Vivitrol Effects, Uses, Dangers, & Interactions

Vivitrol Treatment, Opioid-Induced Withdrawals & Side Effects. Who can take Vivitrol, How is Vivitrol used?

Vivitrol Effects

Vivitrol is a brand name for a naltrexone injection used to block the effects of opioid medication. This is helpful when treating those who have previously been dependent upon or addicted to opioids. Vivitrol can stop feelings of well-being or pain relief to prevent abuse relapse. It keeps the user from feeling like they must continue using the opioid. It is also helpful to deter someone from drinking alcohol. In this way, it works similarly on alcoholism as on drug addiction. While Vivitrol is not a cure for drug addiction or alcoholism, it can help subdue the side effects and reduce the urge to continue using narcotics or alcohol.

Who Can Take Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is for those who have already been through opioid or alcohol detoxification. Having already gone through this process is essential to have no physical dependence lingering. It’s best for those trying to treat their alcohol dependence long-term to kick the habit of drinking. It’s also intended for those looking to avoid an opioid dependence relapse.

It is NOT for those still physically dependent on narcotics or alcohol. This will be tested with a naloxone challenge test – the doctor injects a small amount of naloxone to see if any opioid withdrawal symptoms set in. If withdrawal symptoms are evident, Vivitrol treatment cannot be started. It should only be recommended as an element of a long-term treatment program to deter former users from relapsing.

Vivitrol Effects
This is for those who have already gone through either opioid detoxification or alcohol detoxification.

How’s It Used?

Naltrexone is an injection that is used by being administered to a muscle. It’s typically given every four weeks by either a doctor or a clinic nurse to prevent relapse. Getting regular injections of Vivitrol is crucial to get the most out of it.

After the injection, you may notice a bit of swelling, redness, pain, or bruising at the injection site. You may even see a small, hard lump. If this is your reaction after the shot and it does not clear up within two weeks, it’s essential to bring this up with your doctor.

It is often used as just one part of a complete treatment program for those fighting against opioid or alcohol dependence relapse. It usually comes with counseling, close monitoring, or another type of treatment for a more holistic approach.

When using Vivitrol, it’s essential to carry a medical ID tag that states your medication use. Then, if anything happens to you, any medical provider must know that you’re receiving this medication.

This is because after using Vivitrol, you become much more sensitive to opioids. In addition, the medication reduces the feel-good side effects of narcotics, which could lead to an accidental overdose or even death.

How Long Is Vivitrol Effective?

How long does a Vivitrol shot last? Vivitrol is an injection drug that lasts for about a month and must be injected every month to acquire Vivitrol long term effects. It can help people recover from opioid and alcohol abuse by providing them with an alternative treatment if they decide they do not want to use methadone or buprenorphine to deal with misuse of opioids.

Vivitrol is a slow-release form of naltrexone designed to last in your body for a month. Vivitrol effects peak within two hours of dosing and then plateau for several days. The concentration of the drug in your body begins to decline after two weeks, but it can be detected for up to 50 days after the initial administration. However, the testable time range for Vivitrol effects may differ depending on several factors:

  • Metabolism
  • Body mass
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Medical history
  • Exercise habits
  • Hydration level

The Vivitrol effects is most effective when used as part of a treatment program that includes therapy, peer group participation, and other activities supporting recovery.

To get the most from Vivitrol effects, you should detox for at least seven to 10 days in order to maintain Vivitrol long term effects. If you have been using methadone for three to four weeks and want to switch to Vivitrol, you should detox for at least 14 days to achieve better Vivitrol effects.

How Long Do Vivitrol Side Effects Last?

Generally, Vivitrol effects are mild and get better within the first few days or weeks. The Vivitrol effects can be confused with the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol or drugs. Vivitrol should only be taken after the body is cleared of alcohol or drugs, and especially opioids. Usually, 7 to 14 days after the last use is when symptoms resolve. If Vivitrol is administered too early, severe symptoms can occur.

What Are The Side Effects Of Vivitrol?

