Vivitrol Shot For Opiate Addiction: Naltrexone Therapy

Last Updated: June 24, 2020

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Vivitrol for opiate addiction is one of the most effective medications to help a person go through the withdrawal period successfully. A Vivitrol shot can prevent a patient from relapsing after the initial detoxification and help avoid the emergence of subsequent withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone Therapy For Opiate Addiction

After reading that Vivitrol itself doesn’t ease withdrawal symptoms, many patients wonder what naltrexone is and how it can be effective during treatment. Vivitrol shot for opiate addiction works differently from the majority of withdrawal medications. Instead of helping relieve the symptoms, it blocks the effects of opiates and discourages a person from continuing the abuse. That’s why opiate addiction is what naltrexone is mainly used for.

Does Naltrexone Help With Withdrawal Symptoms?

Naltrexone is intended to make it easier for a person to stay clean after having already gone through opiate detox. It binds to opiate receptors in the body, preventing the ingested drugs from doing the same. This way, the medication helps reduce cravings dramatically, but it doesn’t alleviate other opiate withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, Vivitrol can help with withdrawal only if it is taken after the detox.

What Is The Naloxone Challenge Test?

When a person enrolls in a Vivitrol program, either as a part of a substance abuse treatment or not, the Naloxone Challenge Test (NCT) is sometimes used to determine whether naltrexone treatment can begin. A small dose of naloxone is administered to the patient, and if withdrawal symptoms occur, naltrexone should not be given. This method is considered to be one of the most reliable for the detection of opiates prior to Vivitrol treatment.

What Are The Risks Of Naltrexone Therapy?

Vivitrol precipitated withdrawal is common in patients who use naltrexone while opiates are still present in the body. A Vivitrol shot for opiates can only be administered after a person has stayed opiate-free for 7-10 days. If the medicine is taken earlier than that time, the individual is likely to experience severe opiate withdrawal symptoms.

In addition, naltrexone can exert a negative influence when it is not used properly. For instance, abusing the medication or mixing it with other medicines and substances can result in adverse health effects. Also, while drinking on naltrexone is generally safe, it can have certain side effects as well. There is a risk of infection and irritation when Vivitrol is injected.

Naltrexone Implant And Shot

A Vivitrol implant is a form of naltrexone treatment that provides a particularly extended release of the medication. It is inserted under the skin. The main naltrexone implant locations are the belly button and the fat tissue below the waistline. At the same time, Vivitrol shot is a repeating injection of the same extended-release drug but in less concentration.

How Long Do Naltrexone Implants Last?

Naltrexone implants can last for 2 to 6 months. Their action is significantly longer than that of any other formulation of the drug. Below is a brief comparison of the two main forms of the medication to naltrexone implants regarding the duration of their action.

how long does vivitrol last

How Long Does The Vivitrol Shot Last?

A Vivitrol injection has to be done once a month. The main advantage of a Vivitrol shot is its convenience. Implants can reduce the risk of a patient accidentally missing a dose even further.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Naltrexone Implants Instead Of Pills?

The main purpose of the implants is to deliver naltrexone slowly over an extended period of time. The half-life of naltrexone in oral form is between 4 and 13 hours. For a Vivitrol shot, the half-life of the medication is as long as 5 to 10 days. Therefore, the main advantage of the implants over pills is the duration of the drug’s action.

What Are The Risks Of Using Naltrexone Implants?

Implants are surgically inserted under the skin, meaning that the main risks are Vivitrol injection site reaction such as inflammation or infection, and other complications. Another hazard is dubious sources of the implants. Many practitioners use the implants from outside the U.S. There is no way of knowing whether the particular naltrexone implant that a person is about to receive is authentic, safe, and approved for use.

How To Reverse The Vivitrol Shot

Medical professionals can reverse Vivitrol in emergencies when pain management with opiates is required. Such extreme cases are rare, and many non-opiate drugs may be discovered to be suitable for treatment. The action of Vivitrol can be reversed by administration of certain medications. This should only be done in a setting equipped for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Medical professionals must closely and constantly monitor a patient after the reversal of Vivitrol blockade.

Some patients also try to reverse Vivitrol blockade for non-medical purposes. When the drug is administered as pills, a person might not take the dose as prescribed to feel the pleasurable effects of opiates again. When Vivitrol shot or implant was used, the individual can try to ingest a large dose of opiates to override the action of the medication. This can be particularly dangerous and lead to opiate overdose.

How And Where One Can Get A Vivitrol Shot

Opiate dependence is a sensitive issue, and many patients wonder where they can get the Vivitrol shot and maintain privacy. The best option for those who place significant value on confidentiality is finding private physicians for Vivitrol shot. To do this, a person should first call their health care provider and inquire about the possibility of getting a naltrexone shot.

private physicians for vivitrol shot

Alternatively, individuals who need Vivitrol can seek clinics that offer naltrexone treatment and specialize in opiate detox or rehabilitation. The manufacturer’s official website can assist in finding a medical professional who can provide a Vivitrol shot near every patient.

Another concern is the Vivitrol shot cost. For some patients, especially without insurance, it can be too expensive. It is currently impossible to get a free Vivitrol shot. Various naltrexone coupons are also available for eligible patients.

Naltrexone As A Part Of A Rehab Program

Naltrexone for opiate addiction works by blocking the pleasurable effects that opiate drugs induce in a person. The medication binds to opiate receptors in the brain and helps overcome physical dependence. In combination with other rehabilitation methods, medications, and psychological treatment, a naltrexone shot can have a hugely positive effect on a person’s life and health. If a person wishes to try the treatment, they should speak to their doctor to discuss the potential benefits and risks. Also, many detox and rehabilitation centers offer programs that include naltrexone treatment.

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Published on: June 7th, 2019

Updated on: June 24th, 2020

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


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