What the Experts are Saying About Vivitrol


Early in October 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announced that that it had approved the Vivitrol (an extended-release version of the generic medication naltrexone) for use in approved programs that treat individuals who are struggling to overcome opiate addictions.

Though the medication Vivitrol may not be very well known among the general public, the drug is not new. Vivitrol’s primary active ingredient, naltrexone, has been approved in the United States for use in alcohol dependence treatment since 1994. Vivitrol itself has been approved in the United States for use in alcohol dependence treatment since 2006.

The following are among the statements and observations that have been made by “those in the know” regarding the approval of Vivitrol and its potential in the treatment of opiate addiction:

Nora Volkow (Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse): “Double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trials have shown Vivitrol to be effective in preventing not only relapse to drug use following detoxification, but also to diminish cravings that often drive it. … Vivitrol is the first non-narcotic, non-addictive, extended release medication approved for the treatment of opioid dependence – marking an important turning point in our approach to treatment.” [Source: NIDA]

Jerry Rhodes (Recovery Division President – CRC Health Group) “The FDA’s just approved monthly drug treatment with Vivitrol could be a game changer. [Vivitrol’s approval] will provide addicts seeking help one decision a month instead of 30, and a new way to reduce or eliminate relapse. We are pleased to play a part in rolling out this potentially life-saving treatment.” [Source: CRC Health Group]

Janet Woodcock (Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research): “Addiction is a serious problem in this country and can have devastating effects on individuals who are drug-dependent and on their family members and society. This drug approval represents a significant advancement in addiction treatment.” [Source: FDA]

Gen. Barry McCaffrey (CRC Health Group Board Member, Former U.S. Drug Czar) “[Approving Vivitrol is] a science-based new approach to reduce the national drug treatment gap. Addicts who in the past have been reluctant to seek treatment will be far more likely with a once-a-month opportunity to stop their craving. This is another important new tool in treatment.” [Source: CRC Health Group]

Phil Skolnick (National Institute on Drug Abuse) “Someone who’s interested in not abusing opiates only has to make one good decision a month – or their family member only has to help them make one good decision a month. That’s why [Vivitrol’s approval for opiate addiction treatment] is important.”

Richard Pops (CEO of Alkermes, which distributes Vivitrol): “Opioid dependence is a growing disease and we believe that Vivitrol offers physicians and their patients a whole new approach, as the only long-acting, non-addictive treatment for opioid dependence.” [Source: Associated Press]

TJ Voller (recovering OxyContin addict): “I really was skeptical [about using Vivitrol].  But within the first day of getting my injection, the cravings literally went away. Now, they’re non existent.” [Source: CNN]

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