Frequently Asked Questions About Vivitrol Treatment

By Staff Writer

What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is a medication that reduces the urge to drink or use opioids and blocks the “high” if you use opiates or alcohol while on Vivitrol.

How is Vivitrol delivered?
Vivitrol is delivered via monthly injection into a muscle in the buttocks using specialized needles.

How can Vivitrol treatment help me?
Vivitrol significantly reduces or eliminates cravings for opiates and alcohol, allowing you to participate fully in a drug rehab program, AA/NA and counseling to build the skills you need for successful long-term recovery.

What types of addiction does Vivitrol treat?
Vivitrol is used to treat alcoholism and opiate addiction, including addictions to heroin, morphine and certain prescription drugs.

When should I start using Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is used to control drug cravings and prevent relapse after completing opiate detox. It is not designed to help you quit abusing opiates or drinking alcohol, as all opiates must be out of your body for 7-10 days before using Vivitrol. Vivitrol treatment must be used in conjunction with counseling, drug rehab treatment or other recovery measures.

How often will I need to take Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is administered by a physician once a month. This is viewed as a significant advantage over daily medications for opiate addiction because many people don’t want to take medication every day or they may forget, which puts them at greater risk for relapse. Vivitrol minimizes the risk of relapse and makes it easier for patients to comply with their treatment regimen.

How does Vivitrol work?
Naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol, is released over several weeks and reduces drug cravings for one month. Naltrexone occupies the opioid receptors in the brain, which blocks the euphoric effects of opiates and alcohol.

What are the benefits of Vivitrol treatment?
The benefits of Vivitrol treatment include:

  • Vivitrol is non-addictive.
  • Vivitrol typically begins managing drug cravings within two days.
  • Each injection of Vivitrol lasts for one month, increasing the chances of treatment compliance. 
  • Vivitrol is generally well-tolerated with minimal side effects.
  • Studies show that Vivitrol is effective in preventing relapse and reducing drug cravings.
  • Vivitrol can be used long-term.
  • Vivitrol has no mood- or mind-altering effects.

Are there risks involved with Vivitrol treatment?
Like other medications, Vivitrol comes with a risk of side effects, which may include insomnia, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, decreased appetite, painful joints and muscle cramps. Some users have also reported reactions at the injection site, liver damage, allergic reactions, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts. Certain people should not take Vivitrol. Talk to your doctor or a drug rehab center to determine if Vivitrol treatment is right for you.

Is Vivitrol treatment safe and effective?
Yes. Vivitrol is a well-tolerated medication that generally comes with only mild to moderate side effects. The active ingredient in Vivitrol, naltrexone, has been used safely for more than 30 years.

Unlike other medications for opiate addiction, Vivitrol is not addictive. It has no mood- or mind-altering effects so patients are able to work, attend school, fulfill family obligations and actively work a program of recovery.

Clinical trials by the Food and Drug Administration have shown Vivitrol to be effective in preventing relapse and reducing drug cravings, encouraging patients to stay in treatment and refrain from using illicit drugs. Research also shows that the Vivitrol shot is more effective than medications that require the patient to comply with a daily treatment regimen.

Is Vivitrol a cure for opiate addiction or alcoholism?
No. There is no cure for opiate addiction or alcoholism. Vivitrol helps patients stay focused and engaged in a drug rehab program long enough to develop the skills for lifelong sobriety.

Where can I find drug rehab centers that offer the Vivitrol shot?
CRC Health, the nation’s largest addiction treatment provider, offers Vivitrol treatment at its drug rehab centers located throughout the U.S. For more information, call (877) 637-6237.