Vivitrol/Naltrexone and its Role in Treating Alcoholism and Opioid Addiction

Vivitrol/Naltrexone - along with Revia - is a medication that is used to treat opioid addiction and alcoholism. It joins ranks with many other medications, such as Suboxone, Subutex and Antabuse. These medications have been very instrumental in the lives of so many people who needed help with their addictions.

Could Vivitrol be right for you? That's a great question. It's important to get as much information about this medication as you can. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to make a decision.

Treating Alcoholism and Opioids with Vivitrol

What is the Vivitrol Naltrexone (Revia) Injection?

Vivitrol is the brand name for Naltrexone. It is a medication that is given once a month to help with recovery from alcoholism and opioid addiction. At first, Vivitrol shots were only approved to treat alcoholism. However, in 2010, the FDA also approved it to help people remain in recovery from opioids as well.

Naltrexone is also available as another brand name, known as Revia. Vivitrol and Revia are similar but they are not exactly the same.

What is Vivitrol

The Naltrexone in Vivitrol is an extended release form that is released in the body over time. Revia is a pill (which is usually prescribed as Revia 50mg) that is taken once a day.

The Vivitrol form of Naltrexone is much different from other medications that are on the market. For example, up until Vivitrol, most people were placed on Subutex or Suboxone pills instead.


How is Vivitrol Given?

Vivitrol shots are given in the gluteal muscle of the body. Whether someone is taking this medication for alcohol, or Vivitrol/Naltrexone for opioids, the administration is the same. Vivitrol doctors who prescribe this medication are given strict instructions on how to administer it monthly. There can be some discomfort felt at the Vivitrol injection site. Therefore, it's important to alternate gluteal muscles with each monthly dose. This should minimize any discomfort.

Vivitrol vs Revia

Is Vivitrol the Same as Naltrexone?

Vivitrol contains Naltrexone, but in a different form. For example, Suboxone also contains Naltrexone, but each Suboxone pill only has one dose of Naltrexone. More of this drug is available in Vivitrol, but it is an extended release type. This means that as the month goes on, a steady amount of Naltrexone is released into the body.

When someone is looking to make the choice between Suboxone pills and Revia, they usually have questions. Above all, they want to know which one will be more effective for them.

Both medications have some great attributes and benefits. Suboxone pills are convenient to use, and their abuse rate tends to be low. However, Suboxone does contain an opiate drug (buprenorphine), which can lead to addiction. There are people who choose to abuse Suboxone, and become addicted to it. Also, Suboxone has not been used to help with alcoholism recovery.

Revia might be more favorable for someone who wants to recover from opiate addiction. It does not contain an opioid drug at all, and so there is no risk for secondary addiction. Revia reviews state that patients tend to do better with this medication than with Suboxone.

When looking at Vivitrol reviews, it almost seems easy to choose this medication over Suboxone pills. The success rates for Vivitrol/Naloxone are much higher than those for Suboxone. People appreciate having a shot that blocks alcohol and opiates.

In fact, many doctors who prescribe Naltrexone in this form seem to favor it for obvious reasons. They don't have to worry about people forgetting their medications, which is one great benefit. It's not surprising that so many patients are being switched to this one. The Naltrexone patient information sheet explains all of the benefits, and it's certainly not wrong. There are many reasons why someone would choose Vivitrol over Suboxone pills.

Whether you are taking Naltrexone for alcohol dependence or opioid dependence, it works similarly. For opioid addicts, Vivitrol will block the opioid receptors in the brain and body. For alcoholics, it changes the way that the brain responds to alcohol when it is consumed.

Of course, taking Naltrexone and consuming alcohol are never recommended together. Fortunately, this medication helps to dissuade people from using both alcohol and opioid drugs. It helps with cravings and both opioid and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

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How Long Will the Vivitrol Shot Last?

When you are taking Vivitrol/Naltrexone, the effects will last about one month. It's very important not to miss your next appointment with your doctor to get your injection of Vivitrol. Doing so could lead you to go into opioid withdrawals.

How do You Find Doctors Who Will Prescribe Naltrexone and Revia?

