How long does Vivitrol stay in your system?

Vivitrol injections trigger an initial, transient peak about 2 hours after administration, which is followed by a second peak occurring approximately 2-3 days after injection. More on how Vivitrol metabolizes here.

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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.

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
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I got vivitrol shot Feb 28th, today is March 16th.. obviously I’m not going to use, but if i did, would i be able to get High? Just very curious to how this whole thing works? I go to meetings everyday and don’t plan on getting high but am just very curious

  2. Was a heroine addict but never had problems with alcohol I’ve only had 2 injections of vivitrol and that was 2 months ago is it safe to drink?

  3. I’m taking Vivitrol for alcohol abuse, I’ve been on it 4 months. I’m having surgery in 30 days, I’m 70 years old. Will it be out of my system so that I can take some pain meds after surgery?

  4. Can a vivitrol injection cause low sex drive, difficulties ejaculating and or going to the bathroom? Almost immediately after injection it was as if a switch was turned off in my male brain for any pleasure.

  5. I have to take a Vivitrol shot because of court..I’m a regular heroin user..I used tonight going for shot in the morning..what will it do to me if I get it not being clean for the 10 days.what are reasons doctors wont give you it but wait to give you it..please tell me asap

  6. I just got my 2nd injection & omgoodness I think it’s super painful & the pain seems to last all the way until the next injection. My first shot was given wrong & I have a golf ball size very hard knot that is not getting smaller & is still very painful. Is this normal, life threatening? I’ve been able to stay clean so it’s doing it’s job. This very tender lump is hurting a lot almost unbearable. Has this happen to any of you and what was the solution .

  7. My son was in Vivitrol for 1 year. He has been off now for about 2 months. Are there any side affects once you stop getting the Vivitrol shot?

  8. I am on the vivitrol shot for opiates and not for alcohol. Is it ok to drink every now and then or is that harmful?

  9. I have heard that the effects of Vivitrol may wear off after a couple weeks in some people who have a fast metabolism. Has there been any laboratory testing to determine the percentage of people using vivitrol that can metabolize the opioid blocking effects then get high for a couple weeks before taking the next monthly shot?

  10. So i received the vivitrol shot 25 days ago in jail. I am out of jail now and i cannot say that it has done any good at all! I haven’t felt like myself since the shot. I have been jittery and anxious. It has not helped cravings at all. I feel like I’m going through withdrawls. The worst thing is that it stays in your system so damn long, so who knows how long these feelings will last! Basically it feels like i got a shot that makes me feel like I’m going through withdrawls all the time! Fun stuff!!! I will never get this shot again. I’d rather take my chances with addiction than go through this again!

  11. Hey there, I’ve been getting vivitrol shots monthly for the past 5 months. I’m looking to stop soon. Im well into recovery and this shot saved my life and gave me a chance to think clearly and re asses my life and choices. (Without fogging my mind with opiates) My question is once since Ive been getting the shot for months does it build up in your system and take longer to be gone from your system, or does it take about a month since last injection for it to be gone? How does that work? Much gratitude!

  12. Hi, and thank you for the information. But I do have a question I got my first shot 4 days ago and the carvings have t stoped now I’m counting the days to use again. I’m a w 29 yo female about 55 and 229 lbs do you know how long it will last in my system. I don’t want to use but can’t stop thinking about it. Do you know when I will start not to crave it? Thanks

  13. My last vivitrol shot was December 29th 2017, I’m do for it again January 26th 2018. Im having a total knee replacement surgery on February 20th 2018
    Should I skip getting my shot to have my surgery and get it after I recover or am I able 2 get it and still have surgery? Also how long does it take to get out of your system after you get the vivitrol shot

  14. Im currently in methadone maintenance program and im wanting to know is they both treat and do basically the same thing. Because the court system has such a bad stigma about the methadone. And i have been doing great in treatment.for the past3 years and the courts are trying to make me stop because of my kids. It i feel like it is wrong for them to do this to me.

  15. It’s been 3 weeks since my first vivatrol injection. I also have been on an apple cider vinegar cleanse. If I wanted to have a cpl drinks would I be ok?

    1. Hi Jenna. Vivitrol is not used with alcohol. Please, use your medication only as prescribed by a doctor, don’t put yourself at risk.

