The Role of Vivitrol in Opioid Addiction Recovery

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Peace Valley Recovery is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Our mission is to provide patient-centered care that focuses on healing and recovery from addiction. This blog provides information, news, and uplifting content to help people in their recovery journey.

Authored by Elliott Redwine, | Medically Reviewed by Peace Valley Recovery Editorial Staff,
Last Updated: March 5, 2023

Am I drinking too much?

The impact of the opioid epidemic in the United States shows no signs of slowing down. There were over 46,000 drug overdoses that involved opioids in 2018. Statistics show higher numbers of deaths due to overdose every year and there has never been a greater need for opioid addiction recovery options than there is today.

Prescription painkillers, heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids are highly addictive drugs. And once you’re hooked on them, quitting is not an easy task. Your body adapts to the drugs and when you stop using you experience numerous uncomfortable physical and psychological reactions. These withdrawal symptoms are a large part of what makes quitting so difficult.

Once the detox period is finished, working to prevent relapse and stay drug-free becomes your main focus. You don’t want to go through withdrawal symptoms again. Thankfully there are increasing numbers of options to support those trying to stay clean and sober.

Vivitrol is one of the latest medications on the market for those in opioid addiction recovery. It solves some of the concerns people have with alternatives such as Suboxone or methadone. What is the role of Vivitrol in opioid addiction recovery? Continue reading to learn more.

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a medication made to support individuals in opioid addiction recovery. It is the brand name for the drug naltrexone, an opioid antagonist medication. Vivitrol binds to and blocks the opioid receptors throughout the body. Unlike opioid agonists like naloxone which activate these receptors, opioid antagonists prevent their activation.

The Role of Vivitrol in Opioid Addiction Recovery

Vivitrol is dispensed once every four weeks in the form of an intramuscular injection. The opioid-blocking effects last for an entire month before needing to return to the doctor’s office for the next injection. This makes Vivitrol one of the simplest options for opioid addiction recovery medications. Most others require users to remember to take a pill every day.

How Does Vivitrol Work?

Vivitrol binds to opioid receptors without activating them, which relieves opioid cravings while keeping users clear-headed. In addition to reducing cravings, the medication also blocks the ability to get high on opioids. The drugs cannot bind to the body’s opioid receptors because naltrexone is already in place.

This addresses two of the major concerns that come with opioid addiction recovery: cravings and relapse. Vivitrol removes the distraction of cravings and reduces the likelihood of relapse since users can’t feel high. And since a dose of naltrexone lasts all month, individuals are free to focus entirely on building a solid recovery foundation during their time in drug rehab.

What Are the Side Effects of Vivitrol?

Using Vivitrol for opioid addiction treatment comes with some side effec