Can Vivitrol cause a positive drug test?
Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on Feb 2, 2021.
Yes, Vivitrol can cause a positive urine drug test.
Vivitrol is the brand name for the extended-release injectable form of naltrexone. Naltrexone is a drug used to treat alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder.
Treatment with Vivitrol may involve regular urine tests. In some cases, urine tests are done to make sure the prescribed drug is being taken as directed or to prevent potentially dangerous side effects.
For example, before starting Vivitrol, it is important not to have taken any opioids for at least seven days (14 days if long-acting opioids) or to be actively drinking alcohol. That is because giving naltrexone may cause withdrawal symptoms, which could be life-threatening. The drug is started only after detoxification.
Urine tests may also be done to screen for other commonly abused drugs. A positive urine drug screen result shows that the drug in question is present in the urine in an amount greater than a predetermined cutoff amount. The result does not show exactly how much of the drug is in the urine.
Many types of urine drug tests are available, and clinical laboratories may use different techniques to detect the drugs. The standard immunoassay is one type of test commonly used to screen urine for specific chemicals because it is inexpensive to do and results are often available within hours.
A disadvantage of immunoassay is that other substances may interfere with the test and cause a false-positive result. This can be the case with naltrexone and some immunoassay urine drug tests. If a false-positive result is suspected, other types of urine drug tests can be done to confirm the result.
Vivitrol is given as a shot in the buttock muscle once a month. It requires a prescription and must be administered by a health care provider. Naltrexone is classified as an opiate antagonist. It works by binding to the body's natural opiate receptors. This prevents any other opioid from binding to those receptors and causing an effect. Vivitrol should be used as part of a management plan that includes counseling and behavior modification support.
- Vivitrol.com. Highlights of prescribing information. July 2020. Available at: https://www.vivitrol.com/content/pdfs/prescribing-information.pdf. [Accessed January 20, 2021].
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Naltrexone. September 15, 2020. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions/naltrexone. [Accessed January 19, 2021].
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. TIP 63: Medications for opioid use disorder. May 2020. [Accessed January 19, 2021].
- American Society of Addiction Medicine. Appropriate use of drug testing in clinical addiction medicine. April 5, 2017. Available at: https://www.asam.org/Quality-Science/quality/drug-testing. [Accessed January 20, 2021].
- Saitman A, Park HD, Fitzgerald RL. False-positive interferences of common urine drug screen immunoassays: a review. J Anal Toxicol 2014;38:387–396. doi: 10.1093/jat/bku075.
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- Vivitrol Information for Consumers
- Vivitrol Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Vivitrol (detailed)
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