Vivitrol is a monthly injection of naltrexone that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat addictions to opioids and alcohol. It can only be used after detox and once you are no longer physically dependent on alcohol or opioids. Vivitrol is most effective when combined with behavioral therapy and counseling–a comprehensive treatment approach known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Vivitrol may not be right for anyone, but it is an extremely useful medication that can promote sobriety in those struggling with addiction. Here are 5 of the most important benefits of using Vivitrol in addiction treatment.


1. Vivitrol Reduces Cravings for Opioids and Alcohol

Vivitrol contains naltrexone, an opioid antagonist medication that binds to and blocks opioid receptors. The binding process tricks the brain into thinking it has opioids in the system, thereby reducing opioid cravings. The blocking mechanism prevents other opioids from being able to attach to opioid receptors.[1] In other words, if you take an opioid while on naltrexone, you won’t feel the euphoric effects of the opioid. This can reduce the desire to use opioids.

When it comes to treating alcohol, naltrexone helps regulate brain function and restore healthy chemical balances which can reduce alcohol cravings.[2]

Cravings are a major obstacle that you must overcome in recovery, but some people need a little extra help dealing with cravings while they take the time to recover. This is where Vivitrol comes into play. Vivitrol minimizes cravings while you participate in therapy and other holistic healing activities that encourage sobriety.

2. There are Very Few Side Effects and Risks

Treatment medications like Suboxone, methadone, and Antabuse all come with a long list of side effects. Although Vivitrol can cause side effects too, the ones it does cause are usually mild and they subside within a couple of days or weeks after receiving the injection.

The most common side effects are injection site reactions including redness, itching, swelling, and irritation. These side effects are normal with any kind of injection–even vaccines. Other common side effects include:[3]

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite

Many people have no noticeable side effects whatsoever.

3. There is No Risk of Abuse or Addiction When Using Vivitrol

Vivitrol is the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder that is not habit-forming. Other medications like buprenorphine and methadone, while effective in treating opioid addiction, can lead to a physical dependency. Even people who take buprenorphine or methadone as prescribed may experience some withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the medication.

This is not the case with Vivitrol.

Naltrexone does not have addictive properties. It does not provide feelings of euphoria and it is not physically addictive. You can stop taking Vivitrol without experiencing any symptoms of withdrawal. It is also only administered in a medical office, eliminating any possibility of diversion.

Because you can’t abuse or get addicted to Vivitrol, it is a very popular treatment option for those seeking recovery.

4. A Monthly Injection is Easier to Keep Up With Than a Daily Pill

People who struggle with substance use disorders or mental health conditions typically have poorer rates of medication adherence than the general population.[4,5] Remembering to take a pill every day may sound easy, but it is just as easy to forget. Forgetting to take a daily medication can make the medication ineffective or cause sudden withdrawal symptoms.

However, with Vivitrol, you don’t have to worry about adhering to a daily medication schedule. Vivitrol is administered once every 28-30 days in a medical office, so all you have to worry about is making it to your monthly appointment. This makes Vivitrol a preferable option for people who struggle with taking daily medications.

5. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) With Vivitrol Can Improve Treatment Outcomes

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), medication-assisted treatment can improve treatment retention and completion rates. It can also reduce the risk for relapse since medications alleviate cravings and MAT provides a more comprehensive, individually-tailored approach.[6]

Overall, using Vivitrol as part of your treatment program may improve treatment outcomes. While the injection helps you cope with cravings, you can focus 100% of your energy on your therapy sessions. This will help you get better faster.

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Get The Care You Need and Deserve

Woburn Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

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Experience the Benefits of Vivitrol at Woburn Addiction Treatment

The medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program at Woburn Addiction Treatment is committed to helping patients achieve a sober, independent lifestyle. If you or a loved one are interested in the Vivitrol shot or starting addiction treatment, contact a team member today. We’re available 24 hours a day to take your call, verify your insurance, and help you begin your recovery journey.


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