||ReVia [formerly called Trexan], Vivitrol
Naltrexone is available in pill form. Vivitrol is taken as
a shot (injection) into a muscle (intramuscular) once a month.
How It Works
Naltrexone is an
opioid antagonist that interferes with the part of the
brain involved in producing the pleasure you get from drinking alcohol or
taking other drugs.
Why It Is Used
Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol
or opioid drug
dependence. It reduces the pleasurable effects of
alcohol and helps block the effects of narcotic (opioid) drugs, such as heroin.
It may help reduce your cravings for opioid drugs.
be used alone or combined with other medicines that affect the brain, such as
medicines for depression or acamprosate. Acamprosate often is used to treat
How Well It Works
Most studies show that naltrexone significantly reduces your
relapse after you have stopped drinking.2 Naltrexone works best to help you stop drinking if you also
Naltrexone can help prevent drug cravings and relapse, but you
still need other treatments, such as counseling, to help you recover from drug
Naltrexone can cause nausea, dizziness,
and fatigue. It also can cause headaches and make you feel anxious, sleepy, or
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
You might develop liver damage if
you have liver disease (such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure) and
take too much naltrexone.
This medicine will cause
withdrawal symptoms if you are taking opioids drugs.
If you have taken opioids in the past 7 to 10 days, talk to your doctor before
You might need to take naltrexone for several
months to effectively prevent relapse.
Vivitrol, a once-a-month
injection of this medicine, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) to treat drinking problems. This form of naltrexone can be
useful for people who have a hard time deciding whether to take the medicine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued
an advisory about injectable forms of naltrexone. You may have a skin reaction
at the injection site, the place where the shot is given. Call your doctor if
you notice any skin change at the injection site, such as swelling, tenderness,
redness, or pain, that does not improve or gets worse within 2 weeks.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Srisurapanont M, Jarusuraisin N (2005). Opioid
antagonists for alcohol dependence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
Kiefer F, et al. (2003). Comparing and combining
naltrexone and acamprosate in relapse prevention of alcoholism: A double-blind,
placebo-controlled study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60(1): 92-99.