Recent Articles

Vivitrol For Opioid And Alcohol Dependency

January 8, 2019

One of the major challenges drugs and alcohol addicts face is maintaining abstinence after detoxification. The cravings for the substance they’re trying to become free of sometimes get the better of them and they end up going back to abuse the substance, making their recovery attempt futile. As a result, health care professionals are providing solutions to this problem and giving substance addicts the opportunity to completely achieve recovery. Vivitrol is one of those solutions.

Vivitrol, which is an extended injectable form of naltrexone, is an opioid receptor antagonist that is administered once per month on the buttocks – alternating the buttock for each monthly shot. While opioid medication/street drugs such as heroin and alcohol activates the reward part of the brain giving the addicts a feeling of ”highness”; Vivitrol, on the other hand, binds the receptors so that the addict doesn’t feel any pleasure, reward or ”highness”.

Vivitrol is a medication-assisted treatment shot used to prevent relapse so as to maintain abstinence. In other words, it is used along with therapy to prevent addicts from having cravings after detoxification. Vivitrol can only be used by someone who has spent at least 7 – 14 days without using opioid or/and alcohol. The shot can cause fatal side effects, that is severe opioid withdrawal symptoms, if used by someone who is still actively abusing opioid or still has alcohol in his /her system.

Vivitrol is a non-addictive non-narcotic medication, so there’s no possibility of it being abused nor becoming addicted to/dependent on it. Vivitrol is considered more effective because it only requires one shot per month, unlike other naltrexone that is taken orally once per day or every three days which requires the addict to religiously use medication.


Side Effects

Just like other medications, Vivitrol has side effects that can occur if used as prescribed. First, Vivitrol is an intramuscular medication, therefore, the injection site may react to the monthly shots. The patient may experience any of these

  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • Lumps
  • Pain
  • Wound
  • Dark scabs

In any case, report any reaction on the injection site to your doctor, especially if the reaction doesn’t get better after two weeks.

Also, the user can experience these side effects when using Vivitrol as prescribed:

  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Toothache
  • Headache
  • Pneumonia
  • Insomnia
  • Chest pain


Not everyone can use Vivitrol. As mentioned above, don’t use Vivitrol if you’ve not spent at least 7 – 14 days alcohol-free and opioid-free.

Do not use Vivitrol if you have hepatitis or liver problem

Don’t use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding

Don’t use if you’re allergic to naltrexone


Don’t use opioid during the period you’re using Vivitrol because the effect will be stronger than before, your brain will not be able to cope with even smaller quantity of opioid than you used to abuse. Hence, it can lead to overdose and invariably lead to severe injury, coma or death. Lastly, it is important that you find a substance addiction and dependency center that runs a Vivitrol MAT program before you start using Vivitrol.