Treatment Center takes Fresh Look at Naltrexone Delivery - by Implant

the naltrexone implant may be able to help those struggling with these drugsNaltrexone therapy is one in an arsenal of treatments available to those battling alcohol or opiate addictions. Although the drug itself may be an effective tool for relapse prevention, it’s success has been undermined by the compliance factor. In pill form, the drug must be taken every 24-48 hours. Many would simply skip or forget their dose, then relapse. Since the recommended time to take Naltrexone was for 12-months, one had to maintain their resolve to complete the treatment. Many couldn’t.Lasting a full month, the injectable version of the drug (Vivitrol), approved in 2006, proved to be more effective than the pills by lessening the compliance problem. Now Fresh Start Private Management, Inc. is using an implantable version of the drug as part of treatment in their alcohol and rehabilitation treatment centers.The first step of Fresh Start’s program involves patients undergoing an outpatient procedure in which the implant is placed under the patient’s skin. The second part of their program involves one-on-one counseling specific to an individual’s needs. The clinic claims an 85% success rate, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch.

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone was actually developed in the 1960s, but began to be used clinically in treatment for alcoholism in the late 1970s, following studies that showed it’s strengths and weaknesses. The drug works by significantly reducing cravings for alcohol, perhaps by affecting neural pathways in the brain where the neurotransmitter dopamine is found. For opiate addicts, it’s thought to completely block the effects of drugs like heroin and cocaine – meaning it takes away the euphoria, or pleasurable feelings. It then becomes literally impossible to relapse until the Naltrexone wears off.

What made this a bit dangerous, however, was that opiate addicts would often forget to take it, or refuse to take it, than relapse into their addiction, when the risk of death by overdose is higher because tolerance lowers after a period of abstinence.

Why the implant is different

The implant version of Naltrexone lasts approximately two to three months, slowly releasing the drug into the client’s system. This method of delivery is avaiable in the UK and Australia. Sometimes the implant is currently used here to rapidly detox an opioid addict, followed by up to 12 months of injections. Approval for this use is for a one-time “cure” This new, longer-term implant use may up the success rate for those who use it.

While BlueCross BlueShield has approved covering the implant for Fresh Start Private clients, FDA approval has not been documented.

“The remarkable thing is that our clients are in and out quickly, without the stigma attached to being away from their loved ones for an extended period,” said a Fresh Start Private spokesperson on their website.There are many treatment options available to those who suffer from the disease of addiction. With literally hundreds of treatment centers offering recovery options to suit the individual’s needs, the help of a professional can steer you to the right place to began you or your loved one’s journey to a better life. The disease of addiction is fatal and incurable; Seek help before it’s too late.Written by: Betty Lenz

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