Vivitrol is a brand-name Naltrexone prescription that treats both alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. Its primary function is to assist in relapse prevention once the detoxification process is complete. Recovery patients at WAVE receive this intramuscular medicine (injection) once every month.
In 2006, the FDA
approved this medication as a relapse prevention drug. However, It was initially used exclusively for alcohol use disorder. Multiple studies then went on to reveal that the drug was also effective in opioid relapse prevention. Four years later, the FDA approved it as a medically assisted detox treatment
for opioid use disorder.
It is imperative for patients in addiction treatment to successfully detox from opioids or alcohol before starting Vivitrol. Like most forms of Naltrexone, This is an opiate antagonist. This drug actively removes opioids from opioid receptors in the brain and prevents other substances from binding to them. So, for the medication to have any effect during medically assisted therapy, there should be no traces of alcohol or opioids left in the body before the first dose.
Additionally, while Vivitrol is effective for abstinence, patients may experience severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to use it while still undergoing medically assisted detox. Since it is an opiate antagonist, It will cancel out the positive effects of prescription opiate agonists like Buprenorphine. So, like other forms of Naltrexone, Vivitrol prescriptions are only used once the detox process is complete. Maintaining abstinence for at least one week before starting it ensures little to no withdrawal symptoms.