Tuesday March 28th 2017

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How long does Vivitrol stay in your system?

Vivitrol is taken once a month by injection into a muscle in the buttock. It works to help control cravings by for alcohol or drugs keeping naltrexone at a stable level in the system.  But, how long does it really stay in the body? How is it metabolized? And are there any side effects to using this medication, including Vivitrol’s addictive potential?

We answer these and other questions here. Then, we invite your questions at the end. In fact, if you’d like to add or ask something, feel free to use the comments section to contact us, and we’ll do our best to provide a personal and prompt response.

How do you take Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is an extended-release formulation of naltrexone administered by intramuscular injection.  The medication is injected by a doctor or a nurse into patients once a month, and the dose is adjusted according to a person’s medical condition and response to treatment. For best results, patients should take regular monthly shots while continuously working on their recovery and treatment progress.

Before a person is given a prescription for Vivitrol, doctors should check for recent drinking or opiate drug use. Any opiate drugs (illicit or prescription) should not be used 10-14 days before starting Vivitrol. Likewise, alcohol should not be used at least a week before taking the first Vivitrol.

Main Vivitrol uses

The Vivitrol shot is used in combination with appropriate treatments such as behavioral or psychotherapy as a part of a holistic addiction treatment program. As a therapy, it can have many benefits for the recovering alcoholic or addict. More specifically, Vivitrol can:

  • allow patients to concentrate on the treatment process and engage in pleasurable activities
  • block endorphins form attaching to brain cells
  • help patients work on underlying issues that exacerbated drinking
  • lower the risk of relapse in recovering patients
  • obstruct the pleasure and reward alcohol or opiate drugs cause
  • prevent the excessive release of dopamine in the brain
  • reduce cravings and desire for alcohol or opiates

Peak levels and half life of Vivitrol

After a Vivitrol injection is administered, a transient initial peak occurs about 2 hours after, and is followed by a second peak which occurs approximately 2-3 days after injection. Concentrations of naltrexone begin to slowly decline about 2 weeks after dosing, and levels of the medication stay measurable for a month or more. The elimination half life of naltrexone from Vivitrol ranges between 5 to 10 days.

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Vivitrol drug testing: How long does Vivitrol stay in the body?

Vivitrol can be detected in the body for up to a month after last dose. However, it is not a drug that doctors and/or employers test for. In fact, Vivitrol has no euphoric properties and is not a drug of abuse for patients. Vivitrol does not produce a high, nor does it create dependence or addiction in patients.

However, before starting Vivitrol therapy, patients need to be tested for recent alcohol or opioid drug use, because of the risk of possible drug interactions and adverse effects. Also, while a patient is on Vivitrol, doctors should run regular tests to monitor the functioning of organs (heart, liver, kidneys…)

Further, Vivitrol contains naltrexone which may interfere with laboratory tests for other substances, so before having any drug test you should tell your doctor and the laboratory personel that you are regularly receiving Vivitrol injections.

NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about drug tests, detection times, and testing settings, please explore more in our definitive guide to drug testing.

Problems with Vivitrol?

As with any other medication, Vivitrol too can produce some unexpected and unwanted effects. Side effects from Vivitrol include:

  • nausea
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • anxiety
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite

If you’ve been using opiate narcotics or opioid pain killers, mild withdrawal symptoms may be experienced. If Vivitrol triggers withdrawal, you might also expect the following symptoms:

  • abdominal cramps
  • restlessness
  • joint pain
  • muscle aches
  • runny nose

Patients should notify their prescribing doctor, a pharmacist or a medical professional if any of these effects persist or are worsened. In addition to these symptoms, pain, redness, swelling, itching, bruising of skin shouldn’t be ignored by patients and should be brought to doctor’s attention as soon as possible.

Questions about Vivitrol in the system

We hope we covered some basic inform about Vivitrol and its use, mechanism of action, and metabolism in the body. If you do have any remaining queries, please post the via the comments section below. We try to provide a personal and prompt answer to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources:  PubMed Health: Naltrexone (injection)
PubChem: Nalterxone
FDA: Vivitrol-Medication Guide
MedlinePlus: Naltexone Injection
OASAS: Vivitrol

Photo credit: nfaraldos

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44 Responses to “How long does Vivitrol stay in your system?
SR Brickman
8:30 pm April 11th, 2015

Does Vivitrol block “natural” pleasure — such as runner’s high, social interactions? Does it block “natural” pleasure from eating? What are some examples of blood testing that it interferes with — adrenal or thyroid? (His doctor thinks there may be other health issues affecting him.)

