Opiate Naltrexone


Within 15 minutes of taking Vivitrol, I felt relief. I realized the light at the end of the tunnel was not a freight train.

-ARCA Client

ARCA is licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Some FAQs about Vivitrol:

Q: What is Vivitrol?

A: Naltrexone is a medication that blocks the effects of drugs known as opioids (a class that includes morphine, heroin, and codeine). It competes with these drugs for space on opioid receptors in the brain. It was originally used to treat dependence on opioid drugs but has also been approved by the FDA as treatment for alcohol dependence. In clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of Vivitrol, patients who received Vivitrol were twice as successful in remaining abstinent and in avoiding relapse as patients who received placebo-an inactive pill.

Q: Why does Vivitrol help for opiate dependence?

A: While the precise mechanism of action for Vivitrol is unknown, medical researchers believe that it blocks the ability of opiates to stimulate the release of endorphins, while at the same time jump starting the normal production and release of endorphins, thus effectively suppressing the craving or thought process to use.

Q: If I take Vivitrol, does it mean that I don’t need other treatment for opiate dependence?

A: No, Vivitrol is only one component of a program of treatment for opiate dependence. A study from the University of South Carolina released in August of 2005, states that treatment success is increased significantly when Vivitrol is combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Q: How long does Vivitrol take to work?

A: Vivitrol is effective within one half hour of administration.

Q: Are there some people who should not take Vivitrol?

A: Vivitrol should not be used by pregnant women, as studies have never been undertaken to demonstrate the safety of Vivitrol in this situation. Also, people who are dependent on opioid drugs, like heroin or morphine, must stop their drug use at least 7 days prior to starting Vivitrol.

Q: What does it feel like to be on Vivitrol?

A: Patients usually report that they are largely unaware of being on Vivitrol. It is not addicting, either emotionally or physically, and can be interrupted without adverse effects. While it does reduce opiate craving, it does not interfere with the experience of other types of pleasure.

Q: What are the side effects of Vivitrol?

A: Vivitrol is generally well tolerated and most people experience no side effects.

Q: Can I take other medications with Vivitrol?

A:The major active effect of Vivitrol is on opioid drugs, which is one class of drugs used primarily to treat pain but is also found in some prescription cough preparations. Naltrexone will block the effects of all opiate or narcotic medications. There are many non-narcotic pain relievers that can be used effectively while you are on Vivitrol. Vivitrol is likely to have little impact on other medications patients commonly use such as antibiotics, non-opioid analgesics (e.g., aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen), and those commonly prescribed for allergies. You should inform your physician of whatever medication you are currently taking so that possible interactions can be evaluated.

Q: Will I get sick if I use while on Vivitrol and will I get sick if I stop Vivitrol suddenly?

A: You will not get sick while on Vivitrol. If you use an opiate, it blocks the abilty to stimulate the release of endorphins. You will not feel anything. You cannot attempt to override the Vivitrol. You will still overdose and die.

Q: What should I do if I need an operation or pain medication?

A: You should carry a card explaining that you are on Vivitrol and also instructs physicians on pain management. Many pain medications that are not opioids are available for use.

Q: How long should I stay on Vivitrol?

A: It is generally recommended that an opiate dependent individual emain on Vivitrol for 13 months. At that time the patient and clinical staff should evaluate the need for further treatment with Vivitrol. This evaluation takes into account how much the patient has improved and concerns about relapse.

Freedom From Opiate Addiction

The Latest in Medically Assisted Treatment

On April 13, 2006, the United States Food & Drug Administration approved naltrexone as an extended release injection. The brand name for the extended release naltrexone is Vivitrol(r). Vivitrol is administered once-monthly, in a single 380 mg intramuscular gluteal injection. Assisted Recovery has utilized Vivitrol as an important option since its approval. Our experience has shown that Vivitrol substantially enhances positive treatment outcomes. Vivtrol is manufactured by Alkermes, Inc. of Cambridge, MA.

Vivitrol, which is a long-acting form of naltrexone, is effective and generally well tolerated for the treatment of opiate dependence. In clinical trials, when used in combination with psychosocial support, Vivitrol dramatically improved succesful treatment outcomes.

On July 20, 2013 the United States Food & Drug Administration removed the BLACK BOX warning regarding the impact of Vivitrol on the liver. As an injection, Vivitrol bypasses the liver.

Vivitrol Blocks the Ability of ANY Opiate to Produce Euphoria and Pleasure

Vivitrol works by using a proprietary drug delivery technology which allows the naltrexone to be gradually released into the body at a controlled rate over a one-month time period, providing Assisted Recovery clients with convenient monthly dosing, which alleviates the need to make daily medication decisions.

As with all the anti-craving medications utilized by Assisted Recovery, Vivitrol is non-addicting, either physically or emotionally, and when discontinued does not cause an adverse reaction. Vivitrol is non-aversive, meaning clients do not become ill as a result of drinking alcohol while on Vivitrol. While very effective, it must be remembered that Vivitrol is a tool rather than a cure. Vivitrol should be utilized in combination with the Assisted Recovery cognitive behavioral therapy counseling program.

Assisted Recovery Will Supervise the Administration of Vivitrol

Another benefit of choosing Vivitrol is that clients do not have to remember to take a daily pill. This is especially important to clients when first starting treatment, as they often lack the necessary clarity to consistently follow a prescription regimen. For this reason, Assisted Recovery highly recommends that all our clients make Vivitrol a part of their treatment solution.

Co-Pay and Deductible Assistance

Assisted Recovery will process and expedite all orders for Vivitrol. Virtually all commercial insurance will cover the cost of Vivitrol. Alkermes, the manufacturer of Vivitrol will pay up to $500 per moth to cover any co-pays or deductibles. The net effect is that there will probably not be any out of pocket expense for clients with commercial insurance. Vivitrol is not covered by most governement issued insurance. For individuals without insurance, ARCA will provide Vivitrol at our cost.

Don’t see a program that looks “exactly right” for you?
We’ll customize an individual Treatment Plan to meet your needs.

Contact Assisted Recovery today at
(602) 264-7897