How Long Does Vivitrol Last?


Vivitrol is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder and alcohol dependence.

It is intended to stay in your body for an extended period of time, unlike oral versions of the medication.

But how long exactly does it have an effect?

In this article, we will discuss how the medication works and how long it lasts in your system.

Read on to learn more about:

  • The uses of Vivitrol in the treatment of opioid use disorder and the treatment of alcohol dependence
  • How Vivitrol works
  • How long Vivitrol treatment works for
  • How long you can take Vivitrol for
  • The potential side effects of Vivitrol 

 Let’s get into it.

What is Vivitrol Used For?

Vivitrol is an injectable long-release form of Naltrexone. The FDA-approved medication can be prescribed to people who suffer from either Alcohol Use Disorder or Opioid Use Disorder.

It works by blocking opioid receptors, thereby stopping the rewarding effects of opioids and alcohol.

Vivitrol can be used in people who suffer from opioid use disorder and have undergone medical detoxification.

It is generally recommended that people are abstinent from opioids for 7 to 10 days before starting the treatment to avoid any severe side effects.

Vivitrol injections are used as part of Medication-Assisted Treatment and are often used with behavioral therapies to help people maintain sobriety.

How Does Vivitrol Work?

Vivitrol contains the active ingredient Naltrexone, which works as an opioid antagonist. This means that it blocks the opioid receptors in the brain. Blocking these receptors stops the rewarding effects of either opioid or alcohol use.

Blocking the opioid receptors in the brain also helps to reduce drug cravings as there is no pleasure experienced from the ingestion of opioids and alcohol.

It also helps to decrease the risk of relapse as patients know they will not get the ‘high’.

Vivitrol is used in conjunction with other treatment options such as behavioral therapies, family therapy, and treatment of other underlying medical conditions to help sustain long-term recovery.

Identifying and treating underlying behavioral health conditions is often one of the best things you can do for your addiction recovery.

How Long Does Vivitrol Last?

Vivitrol is designed to be slowly released in the body after being injected. Its effects usually last for one month.

The intramuscular injections are usually given once every 4 weeks before the therapeutic effects wear off.

For some people who have a slower metabolism, the effects of Vivitrol will last longer. However, these people will likely still receive monthly injections unless medical professionals suggest otherwise.

For people who struggle to take medication every day or struggle with relapses, the long-release form is a great option.

It does not rely on being motivated every day to maintain sobriety and helps people with busy schedules to remove one thing off their to-do list each day.

How Long Can You Take Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is designed to be used long-term for the treatment of opioid addiction and alcoholism.

However, in some people, liver damage and other side effects can occur when the medication is used over long periods of time.

It is important to regularly attend follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider, who will ask questions and run tests to ensure the medication is safe for you to take.

It is important to know that after a period of time, your body will naturally reduce opiate receptors after a period of time.

This increases their sensitivity to opioids and puts people at risk of opiate overdose if they stop taking the medication and try taking their regular amount of opioids.

People who try to take very large doses of opioids to try to overcome the opioid-blocking effects are also at risk of opioid overdose.

What are The Side Effects of Taking Vivitrol?

Like any medication, there are some side effects and adverse reactions that you may experience when taking Vivitrol. It is important to know when to seek medical help to manage these side effects.

Some common side effects include:

  • Cold symptoms such as runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Depressed mood
  • Joint pain and muscle cramps/ muscle aches 
  • Allergic reactions such as skin rash
  • Injection site reactions.

Some more severe reactions may include liver damage, severe injection reactions, and an increased risk of overdose due to an increased sensitivity to opioids after treatment.

Who Can Take Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is an FDA-approved medication that can be prescribed by healthcare providers to people who suffer from opioid dependence and alcoholism.

Not everyone can take the medication. Your doctor will likely run some tests to make sure that the medication is safe for you to take. This may include taking your vitals and asking you to complete a blood as well as a urine test.

Before you take the medication, is it also important that you have undergone opioid detoxification and have no opioids in your system. 

This is to avoid any severe and sudden opioid withdrawal symptoms once you take Vivitrol.

Final Thoughts

Vivitrol is a long-acting injectable medication that is used to help people with substance use disorders such as alcohol addiction and opioid dependence.

It works to block the pleasurable effects of alcohol and opioid use. This helps prevent relapse and decreases opioid and alcohol cravings.

It is important to know that the medication lasts in your system for about a month, compared to oral naltrexone, which lasts around 1 to 3 days.

If you are taking this medication, it is important to regularly keep in contact with your healthcare professional, to monitor your progress.


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