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As a type of opioid antagonist, Vivitrol is prescribed to help people who have abused alcohol or opioids remain drug-free. This medication is given as an injection into a muscle once a month. It works by binding to opioid receptors, but does not produce that "high" feeling that can reinforce opioid and alcohol abuse. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, and common cold symptoms.

What Is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol® (naltrexone injection) is a prescription opioid antagonist medication. It is used to help people who have stopped abusing alcohol and opioids remain drug-free.
Addiction is a complex illness that is best treated with a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Vivitrol should not be used alone. It is most effective when used as part of a complete addiction recovery program that also includes psychosocial treatment, such as counseling and support groups.
(Click Vivitrol Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Vivitrol is made by Alkermes, Inc.

Clinical Studies

In clinical studies, Vivitrol has been shown to help people addicted to alcohol drink less. In one study, people given Vivitrol injections every 4 weeks had fewer days of heavy drinking (defined as 5 or more drinks a day for men and 4 or more drinks a day for women) over a 24-week period than people given a placebo (an injection with no active ingredients).  
People who stopped drinking alcohol a week before starting Vivitrol treatment were also more likely to completely abstain from alcohol for the 24 weeks of the study. It is important to note that everyone in the study also received psychological and social support for alcohol addiction.  
Vivitrol has also been studied in people with opioid dependence. In this study, people who had completed or were going through opioid detoxification were randomly assigned to receive Vivitrol or a placebo (an injection with no active ingredients) every 4 weeks for 24 weeks. Everyone in the study also received psychological and social support. After 24 weeks, 23 percent of people given the placebo had remained opioid-free, compared with 36 percent of those given Vivitrol.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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