VIVITROL and counseling have been shown to reduce the number of heavy drinking days* in patients with alcohol dependence1,2
In a 24-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, patients with alcohol dependence in an outpatient setting treated with VIVITROL and counseling reported 25% fewer heavy drinking days* per month than those treated with placebo and counseling.
VIVITROL is a once-monthly injection1
Your recovery journey is worth fighting for. Ask your healthcare provider if once-monthly VIVITROL may be right for you.
VIVITROL is not right for everyone. There are significant risks from VIVITROL treatment, including risk of opioid overdose, severe reaction at the injection site, sudden opioid withdrawal, liver damage, or hepatitis.
Talk to your healthcare provider about naloxone, a medicine that is available to patients for the emergency treatment of an opioid overdose.
Call 911 or get emergency medical help right away in all cases of known or suspected opioid overdose, even if naloxone is administered.
If you are being treated for alcohol dependence but also use or are addicted to opioid-containing medicines or opioid street drugs, it is important that you tell your healthcare provider before starting VIVITROL to avoid having sudden opioid withdrawal symptoms when you start VIVITROL treatment.
Vivitrol for Alcohol Addiction
Initially, Vivitrol was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006 to prevent relapse in those recovering from an alcohol use disorder. Naltrexone works to minimize cravings for alcohol via a different mechanism than previously used alcohol relapse prevention medicines, like disulfiram, which discourages continued drinking by making those in recovery sick if they consumed alcohol.
Vivitrol has been effective in augmenting recovery from addiction to alcohol. In a six-month double-blind study, people who used Vivitrol with counseling to treat an alcohol use disorder experienced a 25 percent greater reduction in the number of heavy drinking days after they graduated from treatment. Overall, people whose alcohol use disorder was treated with both Vivitrol and rehabilitation counseling spent more time abstinent from alcohol and had lower rates of relapse.
Naltrexone’s theorized mechanism of action stems from the fact that intoxicating substances like alcohol release endorphins, making the person feel good. This reinforces, in classic Pavlovian fashion, the want and then the need to drink more to feel good. In people being treated for alcohol use disorders, Vivitrol, an opioid receptor antagonist, blocks the endorphins from binding to their receptors, thereby ending the good feeling associated with being drunk. There may be some other signs of intoxication, but the pleasure of drinking will be greatly diminished. Among people who relapse into old patterns of alcohol use, the drive to drink should gradually disappear since it no longer offers perceived benefits.
Vivitrol Side Effects
Side effects of naltrexone include:
- Upset stomach
- Restlessness or nervousness
- Exhaustion or sleep problems
- Muscle or joint pain
In some cases, naltrexone injections can also cause reactions at the injection site, eosinophilic pneumonia, and liver toxicity. However, it can be very beneficial for many people working to manage their addiction to alcohol or opioids because it helps to reduce cravings after the body has detoxed. Unlike opioid agonist medications used to treat opioid addiction, like methadone or buprenorphine naltrexone does not cause any euphoria, so there is no associated intoxication or abuse liability.