Vivitrol - Naltrexone Injection

Q. What Is Vivitrol?

A. Vivitrol is a monthly extended-release injectable formulation of naltrexone. It is administered by healthcare professionals to treat alcohol and opioid addiction. It should be taken as part of a comprehensive medication-assisted addiction treatment program.

Q. What Are Opioids?

A. Opioids, also known as narcotics, are legal and illegal drugs that interact with the nervous system to relieve pain. Most commonly abused opioids are heroin, morphine, and prescription painkillers like Demerol, OxyContin, and Vicodin.

Q. How Does It Work?

A. Naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol, works by blocking natural opiate receptors in the brain that normally register the sensations caused by opioid drugs and alcohol. It eliminates or substantially reduces cravings one month at a time, allowing individuals to focus on their treatment.

Q. What Is the Difference Between Naltrexone Pills and Vivitrol?

A. While both are used to treat alcohol and opioid addiction, naltrexone pills must be taken daily. If an individual does not have the necessary self-discipline or has a busy schedule, they could miss a dose, putting their recovery at risk. Vivitrol injections last a month, and therefore reduce this risk.

Q. Who Should Take Vivitrol?

A. Vivitrol is for individuals who are struggling with alcohol or opioid addiction and need some extra assistance to remain focused on their recovery. Because Vivitrol only needs to be administered once a month, it is ideal for individuals with busy lifestyles. It allows them the opportunity to receive treatment on a schedule that works for them. It is also an option for those who are currently on a methadone or buprenorphine regimen and would like to come off those medications.
Individuals must be opioid and alcohol-free for a minimum of seven days prior to taking Vivitrol.

Q. Does It Cure Addiction?

A. No, there is unfortunately no cure for alcoholism or opioid addiction. Both are chronic diseases that require constant care and a strong support network to prevent relapse. Vivitrol is a proven medication that can help individuals stay focused and engaged in their recovery, especially during the early stages when triggers and negative influences can challenge their sobriety.

Q. What Are Common Side-Effects?

A. Some of the most common side-effect of taking Vivitrol include: anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and pain at the injection site. Although serious side-effects are rare, it is important to only take Vivitrol under medical supervision.

Q. Is It Addictive?

A. No, Vivitrol is non-addictive, non-narcotic.

Q. Can You Overdose on Vivitrol?

A. It is highly unlikely that an individual will overdose if they are being administered Vivitrol by a medical professional. However, opioid overdoses are more likely, as Vivitrol reduces an individual’s tolerance. If an individual takes a high number of opioids to overcome the blockade created by Vivitrol, a lethal overdose can occur. It is crucial that individuals on Vivitrol understand the dangers of taking opioids while on the medication.


Vivitrol, taken as part of medication-assisted treatment, works best when accompanied with clinical therapy, to deal with the underlying cause of addiction, and wellness practices, to promote healthy habits. To learn more about Vivitrol and whether it is right for you or a loved one, call our Admissions team now.