May 16, 2023

How Does The Vivitrol Shot Work?

An image of a medical professional holding a shot to represent the question: "how does the vivitrol shot work?".

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What is a Vivitrol Shot?

The Vivitrol shot is an injectable form of naltrexone that is used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to treat addictions to alcohol or opioids.

For those seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder or opioid use disorder, this guide examines the following issues:

  • What is a Vivitrol shot?
  • What is Vivitrol prescribed for?
  • What is in the Vivitrol shot?
  • What does the Vivitrol shot do?
  • How is Vivitrol prescribed?

Let’s get started, then – Vivitrol: what is it?

Understanding the Vivitrol Shot

Vivitrol functions as an opioid antagonist by inhibiting the pleasurable effects of opioids. Primarily, Vivitrol injections serve to alleviate the cravings linked to the withdrawal phase of opioid addiction or alcoholism.

The extended-release Vivitrol shot contains naltrexone and was granted FDA authorization in 2006 for treating alcohol dependency. In 2010, the Vivitrol injection received FDA approval for managing opioid dependence, becoming the first non-addictive and non-narcotic treatment for opioid use disorder. 

How Does The Vivitrol Shot Work?

Vivitrol can help treat substance abuse by binding to mu-opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the pleasurable effects of drugs like alcohol, prescription opioids, and heroin. By doing so, it may reduce the likelihood of continued substance abuse.

Patients will typically receive one 380mg dose per month through an intramuscular injection administered by a healthcare professional. The medication is designed to be gradually released into the body over time.

 Before beginning Vivitrol treatment, it is vital to be free of opioids for at least one week to avoid adverse reactions. Typically, Vivitrol is administered after a patient has completed detox.

Vivitrol can be used in various scenarios, including as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes behavioral interventions like counseling and psychotherapy. It is also indicated for preventing relapse to opioid dependence in patients who have detoxed and have opioids in their system. Additionally, Vivitrol can be used to treat alcohol dependence in patients who have already stopped drinking.

Who Is Vivitrol Not For?

Vivitrol is not suitable for everyone. For example, it is contraindicated for patients who are still using opioids or who are psychologically dependent on opioids. It is also not recommended for patients who are hypersensitive to naltrexone or who are in the acute phase of opioid withdrawal prior to detox.

Patients with liver or kidney problems should consult their physician before taking Vivitrol, as they may be at increased risk of experiencing adverse side effects. Pregnant women should also exercise caution before taking Vivitrol.

What Is The Vivitrol Injection Used For?

The Vivitrol injection is used during medical detox to treat alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) and opioid use disorder (opioid addiction).

Research studies have shown that Vivitrol is effective in preventing relapse and reducing cravings in those with opioid addictions. In one study, the effectiveness of Vivitrol was comparable to that of the leading medication for opioid use disorder, Suboxone. The study found that about half of those who received Vivitrol remained abstinent six weeks later.

 In the clinical trial that was used to gain FDA approval for Vivitrol, over half of patients with heroin use disorder remained abstinent throughout the six-month study. The medication was found to be three times as effective as daily doses of naltrexone in preventing relapse, with 55% of study participants reporting a significant reduction in cravings for heroin. Additionally, those who received Vivitrol were much less likely to relapse than those who received a placebo.

With alcoholism rates on the rise in the United States and over 85,000 deaths each year associated with alcohol abuse, Vivitrol is an important component of many comprehensive treatment plans for alcohol use disorder. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if Vivitrol is the right medication for an individual’s specific needs.

Vivitrol Monthly Injections

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or opioid addiction, Vivitrol can be an effective medication to help maintain sobriety through medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Vivitrol is a monthly injection that contains naltrexone, a medication that blocks the effects of opioids and alcohol.

 To get started with Vivitrol, the first step is to speak with a healthcare provider who is licensed to prescribe the medication. This can include a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. It’s essential to find a healthcare provider who is familiar with medical detox and Vivitrol, and has experience prescribing it for addiction treatment.

 After the first injection, subsequent injections will be given once a month. It’s important to keep all appointments and receive each injection on schedule to ensure the medication is effective in maintaining sobriety.

Administration of the Vivitrol injection is a task that should only be performed by a healthcare provider. Self-administration is not recommended, as it may lead to serious adverse reactions that require medical attention.

 The injection is administered once per month into the muscle of the buttocks using a specially designed needle that is provided with the medication. Once the injection is administered, the effects of Vivitrol last for a full month, and the medication cannot be removed from the body. It’s vital to adhere to the recommended dosing schedule and receive the injection regularly to ensure the medication’s effectiveness in treating alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder.

 In addition to taking Vivitrol, you should also participate in other forms of addiction treatment, such as counseling or support groups, to address the underlying issues contributing to addiction and learn coping strategies for maintaining sobriety. We can help you achieve this at Gratitude Lodge

Get Treatment for Drug Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

At Gratitude Lodge rehab in Long Beach, we offer a range of programs for those struggling with addiction to prescription medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs. Whether you have developed physical drug dependence or diagnosable drug addiction, we can help you find the path to recovery.

 Our supervised medical detox program provides a smooth transition to inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab, with medications available to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. After detox, you can move on to our Inpatient program (residential rehab).

Each program at Gratitude Lodge provides individualized care that blends evidence-based treatments with holistic therapies for a comprehensive approach to addiction recovery. Our treatment options include:

  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Psychotherapy (CBT and DBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy

When you complete your program, we provide an aftercare plan that includes relapse prevention techniques to support your continued success. Whether you choose to transition to a less intensive form of treatment or return to your daily life, we’re here to help you achieve long-term recovery. Call admissions at 888-861-1658 to start your journey towards a healthier future.

Vivitrol Shot FAQs

Vivitrol, also known as naltrexone, can be effective in certain cases. It is used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence by blocking the euphoric effects of these substances. However, its success depends on individual circumstances, and it should always be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and support.

The Vivitrol shot, also known as naltrexone, typically lasts for about 28 to 30 days in the body. This extended-release formulation allows for monthly injections, providing continuous support for individuals seeking treatment for alcohol or opioid dependence.

Vivitrol, also known as naltrexone, works for alcohol dependence by blocking the pleasurable effects of alcohol on the brain. It binds to certain receptors in the brain, reducing alcohol cravings and the desire to drink, helping individuals to maintain abstinence and support their recovery from alcohol addiction.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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