What Are The Side Effects Of Vivitrol?

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

Some physical and psychological side effects can occur after receiving a Vivitrol (naltrexone) shot. Some serious side effects, including injection site reactions and liver damage from Vivitrol, may require medical attention.

Side Effects Of Vivitrol

Vivitrol (naltrexone) is a medication that is used to treat alcoholism and opioid use disorder, due to its ability to help reduce cravings and prevent euphoria.

Unlike naltrexone pills, Vivitrol is a shot that is administered in the form of an intramuscular injection once a month, or every four weeks, by a licensed healthcare professional.

Learn more about the benefits of taking Vivitrol

What Are The Side Effects Of Vivitrol?

People who receive Vivitrol for alcohol or opioid addiction may experience some side effects after getting this shot, which can include both physical and psychological effects.

Side effects of Vivitrol may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • dizziness
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • decreased appetite
  • anxiety
  • muscle or joint pain
  • weakness
  • difficulty sleeping

Not everyone who takes Vivitrol will experience these side effects. Furthermore, some side effects may become less severe or go away within a few days.

Serious Side Effects Of Vivitrol

Although rare, serious side effects of Vivitrol can occur and should be reported to your doctor right away in the case that clinical intervention is needed.

If the following effects occur, contact your doctor immediately:

  • confusion
  • blurred vision
  • hallucinations
  • severe vomiting
  • severe diarrhea
  • depression
  • thoughts of suicide

Serious side effects may be a sign of an allergic reaction or another adverse reaction to Vivitrol.

Side Effects At The Injection Site After Taking Vivitrol

Side effects at the injection site after getting a Vivitrol shot may be a sign of an injection site reaction. Severe site reactions can require medical attention and potentially surgery.

Signs of a serious injection site reaction include:

  • blisters
  • large area of swelling
  • dark scab
  • open wound
  • lumps
  • hard skin around injection site
  • lasting pain

More common after getting a Vivitrol shot are mild side effects, such as skin redness, tenderness, bruising, and mild swelling.

While less serious, these side effects should be reported to a doctor, who can provide further guidance.

Vivitrol Side Effects FAQs

Do you have questions about the side effects of Vivitrol? Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Vivitrol and drug side effects.

❓ How Does Vivitrol Work?

✔️ Vivitrol is an extended-release opioid antagonist medication that binds to and blocks certain opioid receptors in the brain. This prevents alcohol and opioids from binding to the same receptors.

What this can do is help prevent urges to drink alcohol or use opiate drugs, including the illicit drug heroin. It can also prevent a person who uses these substances from getting high.

❓ Can Vivitrol Cause Liver Damage?

✔️ Liver damage, although rare, can occur in people with acute hepatitis, liver failure, or another type of liver disease who receive Vivitrol.

Liver damage is not a common side effect of Vivitrol in most people.

Read more about liver damage from taking Vivitrol

❓ Does Vivitrol Keep You Awake?

✔️ Difficulty falling or staying asleep, also known as insomnia, is a common side effect of Vivitrol. This medication may also cause drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, and vivid dreams.

Read more about insomnia from taking Vivitrol

❓ Does Vivitrol Make You Gain Weight?

✔️ Weight gain is not a known side effect of Vivitrol. People who receive Vivitrol shots may experience loss of appetite, nausea, and weight loss while receiving this treatment.

❓ Is Vivitrol Addictive?

✔️ No. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. federal government reports that Vivitrol is non-addictive and has no abuse potential.

❓ Does Vivitrol Cause Withdrawal?

✔️ Vivitrol is not habit-forming. Therefore, it does not lead to physical dependence, nor will it cause withdrawal if you miss a dose or stop taking it.

Vivitrol can, however, cause opioid withdrawal symptoms in people who receive Vivitrol with opioids still in their system. This is known as precipitated withdrawal.

❓ Is Vivitrol Safe For Use During Pregnancy?

✔️ Little is known about the effects of Vivitrol use on fetal development, newborn health, or people who are pregnant or breastfeeding while receiving Vivitrol shots.

Doctors may prescribe Vivitrol for use during pregnancy if there is no preferable alternative available, or if the perceived benefits are determined to outweigh potential risks.

❓ Does The Vivitrol Shot Make You Sick?

✔️ Some people may feel sick after getting a Vivitrol shot, due to common side effects such as nausea, headache, diarrhea, and muscle or joint pain.

Some of these side effects may go away with time, or become less severe as your body adjusts to your use of this medication.

❓ What Are The Effects Of Mixing Vivitrol With Other Substances?

✔️ Vivitrol should not be taken by people who are actively drinking alcohol, using opioids, or taking other prescription medications that contain opioids, such as opioid-containing cough medicine.

Finding Vivitrol Treatment For Addiction

Vivitrol is an FDA-approved medication for alcohol and opioid dependence that can help people achieve and maintain their sobriety from alcohol and opioids.

For more information about Vivitrol or how to find Vivitrol treatment at an addiction rehab center near you, call our helpline to talk to a specialist today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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


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