What is Vivitrol? - Banyan Treatment Center Pompano

What is Vivitrol?

what is vivitrol

Vivitrol, or naltrexone, is a prescription medicine that is injected monthly to help with the prevention of an opioid relapse after detox is complete by blocking opioid receptors.

Vivitrol has also been used in alcohol addiction treatment to reduce the number of heavy drinking days. This drug is not addictive and should be used in conjunction with a full addiction treatment program in order to get the best lasting results.

As a drug and alcohol treatment center in Pompano that works with patients struggling from both of these addictions, we are answering all of your questions about this drug such as:

  • What is vivitrol?
  • Does it work?
  • How does vivitrol work?
  • What are the side effects?

How Does Vivitrol Work?

Vivitrol is an example of an opiate antagonist. Essentially, after injection vivitrol will attach to opioid receptors in the brain so that the opioid molecules cannot attach to these receptors and the drug reward system is not over activated. [1] After detox, many addicts will experience intense drug cravings that can cause them to relapse. Vivitrol works by reducing these cravings by blocking the release of dopamine from the drug reward system. Taken on a monthly basis, the drug is designed to have an extended-release so that it is effective for the entire month.

Does Vivitrol Work?

Now that you know how the drug works in the body, you are probably wondering just how effective it actually is. One study found that 36% of Vivitrol patients stayed sober from opioid relapse in treatment for the full six months compared to only 23% of the placebo group. [2] There appears to be a positive effect for many recovering opioid addicts, but what about for alcoholics? Another study found that patients who were treated with 380mg of Vivitrol had 25% fewer days of heavy drinking than those who took a placebo. [3]

Although vivitrol may be effective in assisting in the recovery effort, it is not enough on its own. In order to get the best results, it is recommended that this drug be combined with a comprehensive opiate addiction treatment that will focus on healing the mental aspects of addiction as well. Any addict knows that addiction is much more than a change in brain chemistry, so it is important to focus on more than this alone during the recovery process.

What Are Vivitrol Side Effects?

Vivitrol does have some serious side effects that can range from mild to severe. Some patients will experience nausea, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, dizziness, and cramps. Other patients could experience more serious symptoms such as liver damage, pneumonia, suicidal thoughts, and even the possibility of opiate overdose.

In order to avoid these dangerous consequences, you should enroll in an addiction rehab that will be able to determine that best way to combat your addiction.

Get the alcohol, opiate, or heroin addiction treatment that you or your loved one deserves now. You too can live a drug- and alcohol-free life.

To learn more about our substance abuse treatment center in Pompano, call us today at 888-280-4763.


  1. Vivitrol – How Vivitrol Works
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine – ALK21-013: Efficacy and Safety of Medisorb Naltrexone (VIVITROL) In Adults with Opioid Dependence
  3. Vivitrol – Alcohol Dependence Data-Pivotal Study Data
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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