Vivitrol is an extended-release formulation of naltrexone.

Naltrexone is not an opiate, but it has the ability to occupy opiate receptor sites in the brain.  This blocks the effects of opiates and opioids like heroin or Oxycontin.

Naltrexone is non-narcotic and does not result in physical dependence.

Other formulations of naltrexone are already used to treat addiction to opiates.  But Vivitrol is different in that Vivitrol is a once-monthly treatment.  Monthly dosing has the potential to greatly improve treatment success for people living with opiate addiction.

Formulations of naltrexone that require daily dosing are often not effective because many patients simply skip doses or stop taking the medication as part of a relapse.  Since a single dose of Vivitrol is effective for one month, patients are less likely to be able to circumvent the treatment in a weak moment.

Vivitrol is a form of medication-assisted treatment for opiate dependence.  But Vivitrol is not an opiate replacement therapy.  Opiate replacement therapies are treatments that address problematic use of fast-acting opiates like heroin by prescribing therapeutic doses of longer-acting, less euphoric opiates like methadone or Suboxone under medical supervision.

Vivitrol patients must not have used opiates within 7-10 days of taking Vivitrol.  In other words, an opiate-dependent person must detox from opiates before starting treatment with Vivitrol.  Detox is a very uncomfortable process for most people.  The need to detox before starting treatment with Vivitrol is a barrier to treatment for some patients.

Vivitrol is administered by injecting the medication into muscle.

Patients who try to overcome the blockade effect of Vivitrol by taking large amounts of opiates in an attempt to feel the euphoric effects of opiates may be at increased risk of fatal drug overdose.

Vivitrol is FDA approved for the treatment of opiate dependence (2010) and alcohol dependence (2006).

Learn more about Vivitrol treatment for addiction to heroin or other opiates:

Vivitrol: Could An Injection Before Release Prevent Prisoners From Returning?

Getting out of prison is both a relief and a challenge for most people.  The adjustment isn’t always easy, especially for people who are addicted. It’s a high-risk time for relapse and fatal drug overdose.  And a high-risk time for relapse to criminal behavior and re-incarceration. Researchers are injecting inmates who were addicted to heroin or prescription pain killers before ... Read More

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Recovery Essay Contest Winners Talk About Methadone, Naltrexone and Suboxone

Essay contest winners described their addiction recovery in their own words, and explained how medications like  methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone and Probuphine) and naltrexone (Vivitrol) helped them get sober. Over 125 people from the US and the UK entered the essay contest. The winners are: First Prize:  Darlene DeMore of (Pennsylvania, USA) Darlene wrote about her methadone treatment and 14 years of recovery. When ... Read More

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Vivitrol: Half Heroin-Free for Full Year of Treatment Study

New research suggests that Vivitrol is an effective long-term treatment for addiction to heroin or prescription pain killers. Half of all Vivitrol patients in a recent drug treatment study remained opiate-free for the entire one-year study. Vivitrol is a medication used to treat addiction to heroin and prescription pain killers.  The non-narcotic medication blocks the effects of heroin or other opiates. ... Read More

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Vivitrol On FDA Fast Track to Treat Heroin Addiction

Update:  Vivitrol was approved by the FDA for the treatment of opiate dependence on October 12, 2010. Vivitrol is on the fast track for approval in the U.S. as a treatment for addiction to heroin, OxyContin and other prescription pain killers.  Here are some facts about Vivitrol: Vivitrol is an extended release formula of the drug naltrexone Vivitrol was approved for ... Read More

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