What Are the Side Effects of the Vivitrol Shot?

Addiction is a serious and life-threatening disease, and when it comes down to the wire, treating addiction in any effective way is far better than failing to treat it at all. In most cases, it is recommended that individuals who are suffering at the hands of a mild, moderate, or severe substance abuse disorder commit to a multi-phased continuum of clinical care. The first phase of this continuum is always medically monitored detox, where the individual undergoes drug or alcohol withdrawal in a safe and closely monitored facility.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Abuse

Once he or she is physically stabilized, he or she will transfer to the next appropriate level of clinical care. In some cases, this will be inpatient or residential treatment. In other cases (depending on the severity of the addictive disorder), this will be intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment. Aftercare is the final stage, which typically consists of a continuation of clinical care coupled with an extended stay at a sober living facility or halfway house.

However, in some cases, going through this entire treatment process is not enough, and an individual requires immediate care to prevent overdose-related death. In very extreme cases of addiction, there might not be enough time to stage a professional intervention or actively convince a loved one to attend treatment. In some cases, Medication-Assisted Treatment is the best course of action.

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What is Vivitrol? Is Vivitrol Effective?

Vivitrol is a prescription medication used for the treatment of alcoholism and opioid/opiate addiction. Some treatment centers will utilize Vivitrol as part of a comprehensive addiction recovery program – but generally speaking, it will only be used as a short-term solution, and once an individual transitions from inpatient treatment to aftercare, he or she will be required to utilize the coping skills that were developed in treatment and not rely solely on a medication like Vivitrol. So what is a Vivitrol shot, and how does the medication work?

Vivitrol is the brand name for the drug naloxone, which works by effectively blocking the feelings of pleasure and euphoria that an individual experiences when ingesting any central nervous system depressant. When an individual drinks alcohol or takes a prescription painkiller or an illicit drug like heroin, the drugs bind to opioid receptors within the brain, inducing feelings of euphoria. Vivitrol binds to these receptors instead, so that if an individual drinks or takes an opioid drug, he or she essentially feels nothing. The alcohol or drug might even make the individual feel ill.

Vivitrol Shot Side Effects

Those who take the Vivitrol shot are liable to experience a wide range of mild side effects. It is important to note that while these side effects can be uncomfortable and slightly disruptive, they are nowhere near as disruptive as active addiction. Those who are taking the medication will be given the intramuscular injection once a month (or more, depending on professional medical instruction). Within the first 24 hours of the shot being administered, these side effects will be more severe.

They include headache, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, physical weakness, dizziness and drowsiness, anxiety and nervousness, mood swings, irritability, restlessness, and agitation. It is also somewhat common for individuals to experience brief swelling or pain at the site of the injection, but this also typically resolves within the first 24 hours.

More Information on the Vivitrol Injection

At Recreate Life Counseling, we believe in the clinical benefits of Vivitrol – but we also believe that any opioid antagonist like naloxone is not a stand-alone solution for alcoholism or opioid addiction. At Recreate Life Counseling, we do not shy away from Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) when our clinical and medical team deems it necessary.

We always couple MAT with intensive therapeutic intervention and a wide range of holistic methodologies. We believe in providing comprehensive, integrated care to each one of our clients. If you have more questions about our recovery program or the clinical benefits of medications like Vivitrol, feel free to give us a call today.