Readers plead for more information on drug for addicts

Posted: September 19, 2012

TUESDAY's Daily News story about recovering heroin addict Nicole Kapulsky and Vivitrol, a non-narcotic medication for the treatment of opioid dependence, generated a large volume of calls and emails from readers seeking help, including addicts and parents whose children are hooked on painkillers or heroin.

Many of them, like Joshua Donnelly of North Philly, are desperate for a solution, having failed to kick the habit with methadone or Suboxone.

"I've tried everything else," said Donnelly, 45, who began using heroin about seven years ago, after getting addicted to pain pills.

Vivitrol, a monthly injection of naltrexone that blocks the effects of heroin and similar drugs, costs about $1,100 per shot, but it is covered by Medicaid in Pennsylvania, as well as most managed-care plans. Vivitrol's manufacturer, Alkermes, also offers a discount of up to $500 per month for eligible patients.

More information is available at vivitrol.com/SupportResources/FindProvider, or 800-848- 4876. Here are some area doctors that are treating addiction with Vivitrol:

Charles O'Brien Center at the University of Pennsylvania Health System: 215-746-5900

Richard DiMonte, Media: 610-566-1881

Joseph Volpicelli, Plymouth Meeting: 484-351-8031

Elizabeth Drew, Doylestown: 215-345-5254

Alexander Fine, Northeast Philadelphia: 215-744-5505

Daniel Langleben and other doctors at the University of Pennsylvania Treatment Research Center are conducting two research studies involving Vivitrol to determine how the brain responds to drug-related images and whether that response can be used to predict success rates in drug treatment.

Participants receive free Vivitrol injections and psychotherapy and are paid for their time. Call 215-222-3200, ext. 177 or 172.

Contact William Bender at benderw@phillynews.com or 215-854-5255. Follow him on Twitter @wbender99. Read his blog at philly.com/DailyDelco.

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