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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:02 pm 
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Hello, I've been lurking this forum for a while, but I thought I'd create an account to detail my experiences with Vivitrol, which, in case you don't know is a once-a-month intramuscular injection of 380 mg Naltrexone. It completely prevents any narcotics from working for at least 28 days.

A brief history: I used Oxycodone every single day for 2.5 years, then went on Suboxone for 6 months, until I recently tapered down to 1 mg/day. I jumped off suboxone (and all other opioids) 42 days ago.

My suboxone doctor HIGHLY recommended that I get the vivitrol shot 10 days after my last suboxone use. He said that it would eliminate cravings. Eliminates cravings? Sounds great! So I thought I would give it a try, and 10 days after my last suboxone dose, I got the shot. I also just received a 2nd vivitrol shot 3 days ago.

Here is my experience: First, it does absolutely nothing for cravings. In fact, I think it makes cravings WORSE because the shot both times has made me feel like something is "off" inside, nauseous, and gave me insomnia as well. The first shot I attributed these symptoms to the remaining suboxone withdrawal. However, I just got my 2nd shot 3 days ago, and before that I had turned a corner with sleep, mood, and motivation. Now after this shot, I am having difficulty sleeping again, feel unmotivated, and lethargic.

Also I think it actually increases cravings because it gives you a timetable as to when you can use again. I'm always looking to beat the system, and so my addict brain tells me: "Oh I can't use for 30 days? Well then I'll use on the 31st day!" That's how my thought process is. Can anyone relate? Also, I used (to no avail) 4 times during the 30-day period after my first shot, which is more times than I used during my entire 6-month period on Suboxone.

Overall, I don't think Vivitrol (naltrexone) is a long term solution. It might work for some people, but I don't think it addresses the real issue: that the drugs are not the problem, WE are the problem. At least that is the case for me, a true addict. I have been going to NA meetings every single day, and those help me deal with cravings much more than vivitrol does. As crazy it is, 12-step programs really DO work. In closing, I will not be getting another Vivitrol shot. I will however keep going to NA meetings and working the program, as it's working for me. I wish everyone luck in their sobriety!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:41 pm 
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Interesting! Thank you for sharing your experience. I don't have any experience with it personally, but I like to hear what others think about it. Coincidentally, we have another member here "L i v i n" who's had the exact opposite reaction to it, so far anyway. Just goes to show how we all react differently to substance across the board. Either way, it's nice to have your side of things too. Glad to hear NA is working for you!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:53 pm 
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I am also on vivitrol and like tinydancer said, I had the complete opposite reaction. But I do absolutely agree that the shot alone is not enough. I also attend step meetings which is the long term solution to my problems.

But for now, vivitrol is giving me the opportunity to work on myself without the craving to use. Before I got the shot I was craving opiates everyday. The moment they pumped that naltrexone into my system the desire to get high was completely lifted and still is after 25 days of receiving it. Maybe it's because I know I can't get high or maybe it's the drug doing what it's supposed to, but I honestly have had no cravings for opiates. This drug is saving my life right now. I am sorry you have had a bad experience but just like any drug, the effects will vary. I just know for me, without the shot, I would be using right now. Hopefully in the near future I can stop the shot and be ok with just the program. But for now it's absolutely necessary for me to stay clean.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:28 pm 
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Livin,

I am happy for you that you found success in Vivitrol. It is strange how I have such a completely different experience, but that's drugs I guess, to each their own!

I also don't like how hard my doctor pushed Vivitrol onto me. From the very first time he prescribed me suboxone, he started talking about how I needed to get on Vivitrol ASAP. I don't think he's pushing it so hard for some type of financial kickback or anything, but I do think he is misguided about treating it like it's a magic bullet. If Vivitrol were the magic bullet then a lot more people would be on it. I know it's expensive, but even my crappy insurance covers ALL of it, so I'm sure a lot of other people are covered too.

It does seem like the most logical way to treat opiate addiction: just give somebody a shot that blocks opiates, and the problem will be solved. However, addiction is not a logical disease. As I said, for me I am counting down the days until it wears off. I don't know how my thinking will be then, but right now I definitely notice a difference from before my 2nd shot and after. Opioid antagonists are apparently not for me.

