Naltrexone vs Naloxone | Inland Detox

naltrexone VS naloxone

Opioids and opiates are prescription medications that are used to treat moderate to severe pain. Although, they can be helpful for pain management, because of the way they make you feel and the properties they have, they are extremely addictive and often abused.

If you are addicted to opioids or opiates and are going through treatment, an opioid antagonist is commonly used to block the opioid receptors which reduces the effects and feelings produced by the drug.

Naltrexone and Naloxone (Narcan) are both opioid antagonists that are used to treat opioid addiction. They work in the brain by preventing the feelings of pain relief, euphoria or other effects that opioids or opiates can cause.

Inland Detox’s drug treatment and recovery program works to help clients detox comfortably from drugs or alcohol in a safe, relaxing environment with the support of our staff members. Part of the detox process can involve the use of medications such as Naltrexone or Naloxone.

What is Naltrexone?

What is Naltrexone? Intramuscular extended release Naltrexone is a prescription drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is used to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD). It is a medication assisted treatment option that can be prescribed by a medical practitioner or physician.

Naltrexone is available as an extended-release intramuscular injectable for either opioid addiction or alcohol addiction, or a pill form for alcohol use disorder. It works by blocking the opioid receptors and decreasing the feelings that opioids cause, making it easier to decrease the dosage of medication with the goal to eventually stop using altogether.

“A Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) is required for the long acting injectable formulation to ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks. The pill form can be taken daily for AUD, but the extended-release injectable formulation is approved for the treatment of OUD.” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2020).

It’s important to understand that Naltrexone is better taken in combination with other treatments for addiction. Some other methods that can be used are counseling and other behavioral methods.

What is Naloxone (Narcan)?

Naltrexone vs Naloxone | Addiction | Inland Detox

Naloxone is a prescription medication that is used strictly to treat an opioid overdose and acts as an opioid antagonist. It reverses and blocks the effects that opioids cause in the body, including slowed or stopped breathing during an episode of an opioid overdose. The medication can restore your breathing to a normal state, but it does not have any effect on you if you have opioids or opiates in your system, and does not treat an opioid use disorder.

“Naloxone comes in three FDA-approved forms: injectable, auto-injectable, and prepackaged nasal spray. These FDA-approved naloxone devices have been shown to produce substantially higher blood levels of naloxone than the improvised nasal spray.” (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019)

Naltrexone for pain, Naloxone (Narcan) should be used if you or a loved one are suffering from an opioid overdose or if there is an expected overdose. It can be used in the form of a nasal spray, or injected under the skin, or into the muscles or veins. Typically, it is injected with a syringe primarily by a physician or medical professional. The nasal spray delivery system was created in order to provide an easy to use product for non-medical professionals.

Opioids can cause side effects such as drowsiness, mental fog, nausea, and constipation. They may also cause slowed breathing, which can lead to overdose deaths.

Naltrexone Vs Naloxone, What is the Difference?

Naltrexone and Naloxone (Narcan) may sound very similar, but the two drugs do have some differences when it comes to how they react in the body. Both Naltrexone and Naloxone work by crossing the blood-brain barriers and changing the opioid receptors in the central nervous system.

Both of these medications prevent opioids from binding to receptors in the central nervous system, but their similarities end at that. Naloxone (Narcan) takes a shorter time frame to begin working, compared to Naltrexone which takes longer to start working. Naltrexone can be prescribed in a pill form, and Naloxone will not work if it is swallowed.

Naloxone can be used in serious situations of opioid overdose, and save a person’s life if administered quickly by being injected or inhaled from the nasal spray. Naloxone acts very quickly in the body and can reverse the symptoms of overdose almost immediately. Someone who is suffering from an overdose, will become conscious again and begin breathing normally.

Naltrexone works much slower than Naloxone and cannot save someone who is overdosing from an opioid or opiate. This drug works by helping you if you are dealing with an opioid addiction problem and is one of the most successful forms of medically- assisted treatment (MAT).

Like Naloxone, Naltrexone is an opioid receptor and blocks the effects that occur when you take an opioid or opiate. It works much slower and lasts longer than Naloxone because it is used to treat addiction rather than an incident of overdose. It works by preventing cravings for drugs while you are going through treatment or rehab for an opioid addiction.

For further information on Naltrexone for alcohol and drug addiction side effects, you can read an addition article low dose Naltrexone side effects.

Addiction to Opioids or Opiates

When taken properly and as prescribed, opioids can be useful in treating moderate to severe pain. When you begin using the medication for other purposes, for longer than needed or at an increased dose than prescribed, it could indicate that you have a problem with this drug.

If you are suffering from an addiction to opioids or opiate drugs, you will develop cravings for the medication or drug that make your life challenging to the point that you no longer enjoy other things.

Despite the struggles that come with a substance use disorder, there is addiction recovery help available at Inland Detox. Our drug and alcohol rehab program treats the entire family, focusing on drug and alcohol prevention and the necessary resources to treat your addiction.

Signs of Addiction

Naltrexone vs Naloxone | Pills | Inland Detox

Not everyone will experience the same signs or symptoms of addiction, but below are the common ones that patients report:

  • Experiencing financial hardship
  • Hanging around different groups of people or changing friends
  • Avoiding time with family and friends or spending time alone
  • Missing important appointments
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Attending work or school on an erratic schedule
  • Lack of personal hygiene including changing clothes, brushing teeth or bathing
  • Feeling sad or overly tired
  • Eating less or more than normal
  • Being overly energetic, talking fast and saying things that don’t make sense
  • Feeling cranky or nervous
  • Getting into trouble with the law
  • Quickly changing moods
  • Strange sleeping patterns

Addiction Treatment and Rehab at Inland Detox

Inland Detox in California is a luxury drug and alcohol treatment center and rehab specializing in alcohol, drug, or prescription drug addiction. Our facility is located in the beautiful hills of Temecula Valley, located on 2.5 acres of peaceful bliss.

Our professional staff include highly trained counselors and clinicians that are available around the clock to ensure our clients are safely treated and comfortable during their stay with us. Our founders and staff have a host of experience in the drug treatment process, ensuring that you are cared for by professionals who care about only one thing: your recovery.

The goal at Inland Detox is to help clients get their life back that was taken by their substance use disorder, allowing them to become drug free and prevent relapse. Programs like ours are hard to find, as our staff truly care about each client, giving them individualized care at all times.

Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need for yourself or someone you love. Call our admissions specialists anytime at (888) 739-8296, or enter your contact information below to request a member of our team to follow up with you as soon as possible.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (15, Sept 2020) Naltrexone.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, September). Naloxone.