  16. It is now day 36 from my first vivitrol shot took 3 p30’s and NO effect at all i’m 5’7 180 lbs I swear the shit lasts for minimum 6 weeks if you snort pills consider waiting 42 days before wasting your money it’s bullshit

  17. i had a vivitrol shot on August 10, 2017. I had rotator cuff surgery on November 6, 2017. Will it be okay to take hydrocodone by November 10th?

  18. Is it hard to come off of vivitrol? And are the withdrawals the same as when taking bupinorphine as I only get a few hours when taking this before going into withdrawal
    Thank you

  19. I took this vivitrol shot last month on the 9 th… Today is the 14 th of a new month … Is this still in my system because I’m having withdrawl symptoms….

  20. Hi, my name is Leigh, I am a addict and alcoholic. I recently went to a detox center back in November 2016, and have been using the new method of help threw my treatment of recovery. I have been on the shot ever since. I can say it helped me in so many ways, I felt great as a person and started working again. But just recently in April, I was denied my health coverage and also can not get it threw the state or place of recovery. So I have been struggling with my addition ever since April. I don’t know what to do. I have a good job now but yet I make too much money they say. So damn if I do and damn if I don’t. I’m trying to better my life, not get worse. I wish there was some way I could afford the shot, out of pocket bc I know how well it worked for me. But can’t afford $1,500.00/month. Wish I had help with what I can do, to be able to continue my recovery. Now all I think about it, “I’m gonna relapse again” which I have without the shot. So please anyone out there……?!?!? HELP

    1. Hi Leigh. You have done a great job. And, believe me you can stay sober. Have you enrolled into support groups such as AA? Also, you may consider therapy sessions to manage your thoughts. Moreover, I suggest that you speak with your health insurance company to see why your coverage was denied. Don’t lose hope!

  21. My husband was recently released from a rehab. He had an appointment the following day for the vivatrol shot. He went and said they couldnt do it and had to return the next day. About 4 days later he went back for a check up, he said the doctor prescribed him something to hold him over in case he couldnt get an appointment at day 30. When i looked at the prescription, he was subscribed for a quanity of 28 suboxone pills. Im confused, i thought you had to be clean of everything before getting the shot. Im beginning to think he really didnt get the shot. So my question is, if youve had the shot, can you be on suboxone maintenance during that 30 days?

  22. I have been on Vivatrol injections monthly since February for alcoholism. I was just recently diagnosed with avascular necrosis and need to have a right total hip replacement done. I will need opioid pain medication following surgery. My last dose of Vivatrol was April 27th. My surgery will be in 2 weeks. The information you provided states it can stay in your system a month or longer. Any idea how much over a month it can last?

  23. After several months and four injections do patients experience depression and ultimately want to use again? What should be done at that time?

    1. Hi Arnold. I suggest that you consult with a therapist to address your depression. Also, you may enroll into support groups (such as AA) that can give you the strength to move on.

  24. hi,
    I have injection an injection for not consuming alchol.. I dont know the name of the medicine.. The doctor have injected the dose to me in the month of january 2017..
    I would like to know that how long the dose work in our body..
    I would also like to know if by mistake i consume alchol what will be the result…

  25. I took a 7 shot course of Vivitrol in 2010 and have been sober since.
    Last Saturday I reached a personal limit and decided to get drunk. The 16 ounces of whiskey had hardly any effect, The next day I had a horribly toxic gut which caused vomiting over a 12 hour period. Although I have had no Antabuse or Vivitrol or Naltrexone for 7 years, the episode was exactly like one I had a dozen years ago when I challenged Antabuse. Could Vivitrol have that much effect after 7 years. Is the alcohol absorption completely stopped so that it ineffectively backs up in the tissues? Phew!

  26. My son received vivitrol for opiate heroin abuse however has been using meth. He has suddenly begun to have severe jerking like body muscle spasms. Please help me to understand why this is happening. I am very concerned for him and have just recently been informed of this.

  27. So vivitrol had a wicked side effect with your throat. I was wondering more in depth what that is and if it can be counteracted? By the way. the vivitrol shots side effects are so much lesser than the pill. Thank you.

  28. 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. 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.

  29. 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

    1. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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??

  33. 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

  34. 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?

  35. 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?

  36. 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?

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

  37. 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

  38. 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

  39. 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 …

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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

  44. 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

  45. 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.

  46. 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 ?

  47. 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?

    1. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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?

  50. 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

  51. 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. 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.

  52. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

  53. 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.

    1. 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.

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