Also known as naltrexone, the Vivitrol shot blocks the effects of opioid medication. It can also block the feeling of pain relief that comes along with opioid use, eventually leading to opioid abuse. But is the Vivitrol shot necessary? Although not absolutely required, Vivitrol and addiction treatment as a pairing are very common.
Most commonly Vivitrol injections are used to prevent relapse in adults that have been using opioids but have stopped using them. Generally, it prevents the feeling of needing opioids but leads to long term recovery and Vivitrol use.
It can also be used to treat alcoholism, leading to drinking less, or stopping its use altogether. Despite this, usage of Vivitrol medication is not a permanent solution. Using Vivitrol for opiate cravings or alcohol cravings is simply an aid.
What is a Vivitrol Shot?
The Vivitrol shot is injected into a muscle and given once per month and given consistently for the best benefit. It should be given by a healthcare professional as part of a complete treatment program. This program may also include counseling, and it is important you follow your doctor’s instructions.
There are costs of Vivitrol shot. For example, it is important to carry identification that clearly states if you take Vivitrol because if something occurs, others will be able to know what to do at the hospital. This is because your body will be much less sensitive to opioids after using this drug. If you need to continue using opioids for a medical purpose, you will need to be careful about dosing and let your medical providers know about your medication history.
How Does Vivitrol Work?
While Vivitrol stops endorphins from binding opioid receptors. This is both in people who consume alcohol, as well as opioids. It directly blocks the opioid drugs from binding to opioid receptors in the brain. It is an effective treatment for addiction and is known to prevent relapse.
If you use Vivitrol in combination with counseling, there is a rate of 90% success as compared to those who took a placebo. It is also common for those who have used Vivitrol alongside rehabilitation and continuing therapy to succeed. In fact, they were 17 times less likely to relapse compared to those who did not use Vivitrol. It is very useful in preventing relapse but should be done alongside a detox program. This is because it will block the opioid receptors, possibly leading to withdrawal.
Other Medicines Related to Opioid Withdrawal
For opioid overdose in an emergency:
- Nasal spray (Narcan, Kloxxado), Naloxone injection
Medicines used to treat opioid use disorder:
- Buprenorphine and naloxone
- Sublingual (Bunavail, Suboxone, Zubsolv)
- Tablets (Dolophine)
- IM injection (Vivitrol), Naltrexone tablets
- IM injection (Sublocade), Implant (Probuphine), Sublingual (Subutex)
Other brands of buprenorphine used for severe pain:
- IM injection (Buprenex), Sublingual (Belbuca), Transdermal patch (Butrans)
Before Taking Vivitrol
You should not receive a Vivitrol injection if you use any kind of opioid medicine. This is because you might have sudden and severe withdrawal symptoms.
If you are allergic to naltrexone, you should not take Vivitrol. Other reasons you should not take Vivitrol include:
- Currently addicted to opioids
- Having withdrawal symptoms from an opioid addiction
- Used any opioid medicine within the past few weeks, may include fentanyl, Vicodin, OxyContin.
- Used methadone or buprenorphine in the past few weeks
- Used any medicine to treat a cold, cough, diarrhea, or pain in the past few weeks
Although it is not known whether Vivitrol will harm an unborn baby, you should not take Vivitrol if you are pregnant. If you use opioid medication and you are pregnant, your baby might become dependent on the drug. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms in the baby and they may need medical treatment.
Vivitrol Shot Warnings
After you are given the Vivitrol shot, you may notice pain, redness, itching, bruising, swelling, or a hard lump where it was injected. If you have this type of reaction and it does not clear up within two weeks you should call your doctor.
You should also only be treated with Vivitrol only if you have not recently used any opioid medicine. If you have had buprenorphine, methadone, or cold/cough medicine containing codeine. Using these medicines in the weeks leading up to starting Vivitrol may cause sudden opioid withdrawal symptoms.