Or maybe it's all just PAWS. Who knows. Happy to have 45 days clean from Suboxone though!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:49 pm 
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I never had the Naltrexone injection, but I did take Naltrexone pills for a short while and I didn't like the side effects. It seemed to make me jittery and edgy. To the best of my memory, it really didn't do anything for my cravings either, but I have read several stories on this forum of how Naltrexone has helped with cravings. IMO, it's worth trying it out.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:36 am 
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I don't know about the cravings part but only being off Subs for a little over two months can definitely be playing a part in your insomnia. I've been off about 3 months now and still have struggles with sleeping. It started off pretty bad and "Tinydancer" was there to help me through some of it, and I almost started to take the very drug that got me into this mess just to get some sleep (Vic's). But Instead I took two weeks of Ativan, DXM, Benadryl and Melatonin just to get through the night. Now I'm down to one Benadryl a night and it gets me through, which is fine because I have allergies pretty bad anyways. So to make my long story short, I wouldn't attribute the insomnia to the Vivitrol because it could easily be from the going off the Subs.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:23 am 
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I received the vivitrol shot after a 10 day stay at an inpatient rehab. I was giving subs for 8 days then naloxone pills for the last 2 for rapid detox, it was torture not only was I forced into rapid detox from just about every opiate that I could get my hands on over the last 5 years but also from the subs they gave me there. After my 2 day rapid detox I received the vivitrol shot, that was 2 weeks ago yesterday. I honestly feel like I was drugged and forced into all this by the hospital and the staff. The shot was one of my biggest regrets ever, I would rather be dope sick then to deal with the side effects of this poison they shot into me. I haven't slept or ate in the 2 weeks since receiving the shot, my anxiety is through the roof, my mood and energy are the lowest they have ever been in the 38 years that I've been alive. This is not a magic cure. Doctors need to educate themselves better about the meds they give addicts. This also has done nothing for my cravings, it's made them worse because I feel so terrible I feel like I will take or do anything just for relief. The only thing it did help with is my alcoholism I have no desire to drink at all which is the only positive affect that I have got from vivitrol. I wish everyone the best -dpk


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:12 pm 
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It seems the reason you are going through so much pain right now is because you were given vivitrol WAY too soon. Its the rapid detox that is your problem. You're supposed to go ~10 days without ANY opiates, including suboxone, before getting the shot. Of course you feel terrible because you were forced into withdrawals! I took the shot MONTHS after my last dose of suboxone so I felt no side effects, no withdrawal, nothing. The only thing that happened was I stopped thinking about opiates because I knew they wouldn't work, alcohol turned me off completely and I was able to focus on recovery and move past those terrible cravings. Yes, I know they say it doesn't have a direct effect on cravings, but knowing you can't get high helps you move past the thoughts of using without a doubt. Before the shot I would think about using, obsess about using, and eventually give in. Now, if I think about using i remember it won't do anything to me so in a matter of minutes I forget about it.

I am sorry to hear you are in pain, it sounds awful. But it seems pretty obvious it is because you went through a rapid detox and received the shot wayy too early.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:42 pm 
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Exactly my point that docs need to be more educated about meds they administer especially ones that stay in your system for 28 days. I know what you mean about the cravings and knowing it won't get you high so it's easier to dismiss the thoughts but now I just want to turn to something else just to help me get through this.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:18 pm 
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I can relate! although you can get over opiates a bit easier, you begin thinking about other drugs. I ended up slipping with benzos a few times and coke while on the shot. Thats when I decided to use a recovery program(I go to AA) to work on why I was doing this to myself. Opiates were my drug of choice and for me it was just too hard to stop using them without help in the beginning which is why I went on vivitrol. The other drugs I used were not nearly as difficult to stop so the program helps me with that. I hope to get to a place within the next year to where I don't need vivitrol to not use opiates. I think I can get there but I will stay on it until I feel ready, just like I stayed on suboxone to be safe until I was ready.

I totally agree that these doctors know NOTHING about withdrawal. My doc said I should jump from 1-2mg and feel nothing. What bullshit that was. I think you will start feeling better soon. Since you went from what I am assuming was not much of a taper from suboxone to a forced withdrawal, it will probably take a few weeks total for you to feel better but you're already at 2 weeks so give it a little more time. BTW, other drugs aren't as good while on vivitrol. I used xanax and it didn't feel the same as when I took it in the past. I think vivitrol kind of ruins every drug(which I appreciate at the moment).


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:19 pm 
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It definitely kills the craving for alcohol, I went from a daily drinker to even the thought of a drink makes me queasy. I have taken xanax a few times just for sleep though, it actually helps me a lot especially with the anxiety. I really start losing my mind after 3 or 4 days of not sleeping I don't really mind the loss of appetite but the not sleeping makes me crazy. The doc that gave me the shot gave me clonidine patches, seroquel and gabapentin all of which Suck nuts. I stopped going going to php (partial hospitalized program) because I was so sick and pissed off but I do go to AA from time to time. It's hard to get motivated to get off drugs and drink when you feel like shit. I hope I only have a week or less left of this. Thanks for the response. Good luck in your recovery - dpk


