Naltrexone is a medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcohol and opiate dependence. It is an opioid receptor antagonist that decreases drinking and opiate use in alcohol and opiate-dependent individuals by blocking the release of endorphins via neural reward pathways. In other words, Naltrexone blocks the body’s ability to feel the “high” that these particular substances produce. This has proven to be helpful for clients that are abstaining from opiates or alcohol on their own and for those who chose to admit themselves into a substance abuse treatment facility because the drug ultimately has a zero effect on the mind and body while the Naltrexone medication is taken.
Naltrexone has also been shown to reduce cravings, which for motivated clients can promote long-term abstinence. Finally, naltrexone has proven to relieve withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, body aches, runny nose and eyes, sweating and restlessness which allows clients to enjoy a more comfortable treatment experience without constant ongoing cravings and miserable withdrawal symptoms.
In 2010, the FDA also approved an extended release form of naltrexone administered by intramuscular injection (Vivitrol) once per month to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and to prevent relapse. Although this delivery system is a more costly option, it removes the patient burden of daily decision making or medication non adherence. Naltrexone and Vivitrol’s efficacy has been demonstrated in numerous randomized clinical trials worldwide.
Unlike other medications such as Benzodiazepines, Suboxone, and Methadone that are used to help regulate cravings and withdrawal symptoms; Naltrexone is a non-narcotic medication that is free from any addictive qualities and future withdrawal symptoms. However, like most medications there are possibilities for side effects (such as dizziness and upset stomach); especially if taken prematurely while detoxifying which can cause rapid withdrawaling. You should always consult your physician before taking this medication. 385-207-2029