If you are an adult who is recovering from opioid or alcohol dependence, your healthcare provider may recommend using Vivitrol. This prescription medicine should be used as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program that includes things like counseling and social support. There are also some off-label (unapproved) uses for Vivitrol, such as treating eating disorders or pathological gambling.
Vivitrol® (naltrexone injection) is a prescription injectable medication used in the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependence. Specifically, it is approved for:
- Treating alcohol dependence in people who are not actively drinking when starting Vivitrol treatment
- Preventing a relapse in people with opioid dependence after opioid detoxification.
Vivitrol belongs to a group of medicines known as opioid antagonists. It is best used as one part of a comprehensive drug or alcohol addiction treatment program that includes other components, such as counseling and social support. Vivitrol is not a cure for addiction. It is most effective for people who are committed to recovering from alcohol or opioid dependence.
Vivitrol can cause or worsen opioid withdrawal symptoms. People who receive treatment with Vivitrol must stop taking opioid drugs, such as prescription pain medications (including oxycodone, morphine, and codeine) and opioid street drugs (such as heroin), for at least 7 to 10 days before starting Vivitrol. This includes people receiving the medication for alcohol dependence.
In addition, people being treated for alcohol dependence should stop drinking before starting Vivitrol. The medication is specifically designed for use in people who can stop drinking in an outpatient setting before receiving their first Vivitrol dose.
Vivitrol contains the same active ingredient as Revia® (naltrexone), another medication used to treat alcohol and narcotic dependence. Revia comes in the form of a tablet that is taken by mouth, usually once a day.
One of the advantages of Vivitrol is that it only needs to be given once a month. However, you must visit a healthcare provider to receive your monthly Vivitrol injection. Revia, on the other hand, may be self-administered in cases where your healthcare provider determines you can safely and reliably take the medication each day.