For a person struggling with opioid addiction, the freedom to wake up in the morning and not need to chase the drug to keep from being sick is nothing short of miraculous.

Although there are always some exceptions, most patients who use long-acting naltrexone are astonished at how quickly the cravings are absolutely gone. I have heard this over and over again from our patients. If you are wondering how long does naltrexone last, and how it can aid in your recovery, we have the answers below.

Attending a Conference - Setting up the Scenario

I recently attended a conference where participants were challenged to surrender their electronics, tobacco products, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gum, any medications or supplements not prescribed by a medical provider, and between-meal snacks for the duration of the event, which lasted a little longer than a week.

The tension in the room was palpable. Lots of murmuring. Hands went up in the air to get clarification. Questions were raised about exceptions to this situation or that situation. I suspect every brain in the room was in overdrive anticipating what the absence of these things would mean.

I myself was agonizing about turning over the sack of organic mixed nuts I had brought to the conference so that I would have healthy snacks. I was unsure that I would not give into the eight-dollar bag of peanut M&Ms from that wretched temptress: the minibar refrigerator.

Once those of us who chose to take part in this exercise gave up our electronics and other items, the experience was easier than I’d expected. As our teacher said, “No Decision, No Fear.”

Removing Temptations

It was true. Once the agreement had been made and the option to begin the morning with a cup of coffee or snack between meals was gone, my brain and its noisy “Team of Thoughts” became quiet…at least about those situations.

This exercise is a great example of how using long-acting naltrexone as a Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid dependency can work. It takes the decision of whether to use opioids (pain medications, heroin, fentanyl, etc.) off the table. Because naltrexone is a pure opiate antagonist, it actually sits on the opioid receptors, thus blocking them from any other opiate that may be introduced.


How Long Does Naltrexone Last?

Some patients have told me they opted to come to the Coleman Institute for an Accelerated Outpatient Opioid Detox “instead of going to therapy”. It is important to note that these are not mutually exclusive, and our belief is that patients benefit from both.

With the recognition of the enormous opioid epidemic our country is experiencing, the options for therapy after detox are numerous and increasing daily. But it often makes sense to detox before going into therapy so that your brain can better begin to absorb the skills necessary for sustained recovery.

To answer the question “how long does naltrexone last?”, a one-month injection of Vivitrol provides our patients with about 28 days. With a naltrexone implant, the results can last even longer.

Long-Acting Naltrexone Options

1. Vivitrol

There are a couple of options for long-acting naltrexone. It comes in the form of a monthly injection under the trade name Vivitrol. The injection goes into the large gluteal muscle and the medication is slowly released for about a month. Many insurance companies will cover the cost of Vivitrol.

2. Naltrexone Implants

Naltrexone implants are another option, and the Coleman Institute has been a national leader in the use of them for over fifteen years. This implant, or pellet, is placed in the fatty tissue of the abdomen. It’s about the size of a vitamin tablet. We make a half-inch incision and close it with 3 stitches. Once it heals, it leaves a small scar-like what you might see from a laser gallbladder removal. Our implants bathe the opioid receptors with naltrexone for about 8 weeks.

More like this: Medication-Assisted Treatment: Higher Success for Recovery


Let the Coleman Institute help you to sift through some of the overwhelming choices that become urgent for families in crisis. Freedom from opioids with long-acting naltrexone treatment is possible.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP


Last Updated: January 14th, 2022