We frequently receive a number of calls, texts and emails asking me about Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT’s). Putting someone on MAT’s should not be part of an initial treatment plan during a patient’s first time in treatment. MAT’s should be considered after previous attempts at treatment have failed. Vivitrol Vivitrol is injectable naltrexone. Because there […]
We frequently receive a number of calls, texts and emails asking me about Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT’s). Putting someone on MAT’s should not be part of an initial treatment plan during a patient’s first time in treatment. MAT’s should be considered after previous attempts at treatment have failed.
Vivitrol is injectable naltrexone. Because there isn’t any opiate or synthetic opiate in it, it is not a controlled substance. Any doctor can prescribe it. Patients get a shot 1x a month. Vivitrol helps reduce cravings and it mostly blocks the euphoric effects of opiates.
It is effective for both opiates (heroin, oxycotin, hydrocodone, etc…) and alcohol. Vivitrol is not a controlled substance, so it doesn’t take a special prescriber’s license or training to issue it. It is neither addictive nor abusable in any way.
All that said, there is an American line of thought that says “take a pill, get better.” That tactic angers me for almost any illness. When it comes to getting clean and staying off of opiates or alcohol, Vivitrol (or other MAT’s such as suboxone) is not particularly effective without regular therapy and urine drug testing. The law does not require therapy or drug testing, but clearly the best practice is to do so. We tend to recommend Vivitrol for a period of 6 to 12 months. This allows the client enough time to stabilize, reduce cravings, get proper therapy, develop a support network and plan for the next phase of their life (education, work, service).
One of the key concerns about Vivitrol is that it is very expensive. Even with insurance, it can cost a few hundred to upwards of a thousand dollars a month. This means that it is really only accessible to the upper middle class and above. We are hoping that will change.
We have never taken money from any pharmaceutical company in any way, shape or form. Our belief is that once one takes money from a pharmaceutical company, it compromises both your viewpoint and the appearance of your viewpoint. Instead we prefer to remain a neutral, well-informed outsider that others can trust.
Opinions of MAT
Finally, we are a bit appalled by the comments on articles that we’ve read over the years about MAT’s and how they can help people get and stay clean. The comments usually follow one of three themes:
(1) I got sober through God and AA. That’s the only way. Everything else is BS.
(2) I hope this author dies a fiery, painful death.
(3) Another shill for Big Pharma. I hope you die.
All this really proves is that one probably shouldn’t read the comments at the end of articles, but for the fact that it shows us where a percentage of the interested population are currently at. Educate, educate, educate. The data is there (though usually people with ideas that entrenched will double down on their beliefs, even in the face of data).
This post is not meant to be an in-depth analysis of MAT. Here at NJFAI we believe that MAT can be an important tool in the substance abuse treatment. Currently some of the challenges MAT faces is cost and public opinion. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, please speak to a medical professional about MAT.