In April 2006, the FDA approved Vivitrol, an extended-release naltrexone injection, for the treatment of alcohol use use disorder in adult patients. In October 2010, Vivitrol received FDA approval to treat and prevent relapse after patients with opioid dependence have undergone detoxification treatment.

Opioid and alcohol addiction are chronic, relapsing brain diseases that affects people psychologically and physically. Effective treatment programs often focus on both aspects of addiction through counseling and medication. Vivitrol is a non-addictive, once-monthly treatment proven to prevent relapse in opioid and alcohol dependent patients when used with counseling following detoxification. Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors in the brain while you work with the psychological aspects of counseling.

The safety and efficacy of Vivitrol for opioid use disorder were studied for six months, comparing Vivitrol treatment to placebo treatment in patients who had completed detoxification and who were no longer physically dependent on opioids. Patients treated with Vivitrol were more likely to stay in treatment and to refrain from using illicit drugs. Thirty-six percent of the Vivitrol-treated patients were able to stay in treatment for the full six months without using drugs, compared with 23 percent in the placebo group.

The safety and efficacy of Vivitrol for alcohol use disorder was examined in the overall treatment population of a 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical study, in patients treated with the medication and counseling (n=205) demonstrating a 25% greater reduction in days of heavy drinking (*heavy drinking defined as a self-report of 5 or more standard drinks consumed on a given day for male patients and 4 or more drinks for female patients) than those treated with a placebo and counseling (n=209).

Patients must not have any opioids in their system when they start taking Vivitrol; otherwise, they may experience withdrawal symptoms from the opioids. Also, patients may be more sensitive to opioids while taking Vivitrol at the time their next scheduled dose is due. If they miss a dose or after treatment with Vivitrol has ended, patients can accidentally overdose if they restart opioid use.

Side effects experienced by those using Vivitrol included nausea, tiredness, headache, dizziness, vomiting, decreased appetite, painful joints, and muscle cramps. Other serious side effects included reactions at the site of the injection, which can be severe and may require surgical intervention, liver damage, allergic reactions such as hives, rashes, swelling of the face, pneumonia, depressed mood, suicide, suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Any patient with a prescription for Vivitrol for alcohol or opioid dependence who is 18 years or older is eligible for the VIVITROL® Co-pay Savings Program card. Eligible participants include: a) Patients with commercial health insurance; or b) Patients with no insurance or electing not to use insurance. The VIVITROL® Co-pay Savings Program covers up to $500/month of co-pay or deductible expenses for those patients who are eligible for the program.

Vivitrol is not right for everyone. There are significant risks from undergoing Vivitrol treatment, including risk of sudden opioid withdrawal. Vivitrol should not be used in conjunction with certain other medications. Contact us today to find out if Sublocade may be right for you. For more information on Vivitrol and how it works in the brain, a comprehensive educational brochure can be downloaded HERE.

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