What Is Vivitrol And The Mechanism Of Action Of Naltrexone

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are an important tool for those who are addicted to opioids.

12/21/20222 min read

What Exactly Is Vivitrol?

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are an important tool for those who are addicted to opioids. This pharmaceutical component's efficacy has been demonstrated in numerous studies.

To date, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three drugs to treat opioid use disorder (OUD): methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. One or more of these three drugs are included in all brand-name MOUD prescriptions. Bunavail, Belbuca, Subutex, Suboxone, Naltrexone (Vivitrol), Sublocade, and ZubSolv are some of the most well-known brand names. Each drug comes with its own set of qualities and adverse effects. This page is dedicated to the Vivitrol brand name.

Naltrexone is sold under the brand name Vivitrol. The FDA has approved the use of naltrexone for the treatment of both AUD and OUD. Naltrexone is available in the form of a tablet and an injection. The injection is specifically developed to treat OUD and prevent people from becoming addicted to opioids.

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is an intramuscular injection with a prolonged release. Every four weeks, a healthcare provider administers the injection into the buttocks muscle. Intravenously (into a vein) or subcutaneously administered naltrexone (Vivitrol) is not recommended (beneath the skin).

Naltrexone has a clear role to play in the treatment of people with alcoholism (AUD). The naltrexone injection has been shown to assist people with AUD in reducing their alcohol use.

What is Vivitrol's Mechanism of Action?

Naltrexone is one of three FDA-approved drugs for treating OUD, as previously stated. Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is not an opioid agonist like buprenorphine or methadone. Naltrexone, in reality, is an opioid antagonist, which means it binds to and blocks opioid receptors.

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) blocks opioids like heroin and fentanyl from exerting euphoric and/or sedative effects by attaching to opioid receptors. Naltrexone (Vivitrol) lowers opiate and alcohol cravings as a result. There is no risk of dependence or addiction because naltrexone (Vivitrol) is an opioid antagonist.

When a person quits using the drug, there is also no risk of withdrawal. However, there are some negative effects and problems associated with naltrexone (Vivitrol) that people should be aware of and discuss with their healthcare physician.

Individuals taking naltrexone (Vivitrol) are more susceptible to opioid overdose if they resume opiate use. This is because of two factors: People try to compensate for the blocking effects of naltrexone (Vivitrol) by increasing their opioid intake. This is exceedingly risky and can lead to major damage, coma, or death.

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) has a blocking effect that lasts around four weeks. After a month of blocked opioid receptors, tolerance to opioids tends to decrease. Because of their lower opioid tolerance, people may be at risk of overdosing if they consume opioids in the same amounts they did before starting naltrexone (Vivitrol).

It's also crucial to know when to start taking naltrexone (Vivitrol). Before initiating naltrexone (Vivitrol) treatment, an individual must be opioid-free for at least 7 to 10 days. If naltrexone (Vivitrol) is given too soon after the previous opioid ingestion, it might cause severe opioid withdrawal. "Acute abstinence syndrome" or "precipitated withdrawal" are terms used to describe this type of abrupt opiate withdrawal.

A client should have no opioids in their system, including prescribed MOUDs containing buprenorphine or methadone, to avoid rapid opioid withdrawal.