Skip to main content

Vivitrol® Treatment

Vivitrol® is the extended-release injection version of the medication naltrexone. Vivitrol® and other forms of naltrexone are used to treat alcohol and opioid use disorders. As part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program that also includes psychosocial support, Vivitrol® is effective at preventing relapse in these conditions.

How Does Vivitrol® Work?

Naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol®, is an opioid antagonist, meaning that it binds to receptors and blocks opioids from acting at these sites. If an individual takes opioids while on Vivitrol®, they will not experience the usual euphoric effect because naltrexone is occupying the opioid receptor. Blocking the opioid receptor also reduces the rewarding effects of alcohol. This helps to break the cycle of reinforcing old behaviors and helps individuals avoid relapse. While oral forms of naltrexone are available, Vivitrol® is an extended-release injection that is given once a month.

What does Vivitrol® Treat?

ivitrol® is FDA-approved for the treatment of both alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. Individuals should be off opioids for 7-14 days before starting Vivitrol® or other forms of naltrexone. Because naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, it can cause withdrawal symptoms if someone still has opioids in their system.

In clinical trials, Vivitrol® has been shown to reduce the number of heavy drinking days in people with alcohol use disorder. Studies have also shown Vivitrol® to be effective in decreasing the risk of relapse in individuals with opioid use disorder. Vivitrol® is generally used in conjunction with other treatments such as counseling, psychotherapy, and support groups.

What to Expect from Vivitrol® Treatment

Vivitrol® is administered by your Geode provider in the form of a once-monthly injection. Vivitrol® cannot be administered by patients at home. It is important to attend your monthly appointments, so be sure to reschedule with your Geode office as soon as possible if something interrupts your scheduled visit.

Vivitrol® is an extended-release form of naltrexone designed to last in the body for one month. This means that patients need to receive monthly injections in order to maintain the effects of treatment. After each injection, the medication effect will peak at 2 hours and then again at 2-3 days. The level of medication in the body may decline after 2-3 weeks, but should remain effective for the remainder of the month until the next injection.

When used properly, Vivitrol® is a safe and effective treatment for alcohol and opioid use disorders. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and reactions at the injection site. Some patients may experience elevations in their liver enzymes. If Vivitrol® is given while an individual still has opioids in their system, it can cause withdrawal symptoms. Vivitrol® decreases an individual’s opioid tolerance, so if someone uses opioids after discontinuing or missing a dose of Vivitrol®, there may be an increased risk of overdose. However, with appropriate monitoring, the risk of these adverse events can be mitigated.

No, Vivitrol® is not an addictive medication. As an opioid antagonist, Vivitrol® does not have addictive properties; the medication is designed to help patients avoid relapsing on addictive substances.

Treatment with Vivitrol® at Geode Health

At Geode Health, our highly trained mental healthcare professionals use Vivitrol® alongside other treatments to help patients on their road to recovery. We work with our patients to create an individualized, comprehensive treatment plan that includes both medication-assisted treatment and psychosocial support. If you or a loved one is suffering from substance use and would like to learn more about Vivitrol® or other treatment options, contact Geode Health today.

If you are in crisis and in need of immediate support

Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741