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Vivitrol (Naltrexone) Shot for Alcoholism: Treatment & Clinics Near Me

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What is Vivitrol Shot?

Vivitrol is an injection used for the treatment of alcohol dependency and is administered once a month. It is also the trade name for the drug naltrexone, which is a substance primarily used to treat alcohol and opioid dependency.
“Vivitrol is an injection used for the treatment of alcohol dependency and is administered once a month.”
When taken properly, Vivitrol works by decreasing a person’s desire to drink. When a person drinks, he or she receives feelings of pleasure as opiates are released into the system. Vivitrol contains an opiate receptor blocker, which is necessary to prevent those feelings of pleasure that come with drinking alcohol.

How Does Vivitrol Work?

Vivitrol is a brand name for naltrexone, generic medication and active ingredient of Vivitrol. While naltrexone is available in tablet form and used for alcohol use disorder, Vivitrol is the injectable form of the same medication. It’s an extended-release intramuscular shot for both alcohol and opioid use disorder. The pill is taken every day and the Vivitrol shot is administered every four weeks by a medical practitioner. Vivitrol is one of the drugs used for medication-assisted therapy (MAT), usually in combination with other addiction therapy approaches and psychosocial support.1

It’s an opiate antagonist that decreases the craving for alcohol and opioids by binding to the endorphin receptors and blocking the effects that make you feel pleasure and intoxication. Without the pleasurable sensations (the ‘high’), people eventually stop feeling the need to use these substances. However, Vivitrol can only do so much unless it’s accompanied by other elements of an addiction treatment like education programs, therapy sessions, support group meetings, or other treatment tools. Vivitrol MAT treatment typically lasts for 3-4 months.1

Vivitrol doesn’t prevent or relieve withdrawal symptoms. In fact, it can even cause or worsen them if opioids are still present in your system. You need to clear out all traces of opioid medications or opioid street drugs before starting Vivitrol treatment. This medication can help you avoid opioid drugs and alcohol only while you keep taking it.2

Possible Vivitrol shot side effects should dissipate after a while and may include:2

  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Stomach pain or cramping.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Dizziness, drowsiness, headache.
  • Anxiety, nervousness, irritability, tearfulness.
  • Sleeping difficulties.
  • Increased or decreased energy
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Rash.

How Long Does Vivitrol Last?

Vivitrol is an intramuscular injection of a liquid containing the drug’s active ingredient called naltrexone. It’s administered by your healthcare provider once every 4 weeks because its effects last for about a month.7

The effects of Vivitrol will be the strongest during the first few days after you get the shot, slowly decrease after a week or two, and then completely dissipate over time. When you reach the week before your next Vivitrol shot, its blocking effects won’t be as effective as they were during the first week.8 After about a month, a new injection is needed to maintain a steady concentration of the medication in the body.9

Vivitrol and its metabolites are primarily eliminated through kidneys and urine, with minimal excretion of unchanged naltrexone. The elimination half-life is usually about 5-10 days after the administration of Vivitrol. Orally administered naltrexone (tablet form) has a half-life of about 4 hours.7

Your doctor will decide how long you should take Vivitrol, depending on your individualized treatment plan. However, the best effects are typically achieved when it’s taken longer than 3 months.7

Can You Get High on Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is different from other types of MAT for opioid dependence since, unlike methadone and buprenorphine, it doesn’t have any abuse or drug diversion potential. It blocks the high that one would normally feel when taking opioids and it doesn’t alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Vivitrol is not an opioid, it’s not addictive, and doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it.1 This is why it’s used to prevent a relapse, not to try to get off opioids.6

Even though Vivitrol blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, it’s possible to break through this blockade by consuming large doses of opioid drugs. You would most likely need a dose that’s a lot higher than your usual one. This is particularly dangerous because it significantly increases the risk of overdose. An overdose is also possible if you consume your usual amount of an opioid substance right before it’s time for your next Vivitrol injection since the effects of the medication diminish over time.6

There’s also the risk of sudden opioid withdrawal when starting Vivitrol treatment. Using alcohol, any type of opioid 7-14 days before starting treatment might produce severe and dangerous sudden opioid withdrawal. This includes street drugs, prescription pain medicine, cough, cold, or diarrhea medicines that contain opioids, or opioid dependence treatment drugs buprenorphine or methadone. 7

What Are the Dangers of Alcoholism?

AlcoholismAlcoholism is a serious disease that is often overlooked by many people. Some people believe that because alcohol is often consumed in casual settings such as at dinner or family celebrations, it is not a serious threat to one’s well-being; however, this notion is not true. A person who is an alcoholic is addicted to the ethyl alcohol that is found in beer, wine and liquor. Many people lose their families, jobs, homes and more as a result of being addicted to this substance. If you or someone you love is an alcoholic, you can get help from a Vivitrol addiction treatment center in your area by calling us at .

What Are the Side Effects of Vivitrol Addiction Treatment?

Overcoming your addiction to alcohol can be a lot easier with the aid of a facility that specializes in Vivitrol detox methods.

If you decide to participate in a program that uses this drug as a form of treatment, you need to be aware that there are some possible side effects. Vivitrol side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Vomiting

These side effects tend to subside for most patients as they continue to use the drug. There is no evidence of this drug being addictive or causing withdrawal symptoms once a person stops taking it.

