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Vivitrol Detox in the United States

Last updated on: Friday, 15 September 2023
  • What You'll Learn

Vivitrol or naltrexone is commonly prescribed to treat opioid addiction with a treatment program. Some drug rehab centers provide this medication, yet it may not be a good fit for everyone. DRS offers a directory of rehabs that offer Vivitrol.


Vivitrol is not addictive and will not cause a physical dependency, unlike such drugs as buprenorphine, suboxone, or methadone. Vivitrol is a common medication used during treatment for opioid addicts and or alcoholics if the person chooses to go toward the route of medication-assisted drug treatment. Vivitrol can be taken by mouth daily, or it can be prescribed as an injectable that is given once a month. Vivitrol will work by blocking or stopping the euphoric and sedative effects caused by opioids and will also block the intoxicating effects caused by alcohol. Vivitrol should not be considered an ultimate treatment solution, despite someone going through medication-assisted treatment. The ultimate goal for any addict should be to become completely drug-free and not have to rely on medication to ensure sobriety. The wholesale cost for Vivitrol tablets in the United States is on average $0.75 per day, whereas the monthly injection for Vivitrol can cost upwards of $1200 per month or around $40.00 per day. Some of the side effects caused by Vivitrol include trouble sleeping, anxiety, nausea, headaches, and the drug is not recommended for those who have liver problems. If someone is seeking out medication-assisted treatment with Vivitrol, it is best to speak to a licensed physician and make an informed decision.

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Is Medication-Assisted Drug Rehabilitation Effective With Vivitrol?

Medication-assisted treatment is nothing new within the United States, and many addicts who go through outpatient or residential drug treatment are prescribed medications to help with their treatment. Vivitrol is essentially used to help people who are suffering from alcoholism or opioid addiction and is a common drug prescribed in medication-assisted drug rehab. When Vivitrol is used to treat alcoholism, it will assist with decreasing the amount and frequency of drinking but will not necessarily change the percentage of people who do choose to abuse alcohol. Many experts within the addiction treatment field in the United States, feel that Vivitrol is a modest approach for treating alcoholism, and it may not be effective for every person who is addicted to alcohol. When Vivitrol is used to treat opioid addiction, it will potentially decrease the cravings caused by opioids within a few weeks after use and will decrease the risk for an overdose as long as the patient does not return to using opioids again. Vivitrol blocks the euphoric and sedative effects caused by opioids, and when someone is off opioids, their tolerance is less. Because of a decreased tolerance for opioids, when someone relapses with opioids and uses the same amount they used to while taking Vivitrol; the risk for overdose is high. Much of the research surrounding Vivitrol with opioid addiction has shown that the monthly injection is the most effective for opioid addicts, but each patient should speak with their doctor. Medication-assisted drug rehabilitation may be effective for some addicts, but it will not always be a viable approach for every alcoholic or opioid addict.

What Role Does Vivitrol Play Within the Current Opioid Epidemic?

Opioids have been responsible for countless overdose deaths all throughout the United States, to the point where it is now an epidemic that is placing pressure on all levels of government to take action. Many people within the addiction treatment industry are questioning what is the best approach to help someone who is addicted to opioids or dependent on them. Some experts believe that harm reduction is useful, whereas others want more treatment options and drug rehabilitation to solve the problem, and some simply believe medications such as Vivitrol are the answer. There is new research surrounding the extended-release injectable form of Vivitrol that shows it’s being both efficient and not so much in many other cases. Many believe the problem with Vivitrol not being effective is because of how long a patient has to be sober from opioids or alcohol, which is seven to ten days; before they can be prescribed Vivitrol. This has forced many opioid addicts to turn to drugs such as methadone or buprenorphine, which do not require someone to be sober, but are also addictive and will cause physical dependencies. Because drug overdoses are killing on average over 60 thousand Americans each year, people are desperate for solutions or a quick fix. Opioid addiction requires a full detox period before treatment, and this does deter people from seeking out help, which is why medication-assisted treatment in the United States becomes appealing for an opioid addict. Because many in the addiction treatment field believe that medication-assisted treatment has cut the mortality rate in half among opioid users, drugs like Vivitrol are being pushed as an answer. However, the downside with Vivitrol is that it is more difficult to start because of the clean time required. Because of this, prescribing doctors will also push buprenorphine or methadone to immediately help an opioid addict.

Medications Such as Vivitrol Are Not Always the Answer

Opioid addiction is one of the most physically painful drug addictions to battle, and opioids are psychologically extremely addictive. When the time comes, the average opioid addict is looking for a quick solution to get sober, simply to avoid the withdrawal pain. Granted, this is a valid concern, because some opioid addicts are consuming such large amounts, the withdrawals could potentially kill them. Medication such as Vivitrol may work as a temporary solution, but it should not be considered a final answer. Overall, drug addiction has many layers to it, and ideally, the average former addict would want to be completely drug-free. However, this is not always the case; Vivitrol will not work for everyone, and because of this, there are countless different drug treatment options operating all throughout the United States. Anyone struggling with addiction should ensure they are able to locate a program or treatment solution that will be the best fit for them.

Ask a Professional

  • What type of drug is Vivitrol?

    Vivitrol is the brand name for a specialized type of drug known as an opioid antagonist. And while this may sound similar to an opioid, it functions much differently. Rather than producing opioid-like effects, it blocks them. The medication is used to treat opioid addiction by preventing relapse in people who’ve ceased abusing drugs. It can help prevent cravings for opioids, and if relapse occurs, the opioid doesn’t produce the effects it’s consumed for. Vivitrol is also used similarly to treat alcoholism. While it doesn’t block the effects of alcohol, it can help prevent or diminish cravings for alcohol.

  • What does Vivitrol look like?

    Vivitrol is a clear, liquid substance that comes in a prescription vial. Hypodermic needles are required for the administration of the medication.

  • How long does Vivitrol stay in your system?

    Vivitrol injections must be maintained monthly to work effectively. Otherwise, the person may become susceptible to cravings and relapse.

  • Is Vivitrol addictive?

    No, Vivitrol is not addictive. It is used to help treat opioid addiction. But Vivitrol is not a complete treatment in itself and should always be used in conjunction with a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program.

  • How is Vivitrol used?

    Vivitrol is injected into the muscle, where it is slowly absorbed over the following four weeks. Vivitrol is only given in a medical setting by healthcare professionals.

  • Want to know more?

    The questions from Addicted.org’s “Learn from our Experts” are answered by Michael Leach, CCMA. If you need further clarification on any of the questions above or have any other questions you can contact him directly at mike@addicted.org.




More Information

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.