Vivitrol is an extended-release form of naltrexone, a prescription drug injected once a month in a small amount to block the effects of opioids and alcohol that produce a “high.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Vivitrol for treating alcohol dependence in 2006 and opioid drug dependence in 2010.
Vivitrol works by blocking the effect that opioids have on the brain and reduces the cravings that many people experience after they quit. It is non-addictive, helping to prevent relapse to opioid dependence, following opioid detoxification. Patients must be opioid-free before starting Vivitrol.
It is not known exactly how Vivitrol works to combat alcohol addiction, but it is thought that it blocks the receptors in the brain that cause the pleasurable feelings produced by alcohol. It reduces cravings and helps you abstain from drinking. If you slip up and have a drink, it can curb your desire to drink more.
Your physician at Elm Tree Clinic will discuss whether Vivitrol might help for treatment of Opioid Use Disorder, or as part of your treatment plan for alcoholism.
We administer Vivitrol by injection once a month in our clinic.
Yes, a small number of people have a reaction at the skin site where Vivitrol is injected. A small number also have allergic reactions or tiredness, nausea, stomachache, or headache. Your doctor will review the possible side effects with you, and you should tell your doctor about any changes you notice after the injection.
It is dangerous to take any opioids, including those in pain medications, while you are on Vivitrol. You may get a severe overdose reaction. Your doctor will review all of the medications and supplements you may be taking before prescribing Vivitrol.
The success rate looks good, but more long-term studies are needed.