Vivitrol is purely an opiate blocker. Once an individual is opiate free for approximately 7 to 10 days, Vivitrol can be given safely with no side effects. It effectively combats cravings, lasts for approximately one month and causes no further withdrawal symptoms. Most importantly, should an individual choose to use an opiate while on Vivitrol, the individual will feel no effect. Knowing the option of getting high is not available allows an individual in early recovery the time and emotional energy to focus on developing an effective recovery program.

vivitrol addiction treatmentAs the science of addiction medicine evolves, doctors have begun using new drugs in revolutionary ways that are changing how we think of and treat addiction.  Vivitrol is a drug used to treat both opioid addiction as well as alcoholism.  Since 2006, when it was first approved by the FDA for alcoholism, many patients have shown much success.  In October 2010, this injectable form of naltrexone was approved to treat opioid addiction as well.  It has since been used successfully by many with addiction to opiates and heroin.

What should you know about Vivitrol and it use in addiction treatment?

What Is Vivitrol?  Vivitrol is an extended-release injectable version of naltrexone that is given once a month.  It is known as an opiate antagonist, meaning it works by binding with and blocking the receptor sites in the brain that would normally be affected by opiates or alcohol.

How Does Vivitrol Work?  Unlike an opiate agonist, the opiate antagonist occupies the receptor site but does not activate the receptor.  This means that the site is tied up without the person feeling the “high” that would come with using a drug that activates the site.  Because the receptors are tied up, when someone on Vivitrol uses alcohol or opiates, they do not feel the pleasurable effects of intoxication.

How Is Vivitrol Different From Naltrexone?  Naltrexone requires a daily oral dose and has been used for years in addiction treatment  There are two main downsides to this self-administered daily dose:  1) it is easy for patients to forget the daily dose,  and patients who forget to take the medication are at a greater risk of relapse; and 2) there is a daily temptation to skip the dose for that day,  in order to drink or use or even to have the possibility to drink or use.

Vivitrol largely eliminates these issues.  It is a monthly shot administered by a health professional.  Its effects last for a full 30 days.   Two main benefits to the monthly shot versus daily tablets:  1) medical professionals can monitor a patient’s compliance and remind the patient when the next dose is needed.  Patients have someone to be accountable to and someone who will be talking with them if they are being tempted to use.  2) Patients are freed from the daily decision to take the dose or not and so there is no daily temptation to use.  Many patients report they have a greater peace of mind knowing there is no possibility to use.  (Actually they could use, but it would have no or very little effect on them.)

Pros of Vivitrol Use:

There are many benefits to using Vivitrol under the care of an addictions medicine specialist.  Vivitrol appeals to many doctors and patients alike, who do not wish to treat an opioid addiction with another opioid medication (also known as agonist treatment).

For individuals who have not been heavily addicted for more than a year and the brain has likely not been radically changed by drug abuse, Vivitrol is an ideal tool to use in early recovery.

Vivitrol drastically reduces cravings for opiates and alcohol.

For some, using Vivitrol while actively engaged in counseling and self-help groups such as AA, NA or SMART Recovery results in lasting sobriety, even after Vivitrol is discontinued.

Vivitrol is an ideal choice for patients coming off of methadone or buprenorphine (maintenance drugs) especially in the first few months, when they are at greater risk for relapse.

For those that work in jobs with frequent travel, such as pilots, business consultants, flight attendants, Vivitrol is appealing because it is a safe, supervised method of treatment that does not require daily dosing.

Cons of Vivitrol Use:

Perhaps the biggest con to Vivitrol is its cost.  Unless one has private insurance that covers prescription drugs well, Vivitrol is very expensive.  The shot can run up to $1200 per month (even higher in some cases).  Even with insurance, copays and deductibles can leave a patient paying quite a bit on a monthly basis.  The company that makes the drug offers patients up to $500 to cover copays or off the cost of the shot for those without insurance.  Even with this financial assistance, Vivitrol can be quite expensive.

Another drawback of Vivitrol is that patients can only get started on the drug after all alcohol and opiates are out of the patient’s system.  Generally this means that the patient has gone through detoxification and has been sober and clean for 7-10 days.  This usually only occurs when the patient is an inpatient program or a hospital setting.

Also, Vivitrol is currently only FDA approved for those 18 and older, although it is used “off label” for younger patients successfully and safely.

Finally, as with all prescription drugs, there are side effects.

Individual Decision

Vivitrol has many advantages and several disadvantages.  It is important for patients and healthcare professionals to understand the full picture when considering Vivitrol for substance abuse treatment.  The decision whether or not to take a drug like Vivitrol is an individual, case by case decision and should be made with a doctor who is properly credentialed.  If the decision is made to use Vivitrol, it should be done in conjunction with formal treatment and/or individual or group counseling for the best results.

New Hope Recovery Center has seen good results with clients who have used Vivitrol.  Most report drastically reduced cravings, increased confidence in their sobriety and a greater peace of mind.  Many have reported that they know it kept them sober and clean.  They realized there are points in any month where the stressors and temptation to use may become very high, but by getting the monthly shot, they knew they would find ways to cope that did not involve using.  You can contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center has been administering Vivitrol, a once monthly injection, for the past year with positive results.  It has been extremely helpful for our clients struggling with addiction to opiates including heroin, Oxycontin, Vicodin and other opiate prescription drugs.

What is Vivitrol?  Why try it?

