found them roughly equivalent — an outcome that could dramatically change prescribing habits and boost the fortunes of the newer drug, Vivitrol.

The study, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found that a monthly shot of naltrexone (sold as Vivitrol) is as effective as its main competitor, the daily pill of buprenorphine and naloxone (sold as Suboxone). Researchers found that about half of people with opioid addiction who took either drug remained free from relapse six months later.

Previously, there’s been a “widespread belief” that patients “don’t do as well on naltrexone as they do on buprenorphine,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA. “We’re hopeful this changes the prejudice

I have known several people who say they like Vivitrol and it keeps them clean. The drawbacks are that it is very expensive at about $1000 a shot and a person has to be 5 to 7 days clean before they can start using the shot.

Detox, of course, is necessary to get clean but if applied with counseling and perhaps medication, the odds increase that a person will not relapse. 

FROM: Alligator Jackson's Inside Huntington,


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