It should be fairly easy to find Vivitrol providers in your area. According to SAMHSA, any medical doctor who is licensed to prescribe medications can prescribe it. There are also private physicians for the Vivitrol shot. However, keep in mind that there may be some doctors who aren't as familiar with this medication. They may hesitate to prescribe it simply due to lack of knowledge.

Even so, those who aren't familiar with Vivitrol may be willing to prescribe Revia.

You lose the convenience of a monthly shot, but the medication is very effective. Some doctors are even willing to prescribe higher doses of the medication to be taken less frequently.

What Happens if You Take Vivitrol with Opiates in Your System?

It is recommended that people are off all opiate drugs for a period of time before using Vivitrol/Naltrexone. For many opioid drugs, this means being clean for a period of about 7 days. However, if you have been using methadone, you may need to be off it longer. For methadone users, typically a 14 day clean period is required.

Naltrexone is also used as a drug to save people who have overdosed on opioid drugs. It works by pulling the opioids off the body's opioid receptors. If you still have opioid drugs in your system, you will experience this when you take Vivitrol. This will cause you to immediately go into opiate withdrawal.

If you take Vivitrol/Naltrexone and then use opioid drugs later, you should feel no effects. This is because those receptors are blocked, completely. Unfortunately, many people try to take larger doses of opioids to get past the Naltrexone. This puts them at risk of an overdose.

People frequently want to know, what happens if you drink on Naltrexone?. You may be wondering the same thing. This is actually one of the most commonly asked questions about Naltrexone.

Drinking on Naltrexone is never recommended. This is a drug that is supposed to keep you from using alcohol, and there is a Vivitrol/alcohol interaction. Even so, Naltrexone will not reduce the effects of alcohol. If anything it heightens them. This is quite surprising for someone who is used to drinking a lot of alcohol to get drunk.

When it comes to drinking on Vivitrol, Bluelight, Erowid and other online forums are filled with suggestions. They state that the hangover the next day is likely to be much worse than usual. People who drink alcohol on Vivitrol are at a higher risk for alcohol poisoning. It's a drug that serves as a deterrent for alcohol consumption.

Vivitrol and Alcohol

The Side Effects of Vivitrol and Alcohol

The side effects of alcohol and Vivitrol may vary from person to person. Some Vivitrol/alcohol reviews state that people get drunk very easily. Others state that they drank more than they usually do, and didn't feel anything.

One danger associated with drinking on Vivitrol is the fact that liver damage is a possibility. Alcohol causes severe liver damage on its own. Naltrexone can have the same result.

When you use the Vivitrol shot, you should be aware that there may be some side effects. You could experience some of the following:

  • Feeling nauseous
  • Getting frequent headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling tired and drowsy
  • Bouts of anxiety

The Revia/Naltrexone 50mg pill is also likely to cause some side effects. When you take this medication, you may experience:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Digestion problems, such as diarrhea
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Feelings of confusion
  • Mental or mood changes

When you take either Vivitrol or Revia long-term, you are probably going to experience their effects. Remember, these are prescribed medications that are very powerful. They shouldn't be used long-term, but sometimes doctors will prescribe them longer than they should.

The long-term effects of Naltrexone include:

  • The onset of depression
  • Severe anxiety
  • Liver damage
  • Possible liver disease or hepatitis
  • Allergic pneumonia
  • Infections or skin reactions at the injection site

It can take some time for you to adjust to taking Vivitrol or Revia. As you adjust, you will probably experience side effects that get better over time. It's difficult to say how long you might experience Vivitrol side effects. Everyone is so different. However, if they become bothersome to you, you should talk about them with your doctor.

Are Revia or Vivitrol Addictive?

Fortunately, Naltrexone in both forms - Revia and Vivitrol - is not addictive. This is good news for anyone who is an alcoholic, or an opioid addict. It is also one of the reasons why so many doctors are drawn to this medication.

Vivitrol Side Effects

Should Vivitrol Withdrawal be a Concern?

According to many Vivitrol user reviews, this medication does not cause withdrawal when it is stopped. This is another great benefit of this medication. Even so, keep in mind that it's important to have all opioids out of your system before you start taking it. If you don't, you will experience severe opioid withdrawal that will start very quickly.

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Additional Treatment is Recommended During Medical Detox

The makers of Vivitrol are obviously excited about this medication. It truly stands to change the way that drug and alcohol detox works for so many people. Even so, it should not be used as a standalone treatment.

