Vivitrol (Injectable Naltrexone) (Alkermes Inc.) for outpatient treatment of alcohol dependence
Alcohol dependence affects approximately 8 million people in the United States and it may be responsible for as many as 100,000 preventable deaths each year. The current mainstay of treatment for this disorder involves various psychosocial interventions such as addiction counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help groups, and behavioral treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Although these interventions are often effective, an estimated 40% to 70% of patients suffer relapse within 1 year after treatment. Some physicians believe that adding drug therapy to the other interventions would improve the likelihood of success. The drug naltrexone counteracts the pleasurable feelings experienced after drinking alcohol so it may help patients escape from alcohol dependence; however, naltrexone pills must be taken daily and many patients fail to do this.