Northpoint Idaho Explains the Benefits of Vivitrol for Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid and Alcohol Addiction

Northpoint Idaho, a clinic providing integrated treatment for addiction and mental health in Idaho, is educating those suffering from opioid and alcohol dependence on the benefits of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in the form of once-monthly Vivitrol® injections.

Vivitrol is a non-addictive, once-monthly, injectable prescription medicine. It is the extended-release version of a medication called naltrexone. A doctor’s prescription is needed to buy and consume it. Moreover, it can only be administered by a qualified professional in a clinical setting. Vivitrol can lead to a reduction in cravings for opioids and alcohol during treatment. It is used primarily to help prevent relapsing to opioid and alcohol dependence after completing detox.


In a 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical study of individuals following opioid detoxification, it was found that 45 out of the 126 patients treated with Vivitrol had achieved abstinence from weeks 5 to 24 after the detoxification. On the other hand, only 28 out of 124 patients treated with a placebo were able to achieve the same levels of abstinence.

Vivitrol blocks the opioid receptors in the brain that allow one to feel the pleasurable effects of opioids and alcohol. If someone happens to use prescription opioids or illegal street drugs like heroin or alcohol after starting the Vivitrol treatment, they will not feel the normal euphoric effects. The blocking effect is highest after administration and the effect gradually wanes till the next dose is administered. An important point of distinction here is that, though those on Vivitrol might not feel the euphoric effects of alcohol or heroin, they will feel the physical effects such as a lack of coordination, slurred speech, nausea, headaches, and others.

Vivitrol has also been proven to reduce cravings and the urge to continue using once someone starts. Before starting Vivitrol, the body must be opioid-free for a minimum of 7 to 14 days to avoid sudden opioid withdrawal. About 50% of patients leaving Northpoint Idaho inpatient programs are given a Vivitrol shot before transitioning into outpatient treatment. Vivitrol should be used as part of a drug or alcohol recovery program that includes counseling to be 100% effective.

Vivitrol is not the panacea that works for everyone. There are significant risks such as opioid overdose, severe reaction at the injection site, and sudden opioid withdrawal. Particularly, overdose can occur if the patient takes larger quantities of the opioid drugs to offset Vivitrol’s blocking effects. This can also occur if the patient takes a larger quantity of opioids than before they started the Vivitrol treatment. Other side effects include injection site tenderness, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps and/or joint pain, and headaches. These side effects are, however, not long term and are usually the result of the body adjusting to the medication. The clinician charged with administering the medication can either adjust the dosage or switch it entirely if the side effects are severe enough to warrant it.

Vivitrol is to be absolutely avoided by those who are currently using or have a physical dependence on opiates or are currently undergoing opioid withdrawal symptoms. The healthcare provider might also administer a small injection of a medicine called naloxone. This test is called the naloxone challenge test, and it checks for current opioid dependence. Those who develop symptoms of opioid withdrawal after the naloxone challenge test, cannot start a Vivitrol treatment.

The Vivitrol shot is very expensive with each one possibly costing $1500 if paying out of pocket. However, most patients who have insurance are able to receive the injection at no cost. In cases in which the Vivitrol injection is not covered, Northpoint Idaho says that they will work with the patient’s insurance provider to get the injection that is covered. Those without insurance can avail of patient assistance programs to cover costs. For most cases, it is recommended to take Vivitrol for 6 to 12 months. Once the treatment period is over, the patient should be able to remain free from alcohol or opiates on their own.


For more information about Northpoint Idaho, contact the company here:

Northpoint Idaho
(855) 908-3932
10787 W Ustick Rd
Boise, ID 83713