I think it has saved my loved one’s life, but his belief is that it is robbing him of enjoying life and causing his loss of appetite and his weight loss. The other drugs he is using are Xanax (sometimes), Klonipin (regularly), and marijuana (he claims for social situations and for appetite). He has regular observed tests for other drugs but only tests positive for benzodiapine and marijuana. Thank you for your article and your offer to respond to questions.

Mr. David
10:14 pm May 17th, 2015

How long should I continue the take the drug?

11:23 am May 18th, 2015

Hello David. Vivitrol is used along with addiction treatment and therapy. It can be continued for as long as needed, until the patient develops coping skills that will make life without drugs or medication possible, or until a doctor instructs differently.

3:28 pm May 21st, 2015

Hello SR Brickman. Clinical research shows that Vivitrol does not reduce pleasure by blocking natural pleasure chemicals. This medication is an inverse agonist and can work without necessarily leading to a major blocking effect on the natural endorphins and enkephalins. However, the chance that they may be partially blocked still stands. But, basically, people do not have to overly fear the loss of pleasure from losing their own endorphins.

10:20 am June 26th, 2015

I was off suboxone for 8 days. I am also an alcoholic and have been sober only 6 days. I am a SEVERE ALCOHOLIC with epilepsy. My withdrawal symptoms continue to be horrific just from the alcohol. My doc gave me one oral dose today to see how I would respond. Not so well. In fact I fee like I’m on the beginning of alcohol withdrawal again. I am sooooo miserable. How long does it take for one oral dose to get out of your system? Ho long before I can take the suboxone again.? Please any comments or suggestions would be greatly Appreciated. Sincerely, I’m tired.

1:12 pm June 29th, 2015

Hi Deborah. Vivitrol is only available in injectable form. Are you sure your doctor gave you Vivitrol orally? I’m geussing it was naltrexone you were given. If so, naltrexone has a half-life of 4 hours, so every 4 hours, 50% of the drug is eliminated. I would say it would take 24-36 hours for the medication and its metabolites to get eliminated from your system. But, first you need to make sure what medication were you given orally and talk to your doctor whether getting back on the suboxone is recommended.

6:46 pm August 21st, 2015

At 1:00 PM to day I am checking myself into a rehab center for Drug an alcohol addiction. My addiction is to Herion. I take 1/2 gram at a time no more than 2-3 times per day. I no longer can take this addiction to Herion. It does no longer get me high I only take enough to keep me from withdrawing. I have considerably cut back due to the fact I was in jail for 6 days and totally with drew nothing at all to help me. I understand I will be given suboxone upon arriving at the Rehab Hospital. The hospital then wants to discharge me and give me a Vivitrol shot 2-3 days after dismissal. What exactly is Vivitrol. How long can Vivtrol be detected in a mouth swab. If I am required to take 120 30 mg of of oxycodone a month due to my diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis and I am allowed to take with that make my Vivitrol injection or will it cause some serious side effects, please answer me as possible, I have to be to the hospital by 1:00pm thanks for your answer.

1:09 am August 24th, 2015

How do you get vivitrol out of you faster? Sauna? Sweating? Punching injection? I haven’t been this depressed ever. I just want it out now

12:47 pm August 24th, 2015

Hello Pame. Congratulations on making the decision to seek help and enter a rehab center. You will go through assessment right after you check into the facility, and then you will have a chance to tell the doctor or nurse everything and discuss any potential risks. You can also ask and learn all you want to know about Vivitrol. I wish you a successful rehab process and a long sobriety.

6:16 pm September 12th, 2015

I have received the vivatrol since jan for 9 months. I am no longer going to receive the shot because of some serious side effects. I have suffered severe muscle aches to joints aching to the point it was almost impossible to walk. Not to mention my sex drive is very low and I am unable to reach an orgasm. Is this common and has anyone else experienced this?

12:23 pm October 14th, 2015

How long is the opiate withdrawal if u have been using and then take the vivitrol shot?

