How VIVITROL® works to treat opioid dependence after detox

The active ingredient in VIVITROL® (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension) — naltrexone — works as a “blocker.” It attaches to certain opioid receptors in your brain and blocks the pleasurable feelings associated with taking opioids. Even though VIVITROL may block the intense high from opioids, it does not prevent good feelings that come from other naturally pleasurable activities.


After you get a dose of VIVITROL, its blocking effect slowly decreases and completely goes away over time. It is important to know that you should not try to overcome the VIVITROL blockade by taking opioids. Using opioids in the amounts you used before starting VIVITROL treatment, or even lower amounts, could lead to overdose or death.

This video will help you understand how opioids affect your brain, how VIVITROL may help, and important safety information you should be aware of before starting treatment.

With counseling, VIVITROL® may help with recovery from alcohol dependence

You never expected to become addicted to alcohol, and recovery can be hard. But now there is an abstinence-based medication that may help. In a study of alcohol-dependent patients participating in counseling plus VIVITROL, patients had:

Significantly fewer heavy drinking days*

* Heavy drinking was defined as a self-report of 5 or more standard drinks consumed on a given day for male patients and 4 or more drinks for female patients.
A small group of alcohol-dependent patients who completely stopped drinking one week prior to their first dose of VIVITROL (with counseling) had:

Significantly fewer drinking days

More success maintaining complete abstinence

Important Safety Information Regarding Vivitrol®


VIVITROL is a prescription injectable medicine used to:

  • Treat alcohol dependence. You should stop drinking before starting VIVITROL.
  • Prevent relapse to opioid dependence after opioid detox. You must stop taking opioids or other opioid-containing medications before starting VIVITROL.

VIVITROL must be used with other alcohol or drug recovery programs such as counseling.

VIVITROL may not work for everyone and has not been studied in children.