Taking Opiates While On Vivitrol: What Happens?

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

A person taking Vivitrol should avoid taking any opiates. Combining these two substances can result in a number of unwanted and dangerous side effects, including death.

What Happens If You Take Opiates With Vivitrol?

All prescription medications have reported side effects and drug interactions, some worse than others.

Prescription drugs should only be taken as prescribed, and telling your healthcare provider about medications, supplements, and other substances you are taking could keep you safe.

Vivitrol is a relatively safe medication unless a person is taking opioids along with a Vivitrol injection.

Vivitrol has some warnings that should be taken into account before the first injection.

Most importantly, a person has to be opioid-free for seven to 14 days preceding the first Vivitrol injection.

Learn more about the benefits of using Vivitrol

How Does Vivitrol Interact With Opioids?

Both Vivitrol and opiates attach to opioid receptors in the brain. Vivitrol binds to these receptors more intensely than any opioid.

In fact, the binding strength is so powerful that it kicks opiates off opioid receptors so that Vivitrol can bind to those receptors.

This is why it is important to be opiate-free for up to 14 days before starting a Vivitrol.

Suddenly removing opiates from opioid receptors can cause immediate and intense opioid withdrawal, called precipitated withdrawal.

Symptoms of precipitated withdrawal include:

  • fever
  • intense body aches
  • excessive vomiting
  • sweating
  • high heart rate
  • seizures
  • extreme diarrhea
  • mental health instability

Read more about negative Vivitrol drug interactions

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Effects Of Abusing Opiates While Taking Vivitrol Injections

An even bigger concern occurs when a person receiving Vivitrol injections abuses opiates.

Even though Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors, a person can still overdose on opioids if they take very high doses in an attempt to “feel the effects”.

If a person is abusing excessive amounts of opiates and are taking Vivitrol, they can start to exhibit symptoms of opioid overdose, such as:

  • unconsciousness
  • shallow or uneven breathing
  • bluish or grey-colored skin
  • vomiting
  • lethargic
  • pulse slows or stops completely
  • clammy skin
  • unresponsive
  • coma
  • death

Vivitrol Can Impact Opiate Sensitivity

Another potential risk for overdose is if a person skips or stops Vivitrol injections, and starts abusing opiates.

If the person has abstained from opioid abuse for a significant amount of time, their tolerance for opiates has probably gone down exponentially.

Abusing the same amount of opioids they have taken previously can result in accidental overdose.

Finding Addiction Treatment Locations That Offer Vivitrol

Seeking treatment for an opioid use disorder that includes MAT with Vivitrol is an option.

Reach out to our helpline to speak with our addiction treatment specialists today. They are ready and available to answer your questions and help you find solutions for you or your loved one.

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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