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:16 pm 
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I couldn't focus on recovery at all until I was fully detoxed. I was sick in rehab for 2 weeks and couldn't pay any attention in meeting, counseling session, group therapy, etc. Once I got passed the physical stuff it was much easier to begin to focus on recovery. It might take some time because of your rapid detox(I don't know how much you were taking before it or if you tapered), but hang in there. It is definitely worth it. People kept promising me my life would be not only better, but beyond my wildest dreams. I still had trouble believing this even a few months ago. Then all of a sudden, everything changed. Its like a light switch went on and everyday has been amazing. I can't remember the last time i had nothing to complain about. It definitely took time and some work to get here but I am so glad I stuck it out!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:25 pm 
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It's been 3 weeks since my rapid detox on naltrexone, Tuesday will be my 3 week point with the vivitrol shot. The past 3 days my energy and some of my appetite has returned I still have some slight anxiety but nothing I can cope with. My biggest problem is sleep, 4 hrs a night just isn't cutting it! I'm hoping in the next week sleep will come back.
I still have cravings but since I feel a lot better they aren't as bad. I still don't really have craving for alcohol which is good. Good luck to everyone in recovery - DPK


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:34 am 
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Hey man, hope you're feeling alright. I'm new to this forum, but not new to opiates or any drugs for that matter, and have had 5+ years of pharmacy school education (I wasn't able to finish my degree due to my addiction to opioids), but I know quite a bit about most drugs from my education and my own extensive research. I'll try to keep it short, but I have a pretty good explanation for why you might be feeling pretty bad. Anyone considering a Vivitrol shot might want to read this:

From what I know about Vivitrol and other Naltrexone injections is that they are primarily indicated for alcoholism. For alcoholics, a naltrexone injection prevents almost all pleasurable effects from drinking alcohol for the 28-30 day period, and usually makes the person feel sick if they consume alcohol. I really don't see any use for naltrexone for opiate patients, other than for rapid detoxification or extreme cases of opiate addiction.

Naltrexone, given at the extremely high doses as in these Vivitrol and related shots, also has the ability to block the natural opiates in our brains, such as the endorphins and enkephalins, just to name a few. Those of us freshly coming off opiates, we are extremely low on these natural brain opioid peptides, and this is the one of the reasons (among others) we feel crappy for a while. Our brains haven't naturally manufactured these natural endogenous (meaning "from within") opioids in a long time because we were artificially introducing them into our brains.

In a recovering person, these endorphins and such are one of the factors for making us feel "good" and "normal" again; we will begin to take pleasure out of normal activities once again, like eating, exercise, sex, etc. In addition, once our endorphin levels start to return to normal, we will start to sleep more regularly, not feel so tired, anxious, and have less physical pain overall. Other neurotransmitters, not just endorphins, also play a role in making us feel better, like serotonin, dopamine, etc. Even with a Naltrexone injection, however, you will still feel normal after a period of abstinence from opiates, because these other neurotransmitters have been restored.

However, to introduce a substance like naltrexone into a person who just came off opiates should be severely restricted to serious cases of opiate addiction, in my opinion. With Naltrexone, you are robbing the recovering person any chance of restoring their natural endogenous opioid function. There is already a low amount of natural opiates as well as the other neurotransmitters in the brain coming off opiates; this is why we don't feel better and have PAWS for 30-60 days. To block these limited recovering amounts of natural opiates for 30 days with naltrexone is just kind of counter-productive to me.

Maybe in extreme cases where the patient is continually relapsing and shows little self-regard would a naltrexone injection be helpful. This drug should be reserved primarily for serious alcoholics, and extremely serious opiate addicts.

Be sure to thoroughly research every substance you put in your body, even if your doctor is telling you it is the right thing for you.

Hope this helped anyone with thoughts regarding naltrexone injections.

Peace and Love, and best of luck in your recovery.

-GP

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Last edited by GratefulPhish on Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:22 am 
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First, vivitrol does NOT cause sickness with alcohol consumption. That is a different drug called antabuse. Vivitrol simply makes the idea of drinking not as enticing.

Second, there are MANY reasons why we don't feel well or normal for awhile when we get off opiates and endorphins are only one, possibly small reason why. I have been on vivitrol for about 5 months and I have never felt better in my life. I feel great when I exercise, have sex, etc. There is no literature that says anything about vitriol having any negative effect in this area. I am a med student so I have some background on this sort of thing as well. There is just no literature backing up your claims. It seems reasonable for you to have this 'theory' that because naltrexone blocks opiate receptors it must block endorphins and contribute to PAWS and other symptoms, but there is just no evidence to back that up. It is likely that endorphins are blocked to a certain extent, but endorphins are not the primary thing contributing to feeling well and normal again. I have never felt better in my life; I am 100% normal with perfect sleep, low anxiety, great mood, etc. and I am on this drug.

Be careful what you say about something you're not sure about because this drug is saving peoples lives, including mine. I am a chronic relapser and I needed a drug like this to get me away from all opiates, including suboxone, while i work on my program.


