Alcohol Use Disorder and Opioid Use Disorder continues to impact health of patients, while burdening healthcare systems. De-addiction and treatment involve various options, including Naltrexone. This narcotic antagonist is typically used to treat opioid overdose, and is also an approved formulation for alcohol dependence. However, a common question is – can you drink alcohol on Vivitrol or will you get sick? Following subsections offer answers to this question, in addition to useful information about the drug and possible undesirable outcomes. The mechanism of action has also been outlined, to help individuals understand how it works and why it is important to follow instructions.

Overview of vivitrol

A branded formulation of Naltrexone, Vivitrol is a derivative of noroxymorphone, and is regarded to have a longer duration of action. It is considered to be more effective when compared with Naloxone, and is used for treating opioid overdose, and is an FDA approved drug for alcohol dependence. It has also been proposed as a suitable treatment for individuals grappling with alcoholism. Vivitrol is a prescription injection, and the answers to the question hinge on the purpose of the medication – treating dependence on alcohol or opioid.

How does vivitrol work?

Before we look at other information, it is necessary to understand more about the manner in which the drug works. As a pure opiate antagonist, the outcomes are attributed to the antagonist properties in the Central Nervous System. While the full mechanism of action is yet to be established or studied, data has indicated that the effects are mainly due to the actions in the CNS. The medication is known to have selective affinity for certain receptors, and this results in a binding action, with these receptors. As a result of this binding action, the effects of opioids are nullified and prevented from acting.  As a result, certain outcomes, including respiratory depression and euphoria are prevented. The biggest effect, however is the craving for the high, and this helps to break the chain of addiction.

Can you drink alcohol on Vivitrol or will you get sick?

The answer to the above question is effectively in two parts. When the prescription is for an individual fighting opioid dependence, the person may consume alcohol in moderation. This however, needs the consent of treating specialists. When the prescription is for an individual fighting alcohol dependence, the consumption of alcohol is actually not permitted; however, depending on the de-addiction approach, minimal quantities are sometimes permitted, though medically not advised.

The drug is recommended to be taken by individuals who have stopped consuming alcohol and FDA approval is explicit in this manner. Individuals who have abstained from alcohol are actually the only ones permitted to take the medication, as per FDA regulations.  However, as mentioned above, certain de-addiction methodologies, such as the Sinclair Method, advocate consumption in minimal quantities, as a route to complete de-addiction. This method is only under specialized supervision and is not to be followed by individuals at home.

What are the reasons for restrictions when on Vivitrol?

The reasons for restrictions are straightforward – the medication blocks the effects that are linked to opioid use and consumption of alcohol. As outlined in the mechanism of action, the drug prevents the individual from experiencing euphoria or high, typically experienced when on drugs or alcohol. This blocking of the pleasure sensations, may prod the individual to take higher doses of opioids or consume more alcohol, in an effort to get the usual high. This may result in possible overdose of the substance, and the individual may end up with very serious or adverse outcomes from overdose. This may sometimes result in a coma or an unfortunate fatality.

Other highlights of Vivitrol

The drug belongs to the category of extended-release formulation, and its administration by any individual in a de-addiction center is permitted only on prescription.  The generic formulation of Naltrexone, is available as tablets, and transdermal patches apart from injectables.

Commonly reported side effects of Vivitrol

All drugs come with the possibility of undesirable effects and Vivitrol is no exception. Effects are typically classified as simple effects and serious effects. An effect that is a cause for concern with Vivitrol, is the possibility of damage to the liver, when patients consume alcohol while on the drug.   Individuals who consume alcohol when on the medication are to be on the lookout for tell-tale symptoms of serious complications. For instance, overall fatigue, or discoloration of urine are indications of possible impact on liver.  Other symptoms include pain the stomach that is persistent and not linked to any other condition, apart from a distinct yellowing of whites of the eyes.

Effects aggravated by alcohol

In addition to the effects of the medication, consumption of alcohol may also aggravate the condition. For instance, the patient may experience allergic reactions including outbreak of rashes on the skin, and impact on breathing. Pain in the chest is a possibility, apart from feelings of dizziness and nausea, vomiting. Other discernible symptoms include swelling of the face. Individuals are also known to experience symptoms that are consistent with common cold, and a reduction in appetite. Additionally, the patient may experience muscle cramps and negative impact on sleep, and pain in the joints.

Impact of vivitrol on individuals abstaining from alcohol

The drug is known to be effective, and as part of holistic de-addiction methods. The biggest impact is the effect on craving and feelings of pleasure experienced when on intoxicants. By slowly eliminating craving, the medication helps individuals to kick the habit, as the urge to consume alcohol or opioids is reduced significantly. When combined with the right counselling, this is known to have a positive effect and take people off drugs or alcohol dependence.  The effectiveness of the drug is highest when a structured and methodical approach is employed during de-addiction. For instance, the support system needs to be professional and with the right expertise. As alcohol and opiates are known to cause possible withdrawal effects including constipation, de-addiction should have a plan in place to help manage the withdrawal effects.

Leave a Reply