2:11 am October 19th, 2015

Umm… Well I’ve taking this shot several times. Once for as long as 4 months. And now I just got the shot again 3 or 4 days ago. And now I’m very tired and cannot sleep What do ever I find my self laying in bed at 11pm too 7am to 10am in The morning……. And I just feel so tired and weak. Not wanting too do much. This is shot is for opitates. I’m 99.99% sure I have Hep C.but I was tested and it said I’m clean… I don’t get it I know I have it but yet the test says I’m clean… Maybe it hasn’t gotten large enough to show up. I know you guys said to not get the shot if you have Hep c… Well I let u no if my liver falls out my ass. Lol um I have tested the shot trying. Week 3 and noting then week 4 .. Noting then 50 to 60 days I felt the opitates……… This is not only me. I know other people have the excate time I do. But anyways it’s hard too do daily life things and goals while being in this state.

9:45 pm November 1st, 2015

I got my shot 32 days ago and I just had surgery done yesterday and my pain meds won’t work.. how can I make the vivitrol leave my body faster?

9:08 pm November 11th, 2015

Hello Rick. Vivitrol can be detected in the body for up to a month after last dose.But, there are many factors that determine drug duration in your body. For instance, if your metabolism is fast, that means your system uses things like water, food, and any drugs quickly. On the contrary,the slower your metabolism is, the longer a drug might stay in your body. Also, if your pain medications don’t work, consult your doctor to replace them.

1:42 am January 26th, 2016

What if you have a medical emergency while on vivitrol? If you have the injection on the first month – when would it be safe to take narcotics in the event of a medical emergency ?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:39 pm February 1st, 2016

Hi, Sarah. I suggest you consult your doctor on this matter.

12:03 pm February 6th, 2016

I jst got my 7th shot about 3 weeks ago. How long before it’s out of my system?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:38 pm February 12th, 2016

Hi, Kasey. Vivitrol can be detected in the system for up to a month after last dose.

10:08 pm February 23rd, 2016

I stop taking the shot and I have been feeling very tired is that normal.

3:54 pm March 24th, 2016

My son is a heroin addict. He received his first Vivitrol shot and had done heroin the day before. He had severe withdrawal with vomiting, diarrhea and hallucinations. These lasted about a week. As soon as he felt better he started using again. He just had his 2nd shot of Vivitrol. He did not experience the same horrific withdrawal symptoms. My question is I finally was able to get him in a rehab facility and will he test positive for opiates as it has only been 2 days since he last used even though he just received the shot.

9:53 pm March 31st, 2016

And smoking three days ago the weed didnt show up so what are the chance if i had the shot 26 fays ago with my very little muscle mass and low weight and high metabolism would the vitriol shot still be as effected

6:25 am April 7th, 2016

It’s day 35 after my last dose of vivitrol. I have been on the shot since November 07th of 2015. My question is how much longer will the vivitrol stay in my system. My insurance has been cut off, and I want to know if I’ll be okay til I can reapply or even figure out how to get my next shot. I need to know, that I still can’t get high due to the shot. So in a moment of weakness I’ll be okay. Thank you

3:37 pm April 8th, 2016

Hi Hannah. Vivitrol can be detected in the body for up to a month after last dose.

9:32 am April 9th, 2016

I know that vivitrol can be detected up for a month my question is; if I’ve been on it for 4 months has this built up in my system when does it start to leave the system. I tested an opioid pill tonight at day 39 and had no reaction or stimuli to this. So, again, the doctors say it’s a month to month shot, but what are the chances of it working longer than the monthly bases. And yes, I understand that it ranges from person to person. That it’s all based on the person,etc

12:04 am April 14th, 2016

So I got the shot for about 10 months and after stopping decided to try and get high. It has been 55 days and I cannot feel a damn thing. It is pretty irritating knowing that the thing is supposed to last 30 days. I figured since I was on it so long that it could possibly take 40 or 45 days but now that it’s been 55!! Days it is getting a little ridiculous.

8:30 pm April 29th, 2016

Ive been on the Vivitrol shot for 5 months. April 1st was my last shot. Im not ready to quit using opiates. Ive heard varying reports of people either overdosing after using opiates (DOC is IV heroin) after being on Vivitrol and others say they cant even get high after 30 days. Please dont judge and look at this as harm reduction. I dont want to overdose! Im 5’7 145lbs. Does Vivitrol build up in your system? How much or how little should I use safely and effectively? (before Vivitrol I could get high from 8mg Dilaudid or .1 and a half of heroin. I had a small habit) Thank you!

