We spoke with Frank Silletti, Executive Director of Treatment Solutions’ New Jersey Campus, and an expert on Vivitrol – a tool used to aid an alcoholic’s recovery process.
Vivtrol is the trade name of injectable naltrexone, which helps block the brain’s receptors that feel pleasure from alcohol, thus freeing the mind from craving it. For long-term success, Vivitrol treatment can last six months to one year or longer, depending on the patient.
FDA-approved in 2006, Vivitrol is still relatively new; fortunately, our own Frank Silletti is an addiction specialist and expert on the topic of Vivitrol, and has seen several clients – many of whom felt had no shot for sobriety — beat addiction with its use. Frank has been involved with the treatment and recovery field for more than 27 years as the director and/or owner of New Jersey in-and-out-patient centers. He is licensed as a New Jersey LCADC, and is a certified Social Worker, Criminal Justice Specialist and Domestic Violence Counselor.
Frank, who is celebrating 30 years of his own sobriety and recovery, has worked with adults and adolescents, and both inner-city programs and upscale treatment centers. He is also the president of his own corporation, East Star Associates, which performs assessments and interventions. He has been involved with centers that have used Vivitrol for the past 3 years and counting, and is an advocate of Vivitrol in the assistance of one’s sobriety within group or individual therapy.
In your own words, what’s the purpose of Vivitrol, and what are its benefits? Vivitrol helps diminish cravings for alcohol and opiates, and it blocks that euphoric feeling related to both.
What are the drawbacks and/or side effects of Vivitrol? A little nausea at first, and there may be some tenderness near the injection area.
What should a client make sure to include within his or her treatment program to ensure Vivitrol does its job? In addition to Vivitrol, the client must attend AA/NA meetings every day for 90 days, attend an aftercare program that includes toxicology testing and continue with psychiatric help, if and when necessary.
ReVia was the first naltrexone brand name to emerge almost 20 years ago, and some say it failed to really catch on due to poor marketing. What makes Vivitrol different? Vivitrol’s 30-day time release is important; naltrexone meds of the past needed daily, or constant, compliance by the consumer.
What are the other current alternatives to Vivitrol? Campral, naltrexone and antabuse (for alcohol).
How is Vivitrol currently viewed in the professional community? The community is more and more accepting it, and also recognizing Vivitrol as alcohol’s antagonist – non-habit forming, without creating any euphoric conditions.
What would you say to someone who disagrees with administering Vivitrol to an alcoholic? I’d say, try it with the clients who’ve had many relapses, and who just can’t seem to get sobriety from traditional practices.
What do you see in Vivitrol’s future? I see increased use by professionals and the creation of generic brands — possibly in the form of a time-release pill, for those who refrain from or are afraid of needles.
If you have any questions about Vivitrol and its use, call Treatment Solutions at 877-640-1943.