Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Vivitrol

(Naltrexone)

  • Pill
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Treats alcohol dependence and prevents relapse of addiction to opioids.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

Vivitrol (Naltrexone) is good for treating opioid and alcohol dependence. It needs to be used as directed and can't be used with alcohol or opioid pain medications.

  • Available in two different forms: a tablet you take every day and as a shot your doctor gives you once a month.
  • Good for people who have a mild opioid use disorder and who are highly motivated, or who can be supervised as they take their medication.
  • Can be used with behavior modification therapy to treat opioid or alcohol use disorders.
  • Higher success rates are seen in people who use this under supervision.
  • The tablet is available as a generic.
  • People who try to take opioids after taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone) are at risk for opioid overdose and death since it takes a large amount of opioids to overcome the effects of Vivitrol (Naltrexone).
  • You won't be able to use any medications with opioids for pain relief since Vivitrol (Naltrexone) prevents them from working.
  • The shot is only available as brand name only, so it can be expensive.
  • Not a good choice if you have liver problems, depression, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Side effects for Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

From clinical trials of naltrexone / Alcohol dependence ( 570)

  • NauseaNausea10% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo
  • HeadacheHeadache7% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo
  • DizzinessDizziness4% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo
  • NervousnessNervousness4% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo
  • FatigueFatigue4% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo
  • Sleep difficultySleep difficulty3% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo
  • VomitingVomiting3% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo
  • AnxietyAnxiety2% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo
  • DrowsinessDrowsiness2% for Naltrexone vs.0% for placebo

What to expect when you take Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • Before starting Vivitrol (Naltrexone), you should be off all opioid medications (including buprenorphine and methadone) for at least 7 to 10 days, otherwise you'll get withdrawal symptoms.
  • You'll need to use non-opioid pain medications (if necessary) while on Vivitrol (Naltrexone).
  • Wear a medical alert identification if you're taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone) since you would need to be given non-opioid medications in case of an emergency.
  • If you're taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone) for alcohol dependence, it'll make you not want to drink alcohol, but it won't stop the effects of alcohol if you do drink.
  • Vivitrol (Naltrexone) can make you feel dizzy the first few times you take it, so avoid doing anything requiring concentration until you know how your body reacts to it.

Risks and Warnings for Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Prior use of opioid medications
    • Use of Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

    After opioid detoxification, people are likely to have a reduced tolerance to opioids. If people who have been treated with Vivitrol (Naltrexone) need to use opioid pain medications in the future, they'll need lower doses of opioids than they used before they started taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone). If you give them the opioid dose they used to get, it could result in a potentially life-threatening overdose. People should be alerted that they'll be more sensitive to opioids in the future.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • Can be used with behavior modification therapy to treat opioid or alcohol use disorders.
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • If you're taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone) for alcohol dependence, it'll make you not want to drink alcohol, but it won't stop the effects of alcohol if you do drink.
Weight gain or loss
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • People taking this medication have suffered sudden liver damage (acute hepatitis), so it's important to have liver function blood work done anytime your doctor feels you may have liver injury. Watch out for becoming overly tired, losing an unusual amount of weight, having severe pain on the right side of your abdomen, or having dark urine. Be sure to talk to a doctor if this occurs.
  • Dramatic weight loss of 15 pounds in two months.
    Age: 30
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Alcohol dependence (maintenance of abstinence)