What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is an injectable time-release form of Naltrexone: that given once a month.  This drug is mainly used to help people who have alcohol or opioid use disorders get clean and soberVIVITROL® (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension) blocks opioid molecules from attaching to opioid receptors. 

Why is there a need for Vivitrol?

Vivitrol has been enlisted to battle U.S.A’s problem of 36,000 opioid-overdose deaths every year.  There are more sobering stats found on the webpage: “statnews.com”:   In 2017, there was an average of 100 deaths per day from opioid-overdoses. It may be shocking to learn that nothing kills more people under 50 years old in the U.S.  

And, the news is getting worse. The United States’ opioid problem is spiraling out of control. In the next decade, that number of related deaths will most likely be over 500,000. Is it any wonder that people are scrambling to find any reasonable sounding solution to fix the opioid addiction epidemic?

Vivitrol appears to be bringing desperate people some welcome news so that they won’t become the latest statistic.  The good news about Vivitrol is that it’s not an addictive drug and it blocks the high that opioid addicts are seeking. 

Is Vivitrol Addictive like other Medicines?

No, it is not addictive.  However, there are reasons to proceed with caution before using this drug.  Vivitrol may help many people get clean and sober, but is not considered a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. As with any other prescription or medication, there still comes with it a list of side effects you need to be aware of before taking Vivitrol. Some of these side effects might negatively affect some people more than others. 

The great news is that Vivitrol is not addictive like methadone.  Plus, it blocks the high that people get from abusing opioids. It’s certainly a better option then Methadone since it’s not addictive.  There are been many people who are legally strung out on methadone.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that addiction lies beneath the simple surface-solution of being physically “drug-free.” The root causes of addiction cannot be fully addressed with a magic pill or instant solution. There is still the inner work and need to maintain the practice of being aware of the psychological, emotional, and mental aspects that contribute to addiction, as well.

Are Vivitrol and Naltrexone the same Medicines?

Vivitrol and Naltrexone are the same substance but given in different forms and dosages.  They are both used as a key element in the medication-assisted treatment of addiction. This is especially true when it comes to opioids or any drug that reacts to the opioid receptors in the brain.

How are Vivitrol and Naltrexone used differently?

Vivitrol is the injectable version of Naltrexone. In contrast, Naltrexone comes in pill form (50 mg), for alcohol use disorders to block the effects of alcohol.

Naltrexone does not block all of the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.  A person abusing alcohol may still have slurry speech and slower responses, although they won’t enjoy the usual buzz. People may take more opioids in the mistaken belief that they will get high if they keep taking larger doses. 

Usually, patients don’t receive Naltrexone before completing detox. Sometimes, medical personnel will write a prescription before finishing detox procedures, but that doesn’t happen very often.  

Vivitrol is used to stop people from using Opioids

Since Vivitrol blocks the desirable effects of Opioids, it makes it easier for addicts to avoid relapse. It’s so effective that doctors have been prescribing it since the late 70’s. The main reason it works so well is that it is effective for a month, even without taking a pill every day. This is why countless addicts and alcoholics have been able to resist the temptation for long enough to overcome their substance abuse issues.

Why does Vivitrol stay in my system for 30 days after One Shot?

Vivitrol is extremely powerful for blocking the effects of opioids which may cause some unique problems.  Since the formula is designed to last for a long period means that once you’ve gotten this shot, the drug keeps releasing for a whole month.  Also, since Vivitrol blocks the euphoria that rewards people for using opiates, this may also cause a dilemma for those who depend on opioids to prevent pain.  

What happens if I Receive A Court Order to take Vivitrol for a DUI?

Say that you’re in an accident occurring when you were driving under the influence of opioids, and receive a DUI.  You wake up in the hospital with a broken leg, and you need oxycodone. Soon, you receive a court order that demands you take Vivitrol or you’ll have to go to jail.  Will you allow the detox to begin to comply?  Since you need a complete detox to use Naltrexone, you would have to forgo using any Opioid based pain medication.

Remember, a shot of Vivitrol blocks the effect of any opioid and opioids for blocking pain.  So, if you worry about managing your pain, Naltrexone may not be a good option for you. In this case, if you do your homework, you can decide which if the following options are best for your situation.  

Option A:  Taking Vivitrol to avoid DUI Court Ordered Penalties  

You’ve decided that you’ll take Vivitrol to appease the judge and avoid the penalties.  Your particular court order specifies that you have to get clean and sober: and then you’ll take Vivitrol to maintain your sobriety—or you’ll go to jail. 

Option B:  Avoid Vivitrol & find other options to avoid Side Effects

Option B:  Now that you’ve read this article and all of the information about Vivitrol, you know that it may cause some severe side effects.  So, if you have specific problems such as a liver problem, you can tell the judge that you that your body will not be able to handle the side effects.


As always, what’s best for one person is not still best for another.  Remember that while a treatment like this can be very helpful to some, but causes terrible side effects in others. Please figure out your best options, if you think there’s the slightest chance of having a court order with Naltrexone based medicine. Also, it is vital that you tell the doctor or hospital personnel before starting Naltrexone avoid having sudden opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Finally, since this treatment comes in an injectable form, this may cause other problems.  For example, an injection can set off severe injection site reactions.  Other side effects of Naltrexone include Muscle or joint pain, insomnia, restlessness, diarrhea, headache, liver problems (even hepatitis) nausea, to name a few.

Some other symptoms that should cause concern are the following:  dark urine, liver, increased sensitivity to opioids, and more. The increased sensitivity to opioids after taking Naltrexone is a big problem for some people with opioid use disorders.  The reason being is when people receive a shot of Naltrexone, they will not feel the “high” because it blocks the effects of any opioids.

Warnings and Precautions

Feeling depressed may lead to some people taking ever-increasing opioid dosages to try and feel better—but they aren’t any happier.  The result may be a drug overdose, especially if they haven’t taken any opioid medications in a while. The opposite could also occur. Sometimes people have prolonged withdrawal symptoms, which sometimes happen after long-term opiate addictions.  That’s why even those people, who are receiving treatment for alcohol dependence, should be opioid-free before starting Vivitrol.  Please be aware, that any of the symptoms and side effects from taking Vivitrol can be severe enough to cause medical conditions that require hospitalization.

What about the Implant?

So, many side effects may occur, while using Naltrexone for extended periods.  With that said, then what about an implant that releases Naltrexone for a year? Please be cautious! Please try the thirty-day time-release shot before trying a year-long implant.  If you’ve decided that you can handle Vivitrol for thirty days then it’s probably safe to try the year-long naltrexone implant: It’s called the OLANI.   

In conclusion, Vivitrol promises superior benefits to those people who are good candidates. Vivitrol has provided many benefits to people and has had a reasonable success rate. The side effects rarely happen—most side effects occur less than five percent of the time.  Vivitrol provides hope for many people—especially those who desperately want to be clean and sober. 

There are also people who would instead feel the pain of a broken leg than the painful idea of going to jail!  In a lot of cases, Vivitrol has helped many former addicts move forward in their lives.  Vivitrol should be looked at carefully for any pros and cons.  That’s because Vivitrol could help you get clean and sober, and just what the doctor ordered.

Finally, if you’ve decided that Vivitrol® is right for you, after looking at all of the alternatives, remember that there are options and co-pay plans available.—But, Nobody can do that for you.  You need to take those first steps towards sobriety!

Let Us Help

If you still feel left with questions or concerns about the effects or possible benefits of Vivitrol, give us a call. We can answer a lot of your questions with the help of our caring professionals on staff. In addition, we can help you or your loved one find the right treatment center in your area and help place you into a reputable treatment center.

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