Personal Injury

Vivitrol Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In February 2020, Lieff Cabraser filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in California on behalf of the family of California resident Clayton Stafford relating to Clayton’s mandated prescription use of Vivitrol that led to a tragic and preventable opioid overdose in February 2018. The lawsuit alleges that Clayton, his parents, his rehabilitation counselors, and healthcare providers were misled into believing that Vivitrol would be an appropriate solution for the treatment of his opioid addiction, and that if defendants properly marketed and warned about the limitations of Vivitrol, Clayton would not have used the drug that led to his death.

Vivitrol is an injectable release-version of Alkermes’ prescription drug naltrexone, marketed and sold to patients in need of drug addiction rehabilitation and therapy. The complaint alleges that defendants have known for years that naltrexone is an ineffective drug for the use treating opioid dependence; although the drug temporarily blocks the ability to feel the euphoric effects of opioid drugs, unlike longstanding and proven methods for treating addiction like methadone and buprenorphine, naltrexone does nothing to treat the patients’ continued addiction and powerful opioid cravings.

The complaint alleges that since Vivitrol only blocks the brain’s opioid receptors without treating the brain’s needs, patients’ cravings for opioids remain, and patients are not weaned off their drug addiction. Their opioid tolerance is therefore highly diminished, leading to a greatly heightened chance of overdose. Further, because Vivitrol blocks the body’s natural endorphins from attaching to the brain’s receptors, the patient remains in a mentally deficient state and more likely to seek potentially deadly overdoses external drugs for relief. Because the patient’s addiction is not adequately treated, the patient requires indefinite Vivitrol use to merely block the euphoric effects and keep him/her from seeking opiates.

Contact an injury lawyer at Lieff Cabraser

If you or a family member have taken Vivitrol, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you. There is no cost or obligation for our review of your case, and any information you provide will be held in the strictest confidence. Call us today at 1 800 541-7358 or use the form below to send us an email message.


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