Calusa Recovery

How Long Does Vivitrol Last: Duration of Action & Effects

How Long Does Vivitrol Last

How Long Does Vivitrol Last: Duration of Action & Effects

In the fight against addiction, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has emerged as a powerful tool. Vivitrol, a brand name for naltrexone, is one such medication used in MAT programs for both opioid and alcohol dependence. But for those considering Vivitrol, a crucial question often arises: how long does Vivitrol last?

This blog delves into the world of Vivitrol, exploring its mechanism of action, duration of effectiveness, and potential side effects. We’ll answer the all-important question of “How long does Vivitrol last” from multiple angles, giving you a clear understanding of this valuable treatment option.

Understanding Vivitrol: A Blocking Mechanism

Vivitrol is an extended-release injectable form of naltrexone. Naltrexone works by competing with opioids and alcohol for binding sites on opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for the pleasurable effects associated with substance use. When Vivitrol is present, it essentially blocks these receptors, preventing opioids or alcohol from fully activating them. As a result, individuals on Vivitrol experience a diminished high or euphoria if they use substances, reducing the incentive to continue using.

The Importance of Duration: How Long Does Vivitrol Last?

Vivitrol’s extended-release formulation is a key aspect of its effectiveness. Unlike some medications that require daily dosing, Vivitrol is typically administered by a healthcare professional once a month. This single injection offers a sustained release of naltrexone, providing a protective shield against relapse for a specific period.

But how long does Vivitrol last exactly? Let’s delve deeper into this. There are two ways to consider the duration of Vivitrol’s effects:

  • Blocking effects:  The blocking effects of Vivitrol, which prevent opioids or alcohol from fully activating opioid receptors, are estimated to last around 30 days after each injection. This timeframe provides a crucial window of protection for individuals in recovery.
  • Presence in the body: The physical presence of naltrexone in the body follows a concept called elimination half-life. This refers to the time it takes for the body to eliminate half of the medication. For Vivitrol, the elimination half-life of naltrexone is approximately 5 to 10 days.  This means it takes about 5-10 days for half the amount of naltrexone to be eliminated, and then another 5-10 days for half of the remaining amount to be eliminated, and so on.  While some naltrexone may still be detectable in the body after 30 days, the crucial blocking effects are what matters most for relapse prevention.

Factors Affecting How Long Vivitrol Lasts

It’s important to understand that how long Vivitrol lasts can vary slightly from person to person.  Several factors can influence this, including:

  • Body weight and composition: Individuals with a higher body mass index (BMI) may process Vivitrol slightly slower than those with a lower BMI.
  • Metabolism: Individual variations in metabolism can also affect how quickly the body breaks down Vivitrol.
  • Liver and kidney function: These organs process and eliminate medications, and any underlying conditions may slightly alter Vivitrol’s duration of action.

Maintaining Effectiveness: Beyond the “How Long Does Vivitrol Last” Question

While understanding how long Vivitrol lasts is important, it’s crucial to remember that Vivitrol alone isn’t a complete solution for addiction recovery. It’s most effective when used in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment plan. This plan may include:

  • Behavioral therapy: Techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals identify and address triggers for substance use, develop coping mechanisms, and build relapse prevention strategies.
  • Support groups: Connecting with others on the recovery journey can provide invaluable support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging.
  • Medical management: A healthcare professional can address any co-occurring medical conditions that may contribute to addiction or complicate recovery.

Potential Side Effects of Vivitrol

Vivitrol is generally well-tolerated, but some individuals may experience side effects. The most common ones include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite

These side effects are usually mild and temporary, often subsiding within a few days of the injection. If any side effects become bothersome or persistent, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional.

Beyond the Numbers: The Value of Vivitrol in Recovery

While the concept of “how long does Vivitrol last” provides a framework for understanding its action, the actual value of Vivitrol lies in its ability to empower individuals on their recovery journey. Here’s how:

  • Reduced Cravings: Vivitrol’s blocking effect can significantly reduce cravings for opioids or alcohol. This provides a powerful tool for managing the often-intense desire to use, making it easier to resist relapse triggers.
  • Improved Focus on Recovery: With cravings minimized, individuals can devote more energy towards therapy sessions, support groups, and other recovery efforts. This allows for deeper engagement with the process, fostering long-term positive change.
  • Increased Confidence: Successfully managing cravings and staying on track with treatment can significantly boost confidence in one’s ability to maintain sobriety. This newfound confidence becomes a vital asset in navigating challenges and staying committed to recovery goals.
  • Reduced Risk of Overdose: For those struggling with opioid addiction, Vivitrol offers a crucial safety net. Even if an accidental relapse occurs, Vivitrol’s blocking effect can significantly reduce the risk of a fatal overdose. This provides a valuable window of opportunity to seek help and get back on track with recovery.

Vivitrol: A Tool, Not a Cure

It’s important to remember that Vivitrol is not a quick fix for addiction. It’s a powerful tool that can significantly enhance an individual’s chances of successful recovery when used correctly within a comprehensive treatment plan. The long-term success of Vivitrol therapy hinges on a strong commitment to the overall treatment program, including therapy and support groups.

Considering Vivitrol? Here’s What to Do Next

If you want to learn more about Vivitrol and how it might benefit your recovery journey, the first step is to talk to your doctor. They can assess your individual needs, determine if Vivitrol is a suitable option for you, and answer any questions you may have about “how long does Vivitrol last” and other aspects of the medication.


  • Vivitrol is a safe and effective medication when used under medical supervision.
  • While the blocking effects typically last around 30 days, individual variations exist.
  • A comprehensive treatment plan, including therapy and support groups, is crucial for long-term success.
  • Open communication with your doctor is essential throughout the recovery process.

By understanding how long Vivitrol lasts and its role in a broader treatment approach, you can make informed decisions about your path to recovery. With the right support system and commitment to your well-being, Vivitrol can be a powerful tool in achieving lasting sobriety and a brighter future.


1. How long does Vivitrol block the effects of opioids or alcohol?

Vivitrol’s blocking effects, which prevent opioids or alcohol from fully activating opioid receptors, typically last around 30 days after each injection. This timeframe provides a window of protection against relapse for individuals in recovery.

2. How long does Vivitrol stay in my body?

The physical presence of Vivitrol in the body follows a concept called elimination half-life. This means it takes about 5-10 days for your body to eliminate half of the medication. While some naltrexone (the active ingredient in Vivitrol) may be detectable for longer, the crucial blocking effects wear off after 30 days.

3. Can factors influence how long Vivitrol lasts in my body?

Yes, several factors can influence how long Vivitrol lasts, including your body weight, metabolism, and liver and kidney function. It’s important to discuss these factors with your doctor to understand how they might affect you.

4. Are there other elements needed for successful recovery alongside Vivitrol treatment?

Vivitrol is a powerful tool, but it’s not a cure-all. For long-term success, Vivitrol should be used alongside a comprehensive treatment plan that may include therapy, support groups, and medical management of any co-occurring conditions.


Understanding how long Vivitrol lasts is crucial in addiction recovery. While the blocking effects offer a protective window of around 30 days, remember, Vivitrol is most effective when combined with a comprehensive treatment plan.

If you’re considering Vivitrol, don’t hesitate to take the next step. Contact your doctor and explore your options. Calusa Recovery can help you identify the path to lasting sobriety. Visit us at to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can support your journey.

Begin Your Journey

Request a 100% Confidential Consultation

"*" indicates required fields


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *