Extended Release Naltrexone, also known as Vivitrol, is a newer medication available for the treatment of both opiate and alcohol addiction. Vivitrol blocks other opioids from acting on the receptors in the brain and can help ease drug cravings.

Researchers are still exploring why an opioid antagonist works in treating alcoholism. It is believed that Vivitrol blocks the pleasurable effects of alcohol by blocking the release of endorphins. This treatment can help you stop misusing opioids and alcohol, and when combined with counseling, can help decrease your chances of relapse.

Check out the frequently asked questions below, or feel free to contact us at any time for more information.

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How does Vivitrol Treatment work?

Vivitrol blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opiates such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. It binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, produces no opioid effects, does not allow other opioids to enter, and is reported to reduce opioid cravings, which can help with preventing relapse. There is no abuse or diversion potential with Vivitrol. Vivitrol is an antagonist and can cause withdrawal if you still have any opiates in your system when you take the medication. You will need to have gone through detoxification before starting Vivitrol and have ideally not taken any opiates for 7 to 14 days before your first Vivitrol injection. * Other treatment options are available to help you obtain 7-14 days free of opiate use.

When used as a treatment for alcohol dependency, Vivitrol blocks the euphoric effects and feelings of intoxication. This allows people with an alcohol addiction to reduce their drinking behaviors enough to remain motivated to stay in treatment and avoid relapses. Vivitrol is not addictive nor does it react adversely with alcohol. It is not required for you to stop drinking prior to your first injection, but research has shown that patients have a better response to the medication if they stop drinking at least one week prior to their first Vivitrol injection.

Once you have received an injection of Vivitrol, the medication acts on the receptors in the brain causing the blocking effect. This effect will slowly decrease over time, allowing you to only have to receive the medication once per month.

How effective is it?

Research has shown that Vivitrol decreases reactivity to drug-conditioned cues and decreases craving. Patients who have been treated with extended-release injectable Vivitrol may have reduced tolerance to opioids and may be unaware of their potential sensitivity to the same, or lower, doses of opioids that they used to take. Extended-release Vivitrol should be part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes counseling.

How long will I need to be in treatment?

As opiate dependence and alcoholism are considered to be medical conditions that requires proper healing for a successful recovery, there is no set time. Your treatment is individualized through the use of medication, education, and counseling. Long-term Vivitrol Therapy extending beyond a minimum of three months is considered most effective by researchers. Ultimately, you with the aid of our treatment team, will decide when you are ready to discontinue treatment.

What are the side effects? 

Side Effects: Nausea, sleepiness, headache, dizziness, vomiting, decreased appetite, painful joints, muscle cramps, cold symptoms, trouble sleeping, toothache.

Side effects may vary from person to person and generally last between 2-3 weeks. Not everyone will have side effects from Methadone, however, it is not unusual to experience one of more of the following: constipation, sweating, upset stomach, sedation, aching muscles and joints.

Is Vivitrol addictive?

Vivitrol is a non-opioid and it is not addictive. Physical dependence on the medication will also not develop.

Vivitrol and overdose?

Risk of opioid overdose. You can accidentally overdose in two ways.
VIVITROL blocks the effects of opioids, such as heroin or opioid pain medicines. Do not take large amounts of opioids, including opioid containing medicines, such as heroin or prescription pain pills, to try to overcome the opioid-blocking effects of VIVITROL. This can lead to serious injury, coma, or death.

After you receive a dose of VIVITROL, its blocking effect slowly decreases and completely goes away over time. If you have used opioid street drugs or opioid-containing medicines in the past, using opioids in amounts that you used before treatment with VIVITROL can lead to overdose and death. You may also be more sensitive to the effects of lower amounts of opioids:

  • after you have gone through detoxification
  • when your next VIVITROL dose is due
  • if you miss a dose of VIVITROL
  • after you stop VIVITROL treatment

Raise the Bottom strives to decrease the shame and stigma associated with Substance Use Disorders and specifically, Opioid Use Disorders.  With that said, we recognize that certain words drive search engines and assist people in finding necessary resources and treatment options.  To assist our patients, potential patients, providers and other stakeholders, we are listing additional search terms that may assist in "search" efforts.  RTB continuously works to use pro-social and non-stigmatizing words and terms and as such, most of these words are not used in the body of our pages to describe our program or the services we provide.  Search Terms:  Methadone Clinic, Suboxone Clinic, Methadone Treatment Program, Suboxone Treatment Program, Vivitrol Program, Withdrawal Treatment, Substance Abuse, Addict, Addiction Therapist, Addiction Therapy, Drug Rehab, Out-patient Drug Rehab, Substance Abuse Counselors.

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