Vivitrol and the Risk of Opioid Overdose

Vivitrol and the Risk of Opioid Overdose

While counseling at a luxury drug and alcohol rehab center can treat the underlying causes of opioid addiction or alcoholism, some patients benefit from additional medical assistance in their recovery. Vivitrol is a medication prescribed by doctors to help patients recover from opioid addiction. This medication is an opiate antagonist, it works by binding to opioid receptors and blocking the action of opioids to help patients stick to sobriety. 1 New ads for the medication have come under fire for not adequately illustrating the risks and side effects of Vivitrol use.

What Are the Side Effects of Vivitrol?

There are two main Vivitrol uses, treating opioid addiction and treating alcoholism. In both uses, there are side effects of the medication that should be considered before the drug is prescribed. Side effects of Vivitrol include:

  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased risk for liver damage
  • Increased risk for hepatitis

One of the most dangerous Vivitrol side effects is an increased risk of opioid overdose. The drug leaves users vulnerable to opioid overdose.2

Vivitrol Overdose Risks

Vivitrol users experience increased risks of opioid overdose after taking the medication. The link between opioid overdose and Vivitrol stems from two scenarios. In the first, users may try to overcome naltrexone’s opioid-blocking effects by taking dangerously high volumes of opioids to no avail, leading to overdose. In the other situation, users may relapse and take their previous doses of opioids after completing treatment and because Vivitrol makes users sensitive to lower amounts of opioids, overdose is more likely to occur.2

FDA Warnings About Opioid Overdose and Vivitrol Ads

In recent marketing, the FDA claims that Vivitrol’s manufacturer did not disclose the increased vulnerability for opioid overdose involved with the medication. The FDA published a warning letter online that it sent to the drug manufacturer, Alkermes, Inc., about the ad. In the letter, the FDA explained that “The print ad is false or misleading because it omits important risk information associated with the use of Vivitrol.”3

They went on in the letter to say that when used in accordance with FDA-approved product labeling, Vivitrol is effective and safe for treating opioid addiction and reducing relapse risks. But those using the medication should be made fully aware of all risks, including the increased risks of opioid overdose.3

Safely Treating Opioid Addiction

At Seaside Palm Beach, we offer our patients safe, proven, and effective approaches to treating opioid addiction. Our executive addiction treatment center provides patients with the support and services they need to safely and successfully find sobriety. Call 561-677-9374 to learn more about our programs and treatment opportunities.


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