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…for choosing to continue your road to recovery with St Matthews Community Pharmacy. We value personal connections with members of our community and are truly invested in your medication-assisted treatment to sobriety. Our mission is to improve your pharmacy experience and to help you feel your best. Our highly-trained staff will work with your healthcare providers to serve you with premier quality care. We’ll always go the extra mile to make sure that you’re taken care of.

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Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, combined with counseling, to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for a variety of substance use disorders. Under the care of your healthcare provider and ourselves, you will be receiving an injectable version of naltrexone called Vivitrol®, an opioid antagonist.


As an opioid antagonist, naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors in the body, preventing opioids from binding to these sites. This mechanism prevents relief of pain and euphoric effects experienced after ingesting opioids. Additionally, naltrexone shows benefits in reducing cravings associated with opioid and alcohol use disorder.


Vivitrol® is contraindicated in those currently receiving opioids. Before your first injection, you must be opioid free for 7-10 days. If an opioid is used within the dosing interval, effects will not be experienced. It is crucial to understand that this opioid blockade mechanism of Vivitrol® cannot be overcome and attempting to do so could result in serious health consequences such as overdose, coma or death. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the decreased tolerability of opioids from baseline after treatment with Vivitrol® and likewise, the vulnerability of a potentially fatal overdose.


Naltrexone is supplied as oral tablets and a once-monthly injection. The long-acting injection, Vivitrol®, is administered every 28 days, intramuscularly into the buttocks, alternating sides between injections.  Prior to initiation of the injection you will receive one dose of the oral tablet, taken under our supervision, to ensure that you do not have an immediate adverse reaction to the medication.


Prior to your first injection, you will be asked for a urine sample for drug screening. This urine drug screen is used to solely to confirm the absence of opioids, as administering Vivitrol® to a patient currently using opioids can precipitate severe and serious withdrawal. After your first injection, you will only be required to repeat a urine drug screen if you miss your appointment by > 2 days.


For your safety, it is important that you share with your healthcare providers that you are receiving this medication. Additionally, it is recommended to utilize a method for labeling that you are receiving this medication, in the instance of an emergency. Communication cards, dog tags and wristbands will be provided at the time of administration.



Vivitrol® is fairly well tolerated and has a limited side effect profile. The most common side effect experienced by patients receiving Vivitrol® is mild nausea. This is frequently experienced after the first injection and usually resolves with subsequent injections. Eating prior to getting your injection can help minimize this effect.


Injection-site reactions can also occur and should be reported to healthcare providers. It is common to experience pain or soreness after and several days following the injection, but this should resolve. If this does not resolve, contact a healthcare provider. Continual rubbing and movement of the gluteus muscle can also help minimize the injection site pain.


Depression and suicidal ideation are also potential adverse effects of Vivitrol®. Note that these effects are potentially secondary to drastic lifestyle changes and define the importance of continuing psychosocial therapy throughout the duration of your treatment.


As previously mentioned, the mechanism of this agent prevents one from experiencing the analgesic and euphoric effects of opioids. Attempts to overcome this opioid blockade can be life threatening. Additionally, after completing therapy, missing a dose, or nearing the end of a dosing interval, tolerability of opioids significantly decreases from baseline and the risk of accidental overdose is heightened.


Vivitrol® and exposure to other agents containing naltrexone may cause symptoms of acute hepatitis. Liver function should be monitored by your primary healthcare provider. Due to the risk of hepatic injury, seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of acute hepatitis such as yellowing of the skin, nausea or abdominal pain.

 Learn more about Vivitrol

Frequently Asked Questions