Naltrexone is an approved medication by the Food and Drug Administration that is prescribed to people who are suffering from opioid addiction or alcohol addiction and is often used during medication-assisted drug treatment. Naltrexone can be prescribed as a pill that can be taken once a day or as an injectable extended-release that is given once a month, both of which are non-addictive or habit-forming. Opioid addiction is a growing problem within the United States, and more overdose deaths are taking place each year because of various opioids such as fentanyl, prescription pain medications, and street-level opiates. There are many different solutions that are available to treat opioid addiction in the United States, such as medical detox programs, drug treatment centers, medication treatment with methadone, buprenorphine, or suboxone, but not all treatment methods work for everyone. However, it is common for most opioid addicts to struggle with sobriety because of how addictive the drugs are, and how painful withdrawal symptoms can be. The same can be said with alcohol addiction, and alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances within the United States. Because of how many opioid addicts and those who are dependent on opioids struggle; many of them are looking for solutions to help them abstain, especially during treatment. Naltrexone can be prescribed by any health care provider in the United States, who is licensed. When a patient is prescribed naltrexone, they are warned to remain off opioids or alcohol for a minimum of seven to ten days prior to taking the Naltrexone. The reason for this is because of how naltrexone works, and because it does reduce the tolerance, the person will have for the opioids, which will increase the risk for an overdose.
How does naltrexone work?
Naltrexone will block the particular effects such as euphoria and sedation caused by opioids and alcohol and will work differently than other drugs such as buprenorphine, suboxone, and methadone. These types of drugs essentially activate opioid receptors throughout the brain and suppress the cravings, yet are addictive and cause physical dependencies. Naltrexone will bind or block the opioid receptors within the brain, and the drug has been reported to reduce opioid cravings, yet there is still the psychological aspect of addiction that must be treated. Because naltrexone will eliminate that feeling of being high, when someone relapses while on Naltrexone, they are placing themselves at a greater risk for an overdose because of their decreased tolerance, the effects of the drug, and potentially using more opioids than expected. Naltrexone will often be used as part of medication-assisted treatment options within the United States, whether it is through inpatient or outpatient drug treatment, patients can be prescribed this drug while going through therapy. Naltrexone can be prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan and has become an option that many former opioid addicts use during their rehabilitation. However, Naltrexone should not be considered a long-term solution, but rather a tool that an addict can use to help them become completely rehabilitated.
Naltrexone for Opioid Addiction and Alcohol Addiction
Many people who are suffering from opioid addiction will search for effective and efficient ways to treat addiction. The extended-release injectable form of Naltrexone is a common medication used to help opioid addicts abstain from using again. As part of a comprehensive treatment program, the drug can help a patient through treatment, if they choose medication-assisted drug rehab. Some of the research surrounding naltrexone has shown that it potentially will decrease drug-conditioned cues and cravings. However, if an opioid addict relapsed while taking naltrexone, they are putting themselves at risk for an overdose because naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids, their tolerance for opioids will be much lower. Alcohol addiction and abuse are as much of a problem in the United States as opioid addiction, and many alcoholics struggle with becoming sober. Alcohol addiction is difficult to treat, and because of this, it is common for alcoholics to turn to medication-assisted treatment options. When alcoholics are prescribed naltrexone, it will block the euphoric effects and the feeling of intoxication that is caused by alcohol. Many former alcoholics who have used naltrexone believe that it assisted with reducing drinking behaviors, and kept them motivated during treatment, and after treatment to help with preventing relapse. However, Naltrexone should not be considered a final solution or the only option, while medication-assisted treatment can be effective for some; it will not always work for everyone.
What are the side effects of Naltrexone?
Just like any other type of prescription medication, there may be possible side effects, some of which are more severe than others. If someone who is prescribed naltrexone is experiencing adverse side effects, they should immediately speak to their prescribing physician. Some of the side effects with Naltrexone include an upset stomach or vomiting, headaches, nervousness, diarrhea, joint or muscle pain, and sleep problems. Some severe adverse reactions or problems such as liver injury may occur, or an adverse injection reaction, or an allergic reaction. If any of this is taking place, while someone is using naltrexone, they must contact their doctor or seek medical assistance right away. Opioid addiction and alcohol addiction are different for each person, and there are numerous forms and methods of treatment available all throughout the United States. Medication-assisted treatment with Naltrexone is only but one option available, and some former opioid addicts and alcoholics have found it effective. However, because addiction is different for each addict, it is important to get the proper help, and medication-assisted treatment will not always be the right option for everyone.