This brand-name prescription, known to treat drug and alcohol dependence, may require several injections for continual effectiveness. These injections must be performed at certain rates to guarantee the effects of the medication.
What Is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is a medication that is designed to assist individuals with substance abuse disorders. This extended release injectable, which is in the opioid antagonist drug group, contains naltrexone. Naltrexone is known to curb cravings for alcohol and drugs.
Doctors will prescribe Vivitrol depending on the severity of an individual’s condition, as well as any other medical issues the patient may have. This injection process should be administered in a medical environment or rehab facility.
The Process of Receiving Vivitrol
A patient should receive Vivitrol after completely detoxing from alcohol and other substances. Since someone needs to wait until their system is clear of drugs and alcohol before getting Vivitrol, all patients should be clean for 7-14 days before receiving their first injection.
This injection comes in a vial filled with 380 mg Vivitrol and 4mL of a solution to dilute it. The vial is injected into the muscle of the patient’s buttocks. Since this injection occurs more than once, the injection site will rotate from the right buttock to the left between sessions.
Effects of Vivitrol
The main effect of Vivitrol — the reason that it’s prescribed — is to decrease cravings for drugs and alcohol. However, there may also be some undesirable side effects that come with the injection. Most symptoms range from mild to moderate:
- Stomach pain
- Injection site reactions
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Increased blood pressure
- Decreased appetite
Some more serious, but less common, side effects of Vivitrol include withdrawal, liver disease, allergic reactions, pneumonia, and depression.
How Long Will Vivitrol Work For?
Luckily, the side effects of Vivitrol will most likely go away after a few days or a couple of weeks. If your symptoms do not subside after a few weeks, talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.
How long Vivitrol will last in the body depends on the individual who is using it. Everyone’s body will break down the formula differently; however, Vivitrol will typically stay in the body for 25-50 days. For this reason, Vivitrol is usually administered once every four weeks or once a month.
Patients are instructed to return to their doctor one month after receiving their previous injection. This medication is intended for long-term use, so it can continue to be administered throughout several months or years.
What Do Do After An Injection
It is very important to avoid drugs and alcohol while in between Vivitrol injections. But since this drug is designed to reduce cravings, patients are not likely to have the same desire to use as they previously did.
Vivitrol works best when combined with other forms of addiction treatments such as education, support groups, and counseling. Vivitrol can only interact with specific other drugs, so talk to your doctor before using other medications while on this prescription. If you’re planning on stopping Vivitrol, talk to your doctor first about the best next steps for you.
Vivitrol, while very beneficial for those battling addiction, can come with its own risks. This medication should only be used according to dosage. If you experience negative side effects after using Vivitrol, consider alternatives such as naltrexone tablets or Suboxone.
To learn more about Vivitrol and how long it lasts, contact our substance abuse treatment professionals by visiting us here or calling 866-345-2147.