What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is the trade name for Naltrexone, which is an opioid receptor antagonist and used for the management of alcohol and drug dependencies as well as opioid dependencies. The generic form of the drug is marketed as a hydrochloride salt named Revia or Depade using the chemical Naltrexone Hydrochloride. The drug also has a second cousin named Relistor, which uses the chemical Methylnaltrexone Bromide to manage and fight constipation caused by opioid use, or opioid abuse.

Most people tend to confuse Naltrexone with Naloxone. These are both used for, basically, the same thing, however, Naloxone is used in cases of, once-off emergency, overdose situations, while Naltrexone is used as a long-term, continual, dependency control. If Naltrexone is mistakenly used in the place of Naloxone, it will not hold any side-effects, but it will not help the person overdosing as there is not enough opioid antagonism released. However, using Naloxone in place of Naltrexone, as a longer term control, will throw the patient into terrible withdrawal symptoms, even worse than if they were withdrawing naturally.

Talk to your Doctor

While Vivitrol is used to hinder the effects of drugs and alcohol it is not wise to take any drugs or alcohol when you are using it. In essence, Vivitrol is used to wean addicts off of a substance by blocking the effects of chemicals on the body. Taking any drugs or alcohol while you are taking Vivtrol holds dangerous effects. Taking a large amount of alcohol or other drugs to counter the effects of Vivitrol holds the most danger with reports of patients falling into deep comas or even dying. It is important that you speak to your doctor even if you are given prescription drugs or over the counter medicine for diarrhoea, cold, pain or even a cough, as these medicines may contain narcotics or alcohol.

If you are given Vivitrol it is recommended that you do not operate heavy machinery, drive a car or partake in any activity that requires you to be of sound or stable mind. Also, you may notice redness, swelling, bruising a hard lump or some pain in the area you have received the injection. If this occurs, talk to your doctor, especially if any of the symptoms don't subside in 2 weeks.

Vivitrol is a long term medication, that holds dangerous contraindications if mixed with some substances, which is why you need to wear a medic-alert bracelet stating that you are on Vivitrol in case of an emergency.

Before you take Vivitrol

Do not take Vivitrol if you are allergic to Naltrexone or if you:

  • Are abusing Narcotics
  • Have used drugs or alcohol in the last 7 days
  • You have withdrawal symptoms from past drug or alcohol abuse

Also, if you are talking to your doctor about taking Vivitrol, be sure to inform them if you have / are:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • A bleeding disorder
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnant

It is not known if Vivitrol has any ill-effects for unborn babies or if the medication passes to the breast milk of nursing mothers.

How to take Vivitrol

If not used in the correct manner, Vivitrol can be very dangerous; it is a drug after all. It is administered once a month as an injection into a main muscle by a doctor or clinic nurse. If you miss an injection appointment, make a new one as soon as possible and report any redness, pain or tenderness to your doctor. If you take too much Vivitrol you may notice nausea, dizziness or stomach pain, report to your doctor straight away.

It is important to stay away from alcohol or narcotics if you are already taking Vivitrol. A dosage lasts for an entire month, which means that taking any substance within a month of taking the drug is very dangerous and hazardous to your health. On the other hand, taking Vivitrol for long periods is contra-indicated to liver damage. If you have a history of liver damage it is important to report this to your doctor before taking Vivitrol. Similarly, you should also let your doctor know if you are a carrier of hepatitis, as you may need to take a smaller dose of the drug if you are, otherwise you may suffer grave effects.