To meet the growing needs of patients with substance abuse issues, some Arbour Counseling Services (ACS) sites are beginning to use Vivitrol, an opiate blocker used primarily in the management of alcohol and opiate dependence, in addition to Suboxone treatment to help patients with the detoxification process.
There are several benefits to adding Vivitrol to the treatment plan, explained Andrew Stephens, Center Director at ACS, Malden. While Suboxone has a 100 patient limit for prescribers, Vivitrol has no cap and can be administered by both MDs and nurse practitioners. “Using Suboxone alone does not meet the need, he explained. “There are hundreds more patients that need to be helped. We get calls every day of the week.” Stephens said he hopes to begin using Vivitrol at ACS, Malden by November.
ACS, Norwell is also using Vivitrol as part of substance abuse treatment for patients.
One of the differences between Vivitrol and Suboxone is the way Vivitrol is administered through injection. While this poses some added challenges in regards to storage and disposal, it also allows for on-site administration, which can be beneficial to patient treatment and outcomes, Stephens explained. Suboxone is administered in pill form and patients are trusted to take the series of pills at home on their own accord. With the Vivitrol injection, patients get their determined dose on-site, eliminating the possibility of patients not taking the prescribed dosage.
Vivitrol is also an opiate antagonist, whereas Suboxone is a semi-synthetic opiate, Stephens explained. Vivitrol works by blocking activity in the limbic system, a part of the brain that is involved in alcohol and opiate dependence.