Naltrexone Drug Medication Overview
Naltrexone is medicine that helps to block the opioid receptor, that causes both feelings and pain relief that are associated with opioid or alcohol use. It can be prescribed by your doctor and administered in either a pill form for AUD or as an extended release intramuscular injectable form for either AUD or OUD.
What is Naltrexone Used For?
Naltrexone is a drug used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It helps to prevent relapse in a patient who have become dependent on opioids or alcohol and then quit using them.
“Intramuscular extended release Naltrexone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat both opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) option.” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2020)
It is generally used as part of a treatment plan for someone suffering from drug abuse and it shouldn’t be used with a person who is currently using drugs or drinking alcohol, as this could cause immediate withdrawal symptoms to occur.
At Inland Detox, we can help curb your AUD or OUD with the use of Naltrexone for pain at our rehab treatment center. Our well-trained clinicians can help administer this drug to ease your discomfort when quitting drugs or alcohol. If you are struggling and need addiction treatment help, call or email one of our staff right away.
How does Naltrexone Work?
Naltrexone is part of a group of drugs referred to as “opiate antagonists” and works by decreasing the urge to use opiates or alcohol and prevents the effects of them. It works best when it is used in conjunction with other recovery methods such as lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, or counseling. Additional information on Naltrexone vs Naloxone is also available.
How is Naltrexone used for Alcohol Use Disorder?
When using Naltrexone for an AUD it’s important that you are not dependent on alcohol or any other substances that can interfere with this drug. Typically, doctors will prescribe you this medication when you have fully completed a detox program or have detoxed completely from alcohol. If you are still using alcohol while taking Naltrexone, it could cause uncomfortable side effects such as nausea or vomiting.
The way that this medication works is by binding to the endorphin receptors in the body and it decreases the feelings and effects of alcohol. It can decrease the amount of alcohol you consume along with the cravings associated with AUD. When you stop drinking, this drug can help you to remain sober and the treatment will last anywhere from three to four months.
How is Naltrexone used for Opiate Use Disorder?
When you begin to take Naltrexone for your OUD, you should be sure to wait at least 7 days after using a short-acting opioid and 10-14 days after using a long-acting opioid, to be the safest. It’s essential to not use any other substances while taking this medication including other opioids, illicit drugs, alcohol, other sedatives, tranquilizers, or other drugs.
If you discontinue using Naltrexone and then begin using opioids again, there’s a chance you will have a reduced tolerance to them. This can cause life-threatening effects to occur if you take a similar dose or lower dose than you used in the past, because your body is not “used” to it.
There can be complications and health concerns when taking Naltrexone if other drugs are taken in combination with it. It can both increase the risk for side effects and change the way that the drug works in your body. Some medications that could potentially interact with Naltrexone include diarrhea medication (such as diphenoxylate), dextromethorphan, opioid pain, or cough relievers (such as hydrocodone or codeine) disulfiram, or thioridazine.
Taking Naltrexone can also interfere with laboratory testing including drug tests, which could cause false or negative results. It’s crucial to keep a list of the current medications that you are taking and share it with your doctor before taking Naltrexone.
Health Risks and Concerns with Naltrexone
There are common side effects as well as serious side effects that can occur when taking Naltrexone. Below are the health concerns that could arise when taking this drug.
Side Effects of Naltrexone
Common Naltrexone for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Side Effects may include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Cold symptoms
- Muscle cramps
- Painful joints
- Decreased appetite
Serious Side Effects of Naltrexone
There can be some adverse, low dose Naltrexone side effects, when using Naltrexone that include:
- Severe reactions at the injection site such as intense pain, lumps, swelling, blisters, scabbing, or an open wound
- Potential overdose of opioid use
- Liver damage or hepatitis
- Depressed mood
- Serious liver problems
- Serious allergic reactions such as feeling dizzy, skin rash, swelling in the face, trouble breathing or wheezing, or chest pain
Before Using Naltrexone
There are specific situations and medical conditions that can cause adverse reactions in a patient who takes Naltrexone, which makes it extremely important to mention the following to your doctor before taking:
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant
- Any liver problems, use of illegal drugs, kidney problems, hemophilia, or other problems with bleeding, or other medical conditions
- Being treated currently for OUD or AUD
- If you are allergic to naltrexone or any of the ingredients or the liquid used to mix the extended-release naltrexone
- All medications, prescriptions and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplement that you are taking
- It is important for practitioners to know if patients are currently taking any opioid-containing medicines for pain, cough, colds, or diarrhea
Opioid Drugs and Alcohol Treatment at Inland Detox
It can be extremely dangerous to detox from Benzodiazepines (opioids) and if it is not supervised, it could be potentially life-threatening. The staff at Inland Detox understand how hard it is to stop using drugs or alcohol, including prescription drugs.
At our facility, we are highly educated and have many years of experience, that we use to help our clients in the grips of addiction. We are prepared to treat your prescription drug abuse or alcohol abuse problem in a safe, calm, and relaxing environment. Our staff uses Naltrexone treatment for those that are suffering from either OUD or AUD.
Amenities at Inland
Our rehab clinic offers comprehensive and well-rounded care for all our clients who attend our program. Some of the specific amenities we offer at Inland include:
- Individual counseling
- Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation training
- Medical support
- Life skills education
- Group therapy
- Coping skills training
- Follow-up and aftercare services
- Family counseling
- Participation in local AA and NA meetings
- Addiction education
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol use disorder and are looking for treatment, specifically with Naltrexone, please reach out and tell one of our care coordinators right away. Our admissions staff can help determine if you are eligible for treatment and verify your insurance for you. Call 888-739-8296 for more information.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020, Sept 15). Naltrexone.