Last edited by l i v i n on Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:42 pm 
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I somewhat agree with GP, but vivitrol does not make you sick when you drink. Also I'm not sure if giving the shot to a opiate user with no self regard is a good idea either bc if someone continues to use while on vivitrol and tries to break through the blocking affect they will most certainly OD and possible die.

Now that I'm at the 3 week point on the vivitrol shot and it's starting to wear off I do feel much better. I'm sure a lot of unappealing affects of the shot were due to the fact that I was giving way to soon BUT I also have dealt with detox 100's of times and this was a totally different feeling. I think it definitely depends on the person and they should be giving the naltrexone pills for a while first before the injection to see how the react.
Good luck in Recovery - DPK


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:49 pm 
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In response to livin, didn't mean to debate anyone on their use of naltrexone. If naltrexone is working for you, that is excellent. Absolutely, there are a multitude of factors at play for a recovering addict, not just endorphin levels. All neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, glutamate, endogenous opioid peptides, etc., are altered during long periods of heavy opiate use. Endorphins, however, are the chemicals most greatly affected by chronic opiate use, and studies show sometimes a severe and sometimes permanent disregulation of the endogenous opiate system after years of heavy opiate use.

Anyone that has a long period of abstinence from opiates will certainly feel much better. Absolutely most neurotransmitter levels will return to normal within a few months, even with the use of naltrexone. All I am saying is one should seriously consider hampering the function of one of our natural "feel good" brain chemicals with the extended use of naltrexone, unless it is absolutely necessary to prevent relapse. Even then, there is documentation of users trying to "break thru" the naltrexone blockade, and end up OD'ing.

However, similar to opioid agonists, new research shows the body develops tolerance to the effects of antagonists like naltrexone as well, especially people coming off buprenorphine, who actually have a pretty good tolerance to opiate antagonists, because of buprenorphine's mixed agonist/antagonist action. So perhaps after a few months of naltrexone, one might not notice a difference in the way they feel anyway.

Best of luck to all in recovery,

-GP

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:07 pm 
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I definitely do think that vivitrol does block some of our brains natural chemicals, how could it not? It puts up a wall to block dopamine. So I think you're right. I haven't ever felt so shitty for so long as I did after naltrexone rapid detox then the shot. It was impossible for me to even crack a smile let alone laugh for 3 weeks. I couldn't get off the couch and for a person with A.D.D. This was very frustrating. I had no energy, couldn't sleep (I still have issue sleeping) and couldn't eat. I got constant head rushes, I couldn't concentrate or do basic problem solving. My short term memory is ridiculous also, I forget things almost instantly. I will not be going back for my 2nd shot. I've read a lot of people's comments about vivitrol and either people love it or hate it. I'm one that hates it. Some of the people talk about it like it's a miracle drug I'm not sure if they are a drug rep or what but there is not miracle cure for drug addiction.
I wish everyone a happy recovery- DPK


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:14 pm 
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Today I took my first Naltrexone pill and I'm feeling very uneasy about continuing it.

My main concern is not being able to get those natural highs that helped me through my first recovery. Although, many of the stories I'm reading here about feeling terrible on naltrexone, I feel, are invalid because if you have not gone at least 30 days after initial detox, you are going to feel like shit with or without Naltrexone. PAWS is a bitch and in my opinion is worst than detox.

Is there anyone who has started feeling better before taking Naltrexone and then lost those natural highs? If not I'd have to chalk up the depression to PAWS.

I had three months, somewhat clean, without anything. I would use here and there on the weekends. Then last month I went a month straight heavy binging. This detox has been much easier and I want to try Naltrexone, but only pill for . I can't imagine experiencing side effects and having them for 30 days because of the shot.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:27 pm 
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I got my first shot of vivitrol(naltexone which lasts 30 days) 2 months after getting off subs. I actually felt better after the shot. Before the shot I had a subtle uncomfortable feeling in my skin that is hard to describe. Literally 30 minutes after the shot I felt better and the uncomfortable feeling went away. Maybe it was a mental thing and because I knew I couldn't get high my brain relaxed; I don't know, just a theory. Anyway, after two shots(60 days in a row on naltrexone) I skipped a month just to see how I felt. I felt EXACTLY the same off vivitrol as I did on it. The only difference was now my cravings were back because I knew I could get high if I wanted to. And sure enough, I slipped a few times with oxy. So now I am 3 months back on vivitrol and feel great! Sure, maybe after a long workout I won't get that subtle endorphin rush but thats a very very small price to pay for being able to be clean with peace of mind for the last 90 days.

Hopefully I will be able to stop the vivitrol when I feel my recovery program is enough support for me to stay clean. Right now it is important for me to stay on it. So my point is, no, you should not feel noticeably different after the shot, unless you take it too early and you still have opiates in your system.


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