How Does Vivitrol Work: Vivitrol in Opioid & Alcohol Addiction Treatment

It is common for treatment programs to offer clients medication-assisted treatment (often referred to as MAT). MAT allows patients to take medication during their treatment which is meant to aid them in their recovery, in addition to counseling and behavioral therapies. While MAT is commonly used to help treat drug or alcohol addictions and prevent opioid overdoses, the practice is often considered controversial among the treatment community. One particular medication is less controversial and is actually widely accepted among the treatment community. That medication is Vivitrol. Here we will explain what exactly Vivitrol is and how it can help you or a loved one who is attending treatment services.

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a medication meant to help prevent opioid relapse after detox and treat alcohol dependence among those in treatment. Administered once a month in the form of a shot, Vivitrol is non-addictive in nature and is considered a ‘block’ or ‘antagonist’ drug. ‘Antagonist’ medications have an effect on the brain which ‘blocks’ receptors in the brain. This block results in the patient being unable to feel the effects of opioids, including heroin and other pain medications. Those who are on Vivitrol are unable to feel the effects of opioids or alcohol even if the substances are consumed.

The Vivitrol injection, when performed, does not cause the release of dopamine in the body. Once the ‘blocker’ medication reaches the opioid receptors in the brain, opioid molecules are unable to trigger those receptors in the brain for approximately one month.

Before treatment with Vivitrol can begin, clients must be completely opioid-free. Being opioid-free includes being free of the various medications used to treat opioid dependence such as buprenorphine or methadone. Once clients have been deemed opioid-free for a period of 7 to 14 days, meant to ensure the avoidance of sudden opioid withdrawal, they are able to begin treatment with Vivitrol. Clients must also stop drinking prior to taking this medication.

Benefits of Vivitrol

Following the detoxification process, Vivitrol is able to help prevent relapse among our clients. We strongly encourage all of our clients to receive Vivitrol treatment, as it allows them to focus on the other aspects of the treatment like therapy and counseling programs instead of their relapse risk. Vivitrol is the only type of medication-assisted treatment that we offer here at Rally Point. It is administered to patients by our trained, experienced registered nurses, and costs for the treatment are most commonly covered by insurance programs.

Patients need to understand the effects of Vivitrol and how it works before the medication is taken. When taking Vivitrol, it is important to note that the blocking effect of the medication will slowly decrease and then stop completely before the next dose is due. The required amount of time for the medication to wear off is about a month, which is why Vivitrol is administered on a monthly basis. For those that have used opioids in the past, it is important to note that if you take the same amount of an opioid that you took previous to your Vivitrol treatment, your chance of overdose and even death increases significantly. Clients should note that there are a number of times within the span of receiving Vivitrol treatment where sensitivity to the effects of opioids is at an increased level:

  • After clients have gone through the detox process, which eliminates the presence of drugs from the system, their sensitivity is increased.
  • After the treatment process with Vivitrol has begun, the medication will wear off throughout the month. This means that when the next dose of Vivitrol is needed, the body is no longer feeling the ‘block’ effects of the drug, increasing sensitivity and risk for overdose.
  • If a dose of Vivitrol is missed, the receptors no longer have a ‘block’ over them, making them sensitive to opioids or alcohol.
  • When Vivitrol treatment is stopped completely, the body’s sensitivity to opioids can be more easily affected.

The chances of overdose and death are reduced, regardless of Vivitrol use, within a treatment program, like the ones offered here at Rally Point. Under the supervision of medical professionals and counselors, clients are kept safe and supported throughout their stay.

Alcohol and Drug Addiction Program in West Palm Beach

If you have suffered from alcohol or other substance use disorders and require drug recovery support or rehabilitation services, we are here for you. Our drug and alcohol treatment center are located in West Palm Beach, and we are proud to offer our clients a number of different programs based on their individual desires and requirements. Our treatment is care-centered, and we work hard to create a loving, family-like support group with our clients. The benefits of attending addiction treatment at one of our centers include:

  • Treatment free from the distractions and possible triggers of outside life. This type of treatment helps decrease the likelihood of a relapse occurring.
  • Personalized attention from our staff of trained therapists, nurses, and counselors.
  • Personal privacy so clients are able to focus on treatment.
  • An environment where peer and staff-support make our clients less likely to lose faith in their treatment program.
  • Services that are specially designed to treat co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Here at Rally Point West Palm Beach, we focus on the basics of long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction through our personalized treatment programs and aftercare options. And because of our location in beautiful South Florida, we are able to incorporate a number of different outdoor and nature therapies into our treatment programs. These nature activities include fishing, outdoor yoga and meditation, painting and other experiential therapies. These therapies work to not only help our clients relax but also to open up about their addiction and the issues they face in a safe environment. If you or a loved one is facing drug or alcohol addiction, call us today to inquire about our programs and how they can work for you.

About The Author

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The editorial staff at Rally Point works tirelessly to provide the most accurate and non-biased educational content to give our audience the best chance at achieving long-term success in recovery. This is accomplished by only employing highly trained individuals in the alcohol and drug addiction treatment industry. With hundreds of years of combined experience, the editorial staff at Rally Point are trained, qualified and are experts in the field of drug and alcohol addiction treatment.


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