Vivitrol Effects

Neagtive Vivitrol effects include:

  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Anxiety
  • Diziness
  • Nausea / Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Injection site soreness

One of the Vivitrol effects is seen to cause anxiety in some patients. This is a listed as on of the side Vivitrol effects, but you may experience fewer panic attacks if you take Vivitrol. Some people report improvement in anxiety symptoms and other research supports that anxiety is not one of Vivitrol effects.

Another one of Vivitrol effects appears to have slightly higher rates of insomnia than a placebo. Insomnia is also a potential symptom of withdrawal, and there are many treatments to combat this effect—whether one of Vivitrol effects or poor sleep habits.

As with any drug, there are several possible negative Vivitrol effects a user might experience.

Common Vivitrol Effects
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Appetite Changes
  • Abnormal Liver Function (test results)
  • Dizziness or Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Pain or swelling at the injection site
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Tooth Pain
Serious Vivitrol Effects 
  • Depressed Mood
  • Pneumonia
  • Allergic Reaction: Swelling of face, tongue, lips, throat
  • Hives
  • Difficulty Breathing
Other Vivitrol Effects
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Lightheaded or Severe Dizziness
  • Depression or Suicidal Thoughts
  • Severe pain at the site of injection
  • Severe Cough

*If your withdrawal escalates and you begin to notice these symptoms, you should immediately call your doctor.

Opioid-Induced Withdrawal

Using any opioid medication while receiving Vivitrol injections could stimulate opioid withdrawal symptoms. The first signs of withdrawal you may notice could include:

  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Fever and Chills
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Watery Eyes and Runny Nose
  • Body Aches
  • Restless Feeling, Trouble Sleeping

Can Other Drugs Affect Vivitrol?

When using Vivitrol, it will block the effects of any narcotic medication you may need to take. This could include prescriptions for cough, diarrhea, or pain. While these effects are not harmful, they will cause narcotics to be ineffective.

Vivitrol is scientifically proven to help treat both opioid addiction and alcoholism.

Harmful side effects could also occur, so steer clear of narcotics. This is why any doctor treating you should know you are receiving Vivitrol. There are also further drug interactions with the naltrexone injection. These may include issues with OTC vitamins, medicines, or herbal products. Currently, there are 294 known drug interactions with Vivitrol. Only 29 of the interactions are primary, while 265 are moderate.

The most frequently checked interactions on the moderate-to-major scale are reported between Vivitrol and the following medications:

  • Suboxone (major interaction)
  • Wellbutrin (major interaction)
  • Antabuse (moderate)
  • Cymbalta (moderate)
  • Atorvastatin (moderate)
  • Ibuprofen (moderate)

Other frequently checked interactions include albuterol, clonidine, gabapentin, hydrochlorothiazide, hydroxyzine, Klonopin, omeprazole, propranolol, quetiapine, tramadol, trazodone, Xanax, and Zoloft.

How Long Will I Need To Take?

This has proven to be an effective and safe option for those looking for relapse support, either short-term or long-term. This benefit is that individuals receiving Vivitrol can use it for as short or as long as they wish based on their treatment goals. For example, some individuals may choose to receive Vivitrol injections every four weeks for years. On the other hand, others may only need to use it for a few months to get back on track.

Using Vivitrol for at least one year is recommended to receive the maximum benefits. When determining your eligibility for Vivitrol injections, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about the projected length of treatment.


Before taking Vivitrol, here is some important information you should know about the medication and its side effects:

There’s a risk of opioid overdose. Unfortunately, Vivitrol makes it easier to overdose in two significant ways accidentally. The first way is Vivitrol blocks the feel-good effects of opioids. Trying to overcome this effect by taking more substantial amounts of opioids could lead to coma, serious injury, or even death.