For an alcoholic or an opioid addict, the physical addiction is only part of the problem.

It may be a big part, but there is still more to the problem that needs to be addressed. It's so important to work on the psychological part of the addiction as well. Unless this portion is addressed, opioid use and/or alcohol consumption are likely to continue when Vivitrol is stopped.

Fortunately, that does not necessarily mean that an inpatient stay is recommended. Many physicians who prescribe Vivitrol believe that involvement in an IOP program is excellent. The most important thing is to get proper treatment.

Vivitrol Side Effects

Vivitrol's Cost in 2017

Vivitrol is not a cheap medication, unfortunately. The average Vivitrol shot cost is around $1200 per injection. However, in some instances, the cost can be as high as $1500. Revia seems to be much more affordable for many people, especially if they don't have insurance.

Fortunately, there are ways to get help paying for your Vivitrol injection. The Vivitrol Value Program can assist with covering at least some of the cost of your co-pay. Also, if you have insurance, you may qualify for a free Vivitrol shot.

People frequently wonder, does Medicaid cover Vivitrol?, or does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover Vivitrol injections?. The answer is that it depends on your plan. You may need to get prior authorization from your health insurance company.

For many people, the ability to get assistance in paying for Vivitrol is available. Don't put off finding out what your health insurance will cover. You also may qualify for other programs that can make Naltrexone more affordable for you.

Additional Questions You May Have About Vivitrol Naltrexone

Vivitrol is a drug that is manufactured by Alkermes. It was first FDA approved to treat alcoholism in 2006, and then approved for opioid dependence in 2010.

Low dose Naltrexone is not effective at treating addictions to alcohol or opioid drugs. However, it can be used for other purposes.

Yes, LDN works very well in treating anxiety and depression in many people. It has also shown to be effective in treating certain autoimmune disorders, inflammation, fatigue and sleep.

There have been many studies done regarding Naltrexone for use in cocaine addiction. One study found that in cocaine addicts, their cocaine consumption was significantly reduced during the study. These particular cocaine users were also heavy drinkers. This could have played a role in the findings in this study.

Heroin is an opioid drug. It's actually not that much different from other opioid drugs. If you use Vivitrol Naltrexone or Revia and then use heroin, you won't feel anything. The effects of the heroin will be blocked, just as they are blocked for other opiate drugs.

Of course, people may feel that they can override the Naltrexone in the body if they use enough heroin. This is incredibly dangerous, and it can easily lead to a heroin overdose.

Does Vivitrol Work, and Will it Work for You?

It's possible that you're wondering if Vivitrol will work for you. It sounds like it's almost too good to be true. The answer is that yes, it works, and there is a good possibility that it will work for you. Like other detox drugs, Vivitrol isn't for everyone. It has its benefits, which many people appreciate when they use it.

If you're wondering if Vivitrol might be a good fit for you, you should talk with your doctor.

He or she knows your medical history, and knows if Naltrexone would be a good fit for you. The good news is that if it doesn't work well for you, there are alternatives. If you keep looking, you're likely to find the right detox medication for you.

Additional Help as You Recover from Alcoholism and Opioid Dependence

As we previously mentioned, it's so important for you to remember that medications are not the only answer. They will absolutely help you overcome your addiction to opiate drugs, or your alcoholism. However, that is all they will do. You want to avoid thinking that taking Vivitrol for opiate addiction or alcoholism is the answer. It is a part of the answer, but there is so much more to recovery.

At Northpoint the Evergreen, we understand what you're going through. You may be addicted to alcohol, or opiates or both.

You may be feeling like you're at the end of your rope. You worry that there's nothing you can do to change your circumstances. Fortunately, that's not true at all. There are so many great tools at your disposal.

It will help you to consider the right alcohol or drug treatment to go along with your Naltrexone therapy. Our IOP program can assist you with this. Getting to the issues behind your addiction is so important. When you combine the two, you give yourself the best chance of recovering successfully. That is what we want for you and your future.

Do you have additional questions about Vivitrol or Revia that we can answer for you? We'd love to hear them. Please contact us today to learn more about your treatment options.

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Vivitrol and Naltrexone - How they are used in Addiction Recovery