Questions & Answers

Here is a list of common questions and answers regarding VIVITROL treatment. If you need more support, please visit our request a representative page.

Vivitrol Basics


VIVITROL is a once-monthly, non-addictive medication approved by the FDA that works with counseling to treat opioid and alcohol dependence. VIVITROL is not associated with diversion.1,2

VIVITROL is indicated for treatment of alcohol dependence in patients who are able to abstain from alcohol in an outpatient setting prior to initiation of treatment with VIVITROL. Patients should not be actively drinking at the time of initial VIVITROL administration. VIVITROL also is indicated for prevention of relapse to opioid dependence, following opioid detoxification. VIVITROL should be part of a comprehensive management program that includes psychosocial support.1

What kind of treatment is VIVITROL?

VIVITROL is an opioid antagonist, meaning it does not activate the opioid receptors, so there is no excessive stimulation of the dopamine reward system in the brain.1

How long has VIVITROL been on the market?

VIVITROL was initially approved by the FDA to treat alcohol dependence in 2006 and then approved to treat opioid dependence in 2010.3,4

How Vivitrol Works

How does VIVITROL treat opioid dependence?

Following an initial detox period of 7–10 days, a single injection of VIVITROL blocks opioid receptors in the brain for a month at a time. VIVITROL binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and is not associated with tolerance or dependence. Coupled with behavioral changes associated with counseling, VIVITROL prevents relapse to opioid dependence.1

Why is opioid detox necessary before treatment?

To prevent withdrawal or exacerbation of a pre-existing subclinical withdrawal syndrome, opioid-dependent patients, including those being treated for alcohol dependence, should be opioid-free (including tramadol) before starting VIVITROL treatment. An opioid-free interval of a minimum of 7–10 days is recommended for patients previously dependent on short-acting opioids.1

Can VIVITROL cause a false positive on a urine drug-screening test?

VIVITROL may be cross-reactive with certain immunoassay methods for the detection of drugs of abuse (specifically opioids) in urine. For further information, reference to specific immunoassay instructions is recommended.1

Why is counseling a necessary part of a VIVITROL treatment program?

Opioid and alcohol addiction is more than a physical dependence on drugs. Psychological factors and social interactions are often powerful stimuli for opioid and alcohol relapse. Counseling can help patients recover by addressing the challenges and consequences of addiction.5 Treatment plans may be tailored to a person's addiction and individual needs.6


Where can I find information on grants that may be able to help fund an opioid or alcohol dependence treatment program?

Please review information on the Program Funding Sources Page.

Where to find VIVITROL prescribers

Where can I find providers who can prescribe VIVITROL?

Please visit the Find a Prescriber section of the website.


Explore support initiatives related to treating opioid and alcohol dependence.

See potential funding sources


VIVITROL is an opioid antagonist.1 Learn more about offering VIVITROL and counseling as part of your program.

Find out how VIVITROL works


Learn more about offering VIVITROL and counseling as part of your program.

Is VIVITROL right for the individuals in your

VIVITROL is not right for everyone. There are significant risks from VIVITROL treatment, including but not limited to, risk of opioid overdose, injection site reaction and sudden opioid withdrawal. See Important Safety Information below.


  1. VIVITROL [prescribing information]. Waltham, MA: Alkermes, Inc; rev July 2020.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Naltrexone. Revised September 2016. Accessed August 16, 2017.
  3. US Food and Drug Administration. VIVITROL approval letter for alcohol dependence. April 2006. Accessed August 8, 2017.
  4. US Food and Drug Administration. VIVITROL approval letter for opioid dependence. October 2010. Accessed August 8, 2017.
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 63, Full Document. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 18-5063FULLDOC. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2018.
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of drug addiction treatment: a research-based guide. NIH publication 12-4180. December 2012. Accessed April 10, 2019.