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Naltrexone/Vivitrol

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is used along with counseling and social support to help people who have stopped using alcohol and/or opiates (such as pain killers and heroin) to continue to avoid using. Naltrexone is in a class of medications called opiate antagonists. It works by blocking the effects of opioid medications and opioid street drugs (you can’t get “high” while taking it) and it also decreases the cravings for alcohol.

Naltrexone is only helpful when it is used as part of an addiction treatment program. It is important that you attend all counseling sessions, support group meetings, education programs, or other treatments recommended by your doctor.

Naltrexone will help you avoid using drugs and alcohol, but it will not prevent or relieve the withdrawal symptoms that may occur when you stop using these substances. Instead, Naltrexone may cause or worsen withdrawal symptoms. You should not take Naltrexone if you have recently stopped using opioid medications or opioid street drugs and are now experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone will help you avoid drugs and alcohol only as long as you are taking it. Continue to take Naltrexone even if you feel well. Do not stop taking naltrexone without talking to your doctor.

What is Vivitrol® Injection?

VIVITROL is a prescription injectable medicine used once per month:

  • to treat alcohol dependence
  • to prevent relapse to opioid dependence, after opioid detoxification
  • You should stop drinking before starting VIVITROL.
  • If you take opioids or opioid-containing medicine, such as prescription pain medicines, you must stop these opioids or medicines before starting VIVITROL.
  • To be effective, treatment with VIVITROL must be used with other alcoholism or drug recovery programs.

Naltrexone injection (VIVITROL®) is administered once per month and, is used along with counseling and social support to help people who have stopped drinking large amounts of alcohol to avoid drinking again. Naltrexone injection is also used along with counseling and social support to help people who have stopped abusing opiate medications or street drugs to avoid abusing the medications or street drugs again. Naltrexone injection should not be used to treat people who are still drinking alcohol, people who are still using opiates or street drugs, or people who have used opiates within the past 10 days. Naltrexone is in a class of medications called opiate antagonists. It works by blocking activity in the limbic system, a part of the brain that is involved in alcohol and opiate dependence.

Treatment with VIVITROL® should be part of a comprehensive management program that includes psychosocial support. Opioid-dependent patients, including those being treated for alcohol dependence, must be opioid-free at the time of initial VIVITROL administration. VIVITROL is indicated for the treatment of alcohol dependence in patients who are able to abstain from alcohol in an outpatient setting prior to initiation of treatment with VIVITROL. Patients should not be actively drinking at the time of initial VIVITROL administration. VIVITROL is also indicated for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence, following opioid detoxification.