Vivitrol is an injectable formulation of Naltrexone.  Vivitrol is given as an intramuscular injection in the upper buttocks and is a thick solution, which may cause some temporary discomfort.  Naltrexone, a pure opiate blocker, has been available for years as a once daily pill.  Vivitrol acts directly on the brain’s opiate receptors, preventing the physical effects of heroin, Oxycodone, Norco and other forms of opiates and has the added effect of biochemically decreasing cravings.  Vivitrol is NOT an Opiate, is NOT addictive and does NOT cause withdrawal as it metabolizes in the system.

How much does it cost?

Much has been written about the expense of Vivitrol.  The majority of our clients find the cost covered 100% by their health insurance and financial support has also been available.  Alkermes, the maker of Vivitrol, and Touchpoints’ Support Services reimbursement specialists, have been very supportive through assistance in obtaining Vivitrol for our clients from insurance specific pharmacies and providing financial support.

When can Vivitrol be used? 

In the past year, New Hope Recovery Center clients that identify as Opiate Dependent upon admission have been counseled on the benefits of Vivitrol. Individuals must be opiate free 7 – 10 days before having Vivitrol administered and as the ordering process can take some time, Vivitrol usage is discussed early in the treatment process. Clients with legal consequences, and those with repeated failed attempts to stay sober, have been the most eager to use Vivitrol. The court systems as well as probation officers have looked positively on clients choosing Vivitrol.

What has prevented clients from trying Vivitrol?

The majority of our clients are interested in using Vivitrol.  However, we find some are confused about the difference between Suboxone and Vivitrol. Some are concerned with the cost, which we have found to be generally covered for most clients, while those clients who are hesitant to taking Vivitrol may have an unspoken reserved desire to use again.  For these clients, it is helpful to point out the huge reduction in cravings that occurs.  Additionally, we find having our Vivitrol clients discuss their experience with each other can be helpful.

Results from using Vivitrol

New Hope Recovery Center clients receive their first injection while in treatment whether Residential Day Treatment (RDT) or Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and are given the option to receive subsequent injections at New Hope Recovery Center as an Alumni. Since beginning to administer Vivitrol at New Hope, not a single client has relapsed on any drug or alcohol within the 30 days of their Injection and all of our Vivitrol clients completed treatment successfully.  Some clients have received one injection and not returned for subsequent injections.  However, most clients have returned for repeat injections.

The overwhelming message has been that receiving the injection did the following: (1) took the option to use opiates out of their thoughts, (2) their cravings subsided, (3) recovery from their obsession took hold, (3) and trust in their recovery grew more rapidly than expected.

New Hope Recovery Center is very encouraged by the results using Vivitrol for opioid dependence in combination with treatment and 12-Step recovery.  We expect to share further results in the future.

New Hope Recovery Center has extensive experience treating addiction to opiates, including heroin, Vicodin and Oxycontin.  If you or someone you love is addicted to these life-threatening drugs, please get help immediately.  You can reach New Hope Recovery Center by phone at 773-883-3916 or via email at

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Vivitrol Opiate Addiction Chicago Rehab Syringe

Is Vivtrol right for you?

Medication-assisted treatment for addiction to Heroin and other opiates (such as Vicodin and Oxycontin) has been common for decades.  It has also been somewhat controversial because the medication-assisted treatment often involves providing medical substances similar to the addictive drug.  Most recently the controversy has centered on two medications used for opiate addiction: vivitrol and suboxone.  Although there is an abundant amount of information available on the internet - unfortunately not all of it is accurate. The choice whether to use medication to assist in opiate addiction rehab is a personal decision that is best made with accurate information and support from an informed addiction health care team.  So what are the main differences between vivitrol and suboxone?

Vivitrol vs Suboxone

Suboxone combines Buprenorphine (an Opiate) with Naloxone (an Opiate Blocker).  It is an orange colored film taken sublingually (under the tongue) daily and requires regular physician supervision.

Vivitrol is Naltrexone (an Opiate Blocker) in a suspended release injectable suspension.  It is given as an injection and the effects last approximately one month.  While both are effective in combating opiate (Heroin, Vicodin, & Oxycontin) cravings, there are some clear differences.

Suboxone is an opiate and an opiate blocker. As we all know opiates are addictive with unpleasant and even severe withdrawal symptoms.  Many who have used Suboxone report the withdrawal symptoms to be as intense, or worse than, the original opiate.  In order for it to be effective, it must be taken daily and to avoid experiencing withdrawal, must be continued indefinitely.

Vivitrol is purely an opiate blocker.  Once an individual is opiate free for approximately 7 to 10 days, Vivitrol can be given safely with no side effects.  It effectively combats opiate cravings, lasts for approximately one month and causes no further withdrawal symptoms.  Most importantly, if someone were to use an opiate while on Vivitrol, they would feel no effect. Knowing the option of getting high is not available allows a person in early recovery the time and emotional energy to focus on developing an effective recovery program.

For long-term recovery from opiate addiction, a strong and supportive 12-step recovery program offers the best chance for success. With what we know today, Vivitrol is the preferred medication in dealing with opiate addiction.  However, it is a personal choice best made with accurate information from an informed health care team.

Are you or a loved one suffering from Heroin, Vicodin, Oxycontin or other opiate addiction? Want more information about Vivtrol or Suboxone? Call New Hope Recovery Center at 773.883.3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

For more information on New Hope Recovery Center, Vivitrol and Suboxone check out: Vivitrol: New Hope’s Experience – An Important Aid for Opiate Addiction and What You Should Know About Vivitrol And Addiction Treatment