What is a Vivitrol Shot?

When thinking about ways to beat alcohol addiction, many people assume that it’s simply a case of learning how to stop drinking. However, it’s not always that simple. Choosing the right path to recovery is essential. For many, Vivitrol shots may be a key ingredient in the recipe for success.

But what is a Vivitrol shot and what role can it play in a rehabilitation strategy? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is a Vivitrol shot?

Vivitrol is the brand name for an injectable prescription medication aimed to help recovering addicts. It is also known as naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension 380mg/vial. It is primarily used to treat alcohol dependence from individuals currently fighting an AUD and/or prevent a return to opioid dependence from individuals who have completed a detoxification program.

The injectable “shot” was approved by the FDA as a treatment for alcohol dependence in 2006 and research shows positive impacts on drinkers and opioid users. It is the only FDA-approved solution that is not a controlled substance. For the best results, though, it is to be used in conjunction with other treatments including counseling, behavioral therapy, and support groups.

How does a Vivitrol shot work?

Vivitrol shots are designed to be used monthly. Like all forms of naltrexone, the medication works by preventing the neurological effects that alcohol and opioids have on the central nervous system. Under normal circumstances, those drugs can cause sedation and temporary highs. By blocking those feelings, which occurs through binding to the brain’s opioid receptors, the injectable aims to suppress any desire to drink or misuse opioids.

Alcohol and drug addiction have only been classified as mental health diseases since 1987. However, with over 15% of the 10 million opioid misusers developing opioid use disorders, the ability to reduce the likelihood of taking them is a telling feature. Similarly, blocking the desire to drink can help individuals who are fighting an alcohol use disorder as they complete detoxification.

Can Vivitrol shots be used by everyone?

Vivitrol shots are an increasingly common part of treating alcohol addiction and opioid addiction. However, they are not suited for every substance abuser. For starters, anyone who is allergic to naltrexone or other ingredients found in the shots will need to avoid this solution. The FDA additionally reports that anyone experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms like sweating, vomiting, shakes, and hot flashes should avoid this solution too.

Meanwhile, anyone who has a physical dependence on opioids (including street-purchased drugs like heroin) must not use Vivitrol. Blocking the brain’s opioid receptors will make all withdrawal symptoms feel worse. It would be far more suitable in this case to use controlled rehabilitation processes that focus on reducing the level of dependence. An examination can determine whether a disorder has developed into physical dependence.

What are the potential side effects of taking a Vivitrol shot?

Many patients who take Vivitrol shots as a part of their treatment plan will not face any side effects. Nonetheless, it should be noted that there are several side effects that some patients may experience. For starters, the withdrawal symptoms can be the same as any other detox plan. Behavioral side effects are relatively common too, which can subsequently harm relationships or lead to feelings of depression.

Other side effects may include liver damage, hepatitis, and pneumonia. Moreover, allergic reactions may bring short-term side effects like nausea, cold-like symptoms, a loss of appetite, or muscular pains. Alternatively, adverse reactions at the site of the injection can cause swelling, blisters, scabbing, and pain. Increased blood pressure is another possible side effect. In most cases, it will be minor although rare cases see severe harm.

How long should Vivitrol be used for?

The monthly shots may be used for varying durations depending on a host of factors relating to the individual. However, research conducted by Vivitrol has largely focused on six-month plans. Ultimately, anyone with an AUD should keep taking the injections until they are free from their dependence while opioid users should feel that they are no longer at risk of relapsing.

Can Vivitrol be used right away?

When taking Vivitrol shots to recover from an AUD, it is safe to use them right away. In fact, some argue that it is OK to keep drinking small volumes of alcohol during this time, although it is usually ill-advised. However, anyone with an opioid use disorder should first look to complete detoxification. Otherwise, the risk of relapsing will remain high and the Vivitrol shot may be less effective.

How quickly does a Vivitrol shot work?

Vivitrol shots look to reduce cravings. The injection releases Vivitrol slowly over time. So, rather than being aimed at quick action, its aim is to offer sustained results. You may notice the change within a day or two. However, the main benefits are seen over the subsequent weeks as the desire to use alcohol or opioids will be decreased. When combined with other techniques, staying sober is more likely.

Rehab in Colorado – Peaks Recovery

Vivitrol shots are a highly popular addition to treatment plans for the dependence on alcohol and opioids, both of which are two of the most commonly used and most accessible substances available. While it isn’t a standalone solution, it can have a hugely impressive impact when used in conjunction with other effective rehabilitation techniques. 

However, it should be noted that Vivitrol isn’t suitable for all, which is why a personalized treatment plan administered by experienced and caring professionals is the only option. To gain further details about the full details of our alcohol and drug detox and post-detox plans, contact us today.