Vivitrol is a medication doctors prescribe for patients with certain kinds of substance use disorder (SUD). The most common form of Vivitrol is a liquid medication. A healthcare professional injects Vivitrol into the muscle.

Doctors may prescribe Vivitrol to patients who have an alcohol use disorder or opioid addiction. People must detox completely before starting Vivitrol treatment to avoid serious complications.

All medications, including Vivitrol, can cause side effects. It’s important to understand the potential side effects and risks of Vivitrol.

This article will detail many of the common side effects of Vivitrol. You will also learn about more severe side effects and how to find treatment for a substance use disorder.

Reach out to the First Step Behavioral Health specialists now to learn about our comprehensive treatment programs. You may also verify your insurance, ask questions, or schedule an intake assessment.

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a prescription medication. It is a long-acting form of naltrexone. Doctors may prescribe Vivitrol for people who have opioid use disorder or alcohol use disorder.

Vivitrol is available as a pill or an injectable liquid. It works by blocking specific opioid receptors in the brain. This can reduce opioid and alcohol cravings. Vivitrol blocks the effects of opioids, including euphoria and pain relief. This can make them less appealing and can reduce the risk of opioid overdose.

Taking Vivitrol as part of a comprehensive treatment program can help people avoid relapse.

What are the Common Side Effects of Vivitrol?

Like all medications, Vivitrol can cause side effects. The side effects people experience may depend on what type of SUD they have.

People who take Vivitrol for opioid use disorder may experience common side effects, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Common cold symptoms, such as stuffy or runny nose
  • Toothache
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Pain at the injection site

People using Vivitrol during treatment for alcohol use disorder may experience:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Injection site reactions

It is important to talk to your doctor about side effects after you start treatment with Vivitrol.

Mild Side Effects of the Vivitrol Shot

Many people experience mild side effects when using Vivitrol to treat alcohol dependence or opioid addiction. Some of the mild side effects of Vivitrol include:

  • Pain in the belly
  • Appetite loss
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Muscle cramping
  • Toothache
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Pain or stiffness in the joints
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Injection site reactions
  • Runny or stuffy nose and other cold symptoms

Most of the mild side effects of Vivitrol last only a short time. You may be able to manage them without trouble.

Report your side effects to your doctor or another healthcare professional. Keep taking Vivitrol until your doctor tells you to stop.

Severe Side Effects of Vivitrol

Medical professionals take care to help patients avoid bad reactions to medications. When giving Vivitrol, healthcare practitioners use a process called the naloxone challenge test. This test determines if it is safe to give a patient Vivitrol.

However, some patients may be more sensitive to the effects of Vivitrol. They may experience severe side effects while using Vivitrol. Some of the severe side effects of Vivitrol include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Pneumonia
  • Opioid withdrawal
  • Depression that can lead to suicidal thoughts
  • Liver problems
  • Severe reactions at the injection site

If someone takes Vivitrol when they still have opioids in their body, they may have severe symptoms of opioid withdrawal. People may need medical care during opioid withdrawal. Doctors typically do not prescribe Vivitrol until at least 7-14 days after your last dose of opioids. This can prevent serious complications.

If you have severe side effects, call your doctor. If you believe your symptoms are life-threatening, call 911 right away.

How Long Do Vivitrol Side Effects Last?

The severity and duration of Vivitrol’s side effects can vary. It is a long-acting drug, meaning that it remains in the body for a long time. People may experience side effects for up to a month after they receive Vivitrol.

Some side effects, like liver damage, may last for a long time. People may need treatment for medical conditions like liver damage so that it doesn’t become a long-term problem.

People may develop depression while taking Vivitrol. While symptoms of depression may go away when the medication is out of your body, it’s important to get help to manage your symptoms. Without treatment, people with depression may develop suicidal thoughts.

Research suggests that Vivitrol passes into breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider about taking Vivitrol while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Find Treatment Now

If you or someone you love struggles with opioid or alcohol abuse, you are not alone. Effective, evidence-based treatment is available at First Step Behavioral Health.

Contact our specialists now to learn about our supportive addiction treatment programs. You may also schedule an intake assessment.

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