Opiod dependent patients can be treated by Vivitrol after the injectable drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Vivitrol is an extended-release formulation of naltrexone that is injected once a month into the muscle, according to an FDA statement.

The drug functions as a block to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking the effects of morphine, heroin, and other opioids.

Naltrexone was approved to treat alcohol dependence in 2006.

Vivitrol, which is administered by a physician, is injected with special needles that come with the product.

The safety of Vivitrol was monitored by the FDA for six months. Results were compared to those of placebo treatments in patients who had completed detoxification and who were no longer physically addicted to opioids.

The FDA stated that 36 percent of Vivitrol-treated patients were able to stay off opioids for the full six months, compared with 23 percent of the placebo group.

Vivitrol like any other drug has side effects which include nausea, tiredness, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, decreased appetite, joint pain and muscle cramps.