Naltrexone is used to treat opioid use disorders and alcohol use disorders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and comes in a pill form or can be injected. Naltrexone can be prescribed by any health care provider licensed to prescribe medications.
Naltrexone works by blocking the euphoric and sedative effects of drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. It works differently in the body than buprenorphine and methadone, which activate opioid receptors in the body that suppress cravings. Naltrexone binds and blocks opioid receptors. Reports have shown it reduces opioid cravings. Also, there is no abuse and diversion potential with naltrexone. To prevent a precipitated withdrawal, people who have been prescribed naltrexone are warned to abstain from illegal opioids and opioid medication for a minimum of 7-10 days before starting the medication. When using naltrexone, people should not use any other opioids or illicit drugs; drink alcohol; or take sedatives, tranquilizers, or other drugs.
When used as a treatment for alcohol dependence, naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects and feelings of intoxication. For the purpose of aiding an addiction to alcohol, the medication will reduce a person’s drinking behaviors enough so they can sustain a level of motivation for treatment. It also lessens or helps the person avoid relapse. Naltrexone does not react negatively with alcohol. Furthermore, and of great importance to note—naltrexone is not addictive. Researchers have found long-term naltrexone therapy, that is, extending beyond three months, offers the most effective treatment.
As with many drugs, there can be side effects with the use of naltrexone. They include: upset stomach or vomiting, diarrhea, headache, nervousness, sleep problems/tiredness, joint or muscle pain. If any of these side effects occur when taking naltrexone, people are advised not stop taking the medication, but rather consult their doctor, health care provider or substance misuse treatment practitioner in order for the dosage to be changed.
Having medications to help those with an addiction to alcohol or opioids is important in fighting the disease and preventing deaths from overdose. Eliminating the craving can be essential to a person with an addiction who wants to quit and get their life back.
“Medications almost always do it better if they’re used in conjunction with other supports.”—Mehmet Oz
Facilitated by leaders in the addiction field, Infinity Malibu offers cutting edge treatment for those who struggle with an addiction. In the midst of your treatment you can enjoy ocean views and walks along a gorgeous beach. Don’t wait any longer to change your life. 888-266-9048