The second way—the blocking effect slowly fades away over time. Using opioids in amounts used before treatment with Vivitrol can lead to overdose and death. You’re more sensitive to the effects of smaller pieces of opioids at certain times while taking Vivitrol. You’re especially sensitive to the risk of overdose during these times. They include:

  • After detoxification
  • Right before the next Vivitrol dose is due
  • If a dose of Vivitrol is missed
  • If Vivitrol is suddenly stopped
  • Severe injection site reactions have occurred

Some people experienced severe reactions at the site of Vivitrol injections, including the death of the tissue in the area. In some scenarios, surgery has been required. The main signs that you are having a severe injection site reaction include the following:

  • Hard feeling underneath, the skin
  • Swelling
  • Intense pain
  • Blisters
  • Limps
  • Scabs
  • Open wounds

You must not have any opioids in your system. This is crucial to remember because you could have a sudden opioid withdrawal if you do. You must stop taking opioids or street drugs at least seven days before beginning Vivitrol. It is even better to control it 14 days before starting Vivitrol. There’s an active ingredient in it that can cause liver damage or hepatitis. If you notice these symptoms, please get in touch with your doctor:

  • Dark urine
  • Lasting stomach pain
  • Yellow eyes
  • Tiredness
  • You’ll need to fill your doctor in

Always speak with your doctor about the details of your current health before beginning Vivitrol treatment. These details include a history of drug abuse, liver problems, hemophilia, or kidney problems. Also, connect on the following if necessary:

  • Pregnancy or plans to become pregnant
  • Active breastfeeding
  • Current medications (including OTC and herbal remedies)

How It Works?

  • For Opioid Dependence

Vivitrol contains naltrexone, an opioid antagonist with the highest affinity for the mu-opioid receptor. Naltrexone has little or no opioid agonist activity. It is believed that the occupation of opioid receptors by naltrexone may block the effects of endogenous opioid peptides. In addition, it markedly attenuates or completely blocks the subjective effects of exogenous opioids. This makes the blockade produced potentially surmountable. Naltrexone has few, if any, intrinsic actions besides its opioid-blocking properties.

  • For Alcohol Dependence

Occupation of opioid receptors by naltrexone may block the effects of endogenous opioid peptides. Thus, it markedly attenuates or completely blocks the subjective effects of exogenous opioids. The neurobiological mechanisms responsible for reducing alcohol consumption observed in alcohol-dependent clients treated with naltrexone are not entirely understood. However, the involvement of the endogenous opioid system is suggested by preclinical data.

Vivitrol is not suitable for everyone. In addition, there are significant risks from VIVITROL treatment, including the risk of opioid overdose, injection site reactions, and sudden opioid withdrawal. 

Antabuse vs Vivitrol

Antabuse (disulfiram) and Vivitrol (naltrexone) are used to treat chronic alcoholism. Vivitrol is also used to prevent relapse to opioid dependence, which is due to the effects of addiction on the brain’s reward circuit. Antabuse and Vivitrol belong to different drug classes: Antabuse is an alcohol antagonist, whereas Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist.


Disulfiram, one of the first medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat chronic alcohol dependence, is a white to off-white, odorless, almost tasteless powder that is soluble in water and alcohol. When disulfiram is mixed with alcohol, it causes an acute toxic physical reaction.

How does antabuse function?

When an alcoholic drinks alcohol, it is broken down into acetaldehyde, which then gets converted to acetic acid. Antabuse blocks this conversion and thus causes an upsurge of acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is toxic, and thus causes the person battling AUD to experience adverse effects like nausea and vomiting that can curb a person’s physical need to continue using alcohol.

The medicine is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and filtered through the rest of the body, where it remains for up to two weeks before being eliminated. Because elimination of the medication is gradual, it can discourage drinking over longer periods of time.

Antabuse, a medication that some alcoholics are given to help maintain the metabolic cycle and reduce the desire to drink, works as a deterrent but does not treat withdrawal symptoms of alcoholism. Using the medicine as part of alcohol addiction treatment has been effective. It discourages drinking during recovery from addiction, preventing relapse during the crucial periods of early recovery.

We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. We work as an integrated team providing support through evidence-based treatment and therapies. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists and to learn more about Vivitrol treatment. Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.

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