9:25 am May 6th, 2016

Been 40 day’s since my second vivitrol shot and I still can’t feel 30’s maybe a slight feeling behind my eye’s but no euphoric feeling at all anyone know how long this shot will last i’m 5’7 170 lbs …

4:54 am May 12th, 2016

Is there any side effects on pregnancy . Is there problems with pregnancy in the future. In between shots do your cravings return. My daughter is in a wheel chair is it safe. Thank you

6:15 pm May 15th, 2016

day 49 from my last vivitrol shot was my second one and still cannot
feel any percoset 30’s no effects does anyone know how much longer this shot lasts i’m 5″7 175 lbs

5:13 pm May 29th, 2016

i got my vivitrol shot 45 days ago and still can feel a “nugget” in my buttocks at the injection site. when will this go away and does that mean the vivitrol is still in my system till the “nugget” disappears?

12:52 am June 2nd, 2016

So how can i get the vivitrol outta my system it’s been 3 weeks since I got the shot and I have to have my wisdom teeth cut out and I can’t do it without pain meds so will the meds help with the pain?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:47 pm June 3rd, 2016

Hi Laura. I suggest you speak with a doctor about your lump. Usually, it’s reaction of the injection shot.

3:37 pm August 6th, 2016

I am currently receiving the Vivitrol shot every 28 days, but at the end of that time, the last 4 or 5 days I experience some cravings. My Dr. Suggested giving the shot every 21 days. Is there other people on a 21 day program and if so what are the results? Is it safe to get the shot at a 21 day interval?

4:53 pm November 23rd, 2016

I just started vivi 16 days ago and i feel dope. Not 100 percent but enough people can def tell i am high. Not bragging bc i am using everyday. I did not expect this

1:40 am November 24th, 2016

Three weeks into vivitrol injection I feel awful. I’ve lost my desire for most things. Ect. Eating sleeping. Nauseous and sweaty most of the time it seems to be getting worse. When will this go away. Should I stop injections??

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:35 pm November 28th, 2016

Hi Hannah. I suggest that you speak with your doctor about your issue.

4:47 pm December 10th, 2016

Can you smoke marijuana and get the vivitrol injection? Or also use at the same time.

10:52 pm December 20th, 2016

Life after vivitrol: what happens after you stop vivitrol? What about hypersensitivity or ‘reverse tolerance’ after vivitrol is stopped and would there be greater chances of fatality due to hypersensitivity in case of relapse after it is stopped after treatment?

10:15 am February 11th, 2017

I received my first injection yesterday and was tested three times to make sure there was no opiates in my system, all were clean. I was taking 20-30mg of opiates a day for a few years. I was feeling great after stopping opiate for 8 days. First 5 were yucky. This shot has made me violently ill, my first night my legs were tingly and felt like they were on fire. My stomach cramps felt like labor pain, and horrible diarrhea. Do I need to deal with these symptoms for 30 days??? I feel stuck! I also didn’t think I needed the shot and was pressured by the doctor to get it and blew off all my concerns about it.

7:00 pm February 18th, 2017

I just got out of detox and I want to get the shot nothing else work for me I was on methodone clinic and I kept using I was on soboxn did not help how long should I wait to go get the shot I have very bad bipolair also will that shot help me with that also I am in so despret need to stop I been doing this way to long and I really am tired of this

10:32 pm February 26th, 2017

I got the shot and for two weeks I had the sweats and rapid heart beat I will no longer be getting that shot.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:26 pm March 1st, 2017

Hi James. I suggest that you call the helpline on the website. Also, consider therapy session and support group meetings which may be very supportive in your recovery.

6:52 am March 14th, 2017

I got vivitrol 21 days ago. Prior to getting the shot i was very excited and wanted to live a sober life. When i went in to the doctor’s office i started having second thoughts. However..it was too late and i had already paid 700$ for this shot. After getting it i had no side effects and had been clean for 10 days before getting the shot. On day 13 i tried to get high and it was so disappointing. It made me more depressed because i did not feel a single thing. My pupils didn’t even change in size. Today, on day 21, i once again tried to get high (IV H) and i felt the slightest traces of the H. However, no euphoria. It was still extremely disappointing. I do not recommend wasting your money, but if you are like me, you will try anyways. Please be safe to whoever has this shot and is going to try to get high.

2:29 pm March 14th, 2017

I have been onvivatrol for 3 months and am having false positives for benzos why

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