Prescription drugs of any kind can come with side effects or bad reactions, but some may be more dangerous than others.

It is important to only take medications as directed and to always inform your doctor of everything you are taking, or the consequences could be serious. While Vivitrol can be a miracle for some people looking to get sober, it does come with warnings that need to be followed.

What Is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a brand name for the drug naltrexone, an injection used to help with both opiate and alcohol addiction treatment. The nonaddictive drug is injected monthly to help with opioid withdrawal and reduce opioid cravings as well as to help heavy drinkers reduce their alcohol intake.

How Does Vivitrol Work for Opioids?

Vivitrol helps to reduce opioid cravings in users by blocking opioid molecules from attaching to their receptors in the brain. Instead, Vivitrol will attach to these receptors themselves, but not release the same rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to feelings of happiness as well as the development of drug addiction.1 Vivitrol treatment is used for patients who have already completed detox and are trying to combat opioid craving. One dose lasts for about one month.

What Happens If You Take Opiates While on Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is an effective aid in fighting opiate cravings for many people, but users are strongly cautioned against using drugs while on Vivitrol that their doctor is not aware of, especially opioids. Taking Vivitrol with opiates in your system can be dangerous and life-threatening, so patients are only supposed to take an injection of this drug once detox is complete and their body is opioid-free.

The biggest danger of using opiates while on Vivitrol is the high risk of overdose. Overdoses from opiates are common, with an average of 128 people in the United States dying for this reason each day in 20182, but Vivitrol can increase these risks even more. Because Vivitrol is occupying the opiate receptors in the brain, it is also blocking the effects of these drugs. If someone starts using opiates on Vivitrol, they might try to take significantly high doses so that they can feel the effects, but this is dangerous. Just because they may not be able to feel the effects, doesn’t mean that they cannot still overdose. In their quest to get high, the individual may take a toxic amount of opiates and start displaying signs of overdose. This could lead to loss of consciousness, coma, and even death.

Along with people taking toxic amounts of opioids to try and get high, Vivitrol can also increase the chances of overdose as people become more sensitive to opioids. Vivitrol can decrease a person’s tolerance to opioids, but they may not be aware of this change. If they relapse, they may try taking the same amount of opioids that they did before they got opiate addiction treatment and end up overdosing because their body is unable to process such a high dose.

Because of these serious and life-threatening dangers of using opiates on Vivitrol, it is best to talk with your doctor to determine if this drug is the right treatment for you.

While Vivitrol can help reduce drug cravings, it is not as effective in preventing relapse in the long run by itself. Our drug rehab center in Massachusetts use Vivitrol as well as programming that is designed to help patients combat the many secondary issues related to addiction and prepare for life outside of treatment.

If you or someone you care about is addicted to opioids, you are not alone. Many people are struggling with the same issue, but there is hope.




At Banyan Massachusetts, we want you or your loved one to find lasting sobriety and be able to live a drug-free life. Reach out to us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more.


Sources:

  1. Vivitrol - HOW VIVITROL WORKS
  2. NIH - Opioid Overdose Crisis
 

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Alyssa
Alyssa
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.