How Does The Vivitrol Shot Work?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on May 27, 2022

Vivitrol is FDA-approved as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) option for both alcohol and opioid use disorder. It works by blocking off receptors in the brain that are associated with euphoria and sedation from these substances.

How Does The Vivitrol Shot Work?

Vivitrol (naltrexone) is an extended-release medication that is used in the treatment of alcohol and opioid use disorder, alongside substance use counseling and behavioral therapy.

Vivitrol is an injectable form of naltrexone that essentially works by blocking off opioid receptors in the brain, which can reduce the desire to drink or use opioids.

Read more about using Vivitrol for addiction treatment

How Vivitrol Works For Alcohol Use Disorder

Naltrexone, the primary ingredient in Vivitrol, is an opioid antagonist. Once it enters the brain, it binds to and blocks endorphin receptors associated with the “buzz” from alcohol.

When taken as directed, Vivitrol can help individuals with a history of alcohol dependence maintain their sobriety by reducing the desire to drink and by blocking its euphoric effects.

How Vivitrol Works For Opioid Use Disorder

Vivitrol is the only formulation of naltrexone that is FDA-approved as a medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, also known as opioid addiction.

As an opioid antagonist, Vivitrol is capable of blocking euphoria from opioids and can help reduce cravings to use opioids.

Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, two other medications used in the treatment of opioid addiction, Vivitrol is not an opioid. It is also non-addictive and doesn’t cause dependence.

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How Is Vivitrol Taken?

Vivitrol is a drug that is administered by a healthcare professional once monthly by way of an injection into the gluteal muscle of the buttocks.

Vivitrol shots can be given by a physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or a pharmacist, as long as they are licensed to prescribe and administer medications.

Call Today To Find Vivitrol Treatment Options Near You

Beginning the journey towards recovery is a brave step. If you’re looking for treatment for yourself or a loved one struggling with addiction, we may be able to help.

Call our helpline today for more information about how Vivitrol works or to find Vivitrol treatment options for drug or alcohol addiction at a rehab center near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on May 27, 2022
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