Success Rates Vivitrol

The success rate for Vivitrol addiction treatment increases when coupled with counseling services. A large part of any drug addiction program should include counseling and therapy. This helps addicts get to the root of the problem, addressing the underlying cause of becoming abusers in the first place. A top-quality program will have doctors to administer the medical and physical aspects of recovery, and counselors and psychiatrists for the mental and emotional aspects. There are typically group, individual and family therapy sessions that recovering alcoholics can participate in as a part of the rehab process.
“The success rate for Vivitrol addiction treatment increases when coupled with counseling services.

What Drugs Does Vivitrol Block?

Vivitrol is used for alcohol dependence treatment in patients who can manage to abstain from alcohol use for a while before starting with Vivitrol treatment. Patients can’t begin treatment if they are still actively drinking at the time. Despite blocking the pleasurable effects of alcohol, this medication does not reduce the effects that impair coordination and judgment.3

Aside from alcohol, Vivitrol blocks the effects of opioid medications and opioid street drugs to help prevent relapse after the patient goes through opioid detoxification.4 Vivitrol blocks the chemicals that interact with opioid receptors in the body and brain. Opioids are a class of drugs that includes heroin, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and opioid painkillers available legally by prescription, like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others.5

Prescription opioids, or opioid analgesics, are used to treat moderate to severe pain. They are divided into several categories that include:5

  • Natural opioid analgesics, like morphine and codeine.
  • Semi-synthetic opioid analgesics, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone.
  • Methadone, a synthetic opioid usually prescribed for severe pain or as one of the MAT options for opioid addiction.
  • Synthetic opioid analgesics other than methadone, usually prescribed for moderate to severe pain, like tramadol or fentanyl.

What Happens if You Take Opioids While on Vivitrol?

When starting Vivitrol treatment, patients must not be physically dependent on alcohol or other substances. They need to detox for at least 7-10 days after their last use of short-acting opioids to prevent going into withdrawal or worsening existing withdrawal symptoms.1 

In the case of previous use of long-acting opioids, like methadone, people who want to switch to Vivitrol should detox for at least 14 days. To avoid Vivitrol side effects like nausea and vomiting, a medically supervised detox process must be completed before administering the medication.1

It’s important to avoid using any opioid medications or opioid street drugs during Vivitrol treatment. You should also pay attention to commonly used medications like cough medicine as some of them contain codeine. Patients should not use any other opioids and illicit drugs, drink alcohol or take sedatives, tranquilizers, or other drugs.1

The risk of accidental opioid overdose can happen when patients attempt to break through the blocking effects of Vivitrol by taking higher doses of abused substances than the ones they’re used to since they probably wouldn’t feel the effects of their usual dose. This can cause severe injury, overdose, coma, or death.1, 2

Understanding Drug and Alcohol Abuse Statistics

There is a great need for Vivitrol rehab programs. A government study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2010 revealed that 51.9 percent of Americans ages 12 and above had consumed alcohol at least once in the previous 30 days. This same study showed that 23.7 percent had five drinks or more within a two-hour time span in the previous month, while 6.8 percent had five drinks or more on five separate occasions. This is a prime example of how binge drinking and heavy drinking can lead to alcohol addiction. Vivitrol addiction treatment is meant to help people who drink heavily on a regular basis.

How Alcoholism Affects the Body?

Alcoholism can affect every organ in the body and cause one to lose motor skills and brain functioning abilities. Long-term abuse can cause serious damage to vital organs such as the liver. If you are an abuser of alcohol, you are increasing your chances for certain diseases and ailments, such as cancer and stroke. Alcoholism poses a serious threat to pregnant women and their unborn babies as well.

How to Get Vivitrol out of Your System?

The only way to get Vivitrol out of your system is to wait for your body to metabolize it and eliminate it completely. However, several factors determine how fast that can happen. The main one is the route of administration. Vivitrol is the injectable form of naltrexone (its active ingredient), but there’s also a tablet form of the same drug that will be eliminated from your body faster. Both formulations are metabolized by the kidneys and liver and excreted through urine.7

Naltrexone in its pill form has a half-life of approximately 4 hours, while intramuscular Vivitrol injection reaches its peak levels in the blood after 2 hours, and that concentration lasts for 2-3 days after the shot. The concentration will gradually diminish after a week or two, but it’ll be detectable in blood for more than a month.7

In addition, your metabolism, weight, age, gender, medical history, and even levels of physical activity could affect how long Vivitrol stays in your system.8

If you’re worried about drug testing, keep in mind that standard drug screening doesn’t normally include Vivitrol. Nevertheless, Vivitrol is approved by the FDA, so even in the unlikely case that you test positive for it, you’re protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act if you take Vivitrol as prescribed.

Finding Vivitrol Addiction Treatment Program Near Me

Depending on the level of alcohol dependency and addiction, there are a variety of ways you can be treated, including inpatient treatment facilities, outpatient treatment facilities, residential programs and partial residential programs. There are also a variety of payment options that are available depending on the facility. You may want to check with your place of employment to see if the company provides insurance and other programs to pay for this kind of treatment for employees.

Attempting to self-treat an alcohol abuse problem decreases your chances for a successful recovery. You will not have access to the many medical and psychological professionals who are trained to help people with this kind of addiction. There is no reason to go it alone when it comes to battling this disease. There is a Vivitrol addiction treatment program that can help you regardless of your age and duration of addiction.

According to studies released by the NIDA, 8.8 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 have participated in binge drinking, and 2.1 percent had consumed large amounts of alcohol in the month prior to the study. You can get help for yourself, a loved one or even a child by calling us at today.

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The editorial staff of Projectknow.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
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