Vivitrol Abuse and Addiction

Vivitrol has been used in the treatment of alcohol abuse disorder since 2006 and, most recently, was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for use with opioid addiction in 2010. As part of a post-detox, comprehensive recovery program, it’s an effective tool in preventing relapse. Learn more about vivitrol abuse and addiction here.

If you or a loved one have a suspected alcohol or drug addiction, don’t wait, call Muse Treatment today. We employ a diverse mix of treatment options in order to build a plan that’s right for you. Let us help you take back the life you deserve.

What is Vivitrol?

Sold as a nasal spray (Narcan), fast-acting naloxone is exceedingly effective in reversing the effects of opioid overdose. In contrast, naltrexone, later introduced as the long-acting version, is dispensed in tablet form. The significant rate of opioid addicts with an established co-occurring alcohol use disorder prompted the scientific investigation into the use of naltrexone as an effective treatment for opioid addiction. Vivitrol is an injectable form of the oral tablet, naltrexone. Monthly intramuscular injections eliminate the potential for missing, or skipping, doses. 

An opioid antagonist, Vivitrol works by beating out every other drug in binding with your system’s opioid receptors, making it virtually impossible for opioid-based drugs to have any effect, whatsoever, on the person taking them, including their role as a pain reliever. As a treatment for alcohol use disorder, it targets the endorphin receptors, instead. The most important difference to remember is that while Vivitrol does prevent you from feeling the effects of drinking, it will not stop you from becoming intoxicated. 

Vivitrol Effects 

In itself, Vivitrol has no desired effect, other than to block those of drugs and alcohol. For this reason alone, do not take Vivitrol within two weeks of your last use, or if you have an upcoming procedure requiring opioid pain relievers. Review all existing physical, emotional, and mental health conditions, and their medications, with the prescribing doctor. In case of any emergency, be sure to let first responders know you are taking Vivitrol. Significant side effects to take note of include depression and pneumonia. More common side effects include: 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness 
  • Headache
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Toothache 

Like any other injectable drug, you may experience an allergic reaction. Speak with a doctor if you are concerned about abnormalities at the injection site. Some people have experienced reactions severe enough to require surgery.

Signs of Vivitrol Abuse and Addiction

Unlike other drugs used in medication-assisted treatment, like methadone and buprenorphine, Vivitrol has little potential for diversion precisely because it is not habit-forming. There is still the possibility of abuse, but that has more to do with other substances than Vivitrol itself. Regardless, the end result is the same–an increased risk of overdose and death.

Remember that Vivitrol negates the effects of opioids and alcohol. You should be fully detoxed from either substance before starting treatment with Vivitrol. Taking Vivitrol with opioids present will send you into acute opioid withdrawal syndrome–the rapid onset of intense withdrawal symptoms, and all the misery that goes with them. 

Some people try to override their Vivitrol treatment by taking more and larger quantities of opioids or alcohol. This behavior is hazardous. Vivitrol slowly loses its potency over the course of each 30-day treatment. Because your body has adapted to the absence of opioids and your tolerance has dropped, you risk serious harm from overdose, or death, even at lower doses.

Drinking alcohol while taking Vivitrol won’t give you the same violent reaction as with opioids. It only dulls the way you experience alcohol. Most people simply stop because there’s no incentive, no buzz, but drinking excessively without feeling the effects may lead to a false conviction that you’re just fine. You’re not fine, you’re drunk. You might harm yourself, or others, drunk driving, or continued drinking could lead to alcohol poisoning and death. 

Vivitrol Addiction, Treatment & Side Effects


Vivitrol Withdrawal Symptoms 

There are no withdrawal symptoms with Vivitrol. Your body doesn’t form a dependency when taking it. Vivitrol is intended as a tool for long-term recovery. As such, you should be fully detoxed from opioids and alcohol before getting your first injection.

Long Term Side Effects of Vivitrol Abuse

Vivitrol can cause liver damage and hepatitis. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain lasting more than a few days
  • Cloudy, dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice–yellowing of the whites of your eyes

Vivitrol Addiction Treatment

An estimated 200,000 people died last year from opioid and alcohol-related causes. You don’t have to join them. Call Muse Treatment today, and let us show you just how close you are to leaving drugs and alcohol behind.

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