You should also not use opioid medication, heroin, or other street drugs while using Vivitrol. This can lead to coma or death. Naltrexone can also harm your liver. Before using Vivitrol you should let your doctor know if you have upper stomach pain, dark urine, or yellowing in the whites of your eyes. This can be a sign of kidney problems.
Normal Vivitrol Dosage
- Typical Adult Dose for Alcohol Dependence: 380 mg intramuscularly every four weeks
- Typical Adult Dose for Opiate Dependence: 380 mg intramuscularly every four weeks
Switching From Buprenorphine or Methadone to Vivitrol
Although there is no specific information available that addresses switching medications from buprenorphine or methadone to naltrexone, it has been known that possible withdrawal symptoms can occur. This is from an opioid agonist to opioid antagonist therapy.
Additionally, if you are switching from buprenorphine or methadone, you might be vulnerable to precipitated withdrawal. You should be prepared to manage this withdrawal with non-opioid medications. Vivitrol should only be part of a comprehensive management plan that ensures you will continue to take this medication.
Vivitrol Side Effects
If you are looking for a Vivitrol shot near me, you should first consider the side effects. You may even need emergency medical health if you have signs of an allergic reaction. This might include:
- Chest pain
- Difficult breathing
- Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
If you are using opioids while using Vivitrol injections, it might stimulate opioid withdrawal symptoms. Opioid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Stomach pain
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Goose bumps
- Body aches
- Muscle twitching
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling restless or anxious
Serious symptoms include:
- Weak or shallow breathing
- New or worsening cough, wheezing, trouble breathing
- Severe pain, swelling, blistering, skin changes, a dark scab, or a hard lump where the medicine was injected
- Liver problems
- Symptoms of depression
You may feel sick the first time you use Vivitrol, and may also have a headache, tiredness, joint and muscle pain, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
Benefits of the Vivitrol Shot
Easy to Administer
Because the dosage of Vivitrol is the same no matter your age, gender, or weight, you will only need the same shot once per month. It also requires less upkeep than standard pills, making it an attractive option.
The Vivitrol shot is long-acting and remains in the body for 30 days. This allows you to get the most out of your medication.
No-Risk of Abuse
Although drug misuse is common among those suffering from opioid and alcohol addictions, it is not possible with Vivitrol. This is because the shot is only given in a medical setting and is non-narcotic. With other medications used to block the effects of opioids, they are taken every day, and you might forget, or choose not to take them. Vivitrol is the easiest and most low risk of abuse overall.
Minimal Side Effects
Most patients who are given the Vivitrol shot do not have side effects. For those that do, the side effects usually remain mild.
It is Not Addictive
Naltrexone is the active ingredient in Vivitrol. It blocks opioid receptors from producing a rewarding response when opioids or alcohol is consumed. Despite this, no euphoric feelings are felt by using naltrexone. This makes it non-addictive with no potential for abuse.
Vivitrol has been proven effective as a treatment to reduce relapse rates.
There is No Withdrawal
Since Vivitrol is not addictive there is a very rare potential for withdrawal. Suboxone and Methadone, other opioid antagonists do have withdrawal symptoms.
Opiate Recovery with the Vivitrol Shot
Opioid recovery without the Vivitrol shot is known not to be as effective. Because Vivitrol was approved by the FDA in 2010, it has continued to help those who suffer from opioid addiction.
Keeps Users in Treatment Longer
Vivitrol is also known to help people struggle with alcoholism, but it was primarily produced in order to prevent opioid relapse. This was because a study was released that showed the medication kept those using it in rehabilitation longer. They were also more likely to remain abstinent and avoid relapse.
Detox is Important
Although it is useful in preventing relapse, it is also important that a detox program is completed. In this case, you should have no opioids left in your body before beginning the drug. This is essential because it will remove opioids from opioid receptors. Therefore, if a person is undergoing medically assisted detox, like buprenorphine, Vivitrol will stop the medicine from working. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms being worse.
Get Help Today
If you are suffering from opioid addiction and looking for help, contact us today. We may be able to aid in obtaining Vivitrol shot treatment at one of our many rehabilitation centers.