Detoxing with Naltrexone


Naltrexone is a drug most frequently used for treating opioid addictions, particularly as part of inpatient drug rehab centers. It blocks the adverse effects of opioids and thus cuts downs on drug cravings. Additionally, it is also used to recover from alcohol dependence. Naltrexone is in the class of drugs called opiate antagonists. As one might infer, this drug antagonizes opiates, prohibiting the brain from feeling the effects of the abused opiate; it even eliminates the desire to take opiates.

Naltrexone should not be used alone but rather in harmony with a full drug rehab program that hopefully consists of community support groups, counseling and treatment methods as recommended by an informed doctor or a specialist in addiction treatment.

It’s crucial to cease opioid use for at least 7 to 10 days before taking naltrexone because it triggers withdrawal symptoms for those physically dependent on opioids, including methadone. If this advice is disregarded, a withdrawal is likely to occur. The length of time varies per person depending on the type of opioid abuse, the dosage and the duration.

Don’t go into recovery thinking you’ll get out quick and easy. The truth is, recovering from any serious addiction takes a lot of patience and time. A quick process is transitory and short-lived. Despite this, there is a plethora of addiction treatment in existence in most areas full of medical treatment, mental treatment, community support, familial support, and individual therapy just to name a few. Reach out to us today and find the best treatment center near you that fits your needs best.

Uses of Naltrexone

Unlike other opioid addiction medication like buprenorphine and methadone, which help reduce cravings, naltrexone seeks to eliminate the cravings. Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and even when the users do take opioids, they do not feel the effects. This acts as a deterrent from using again as it no longer produces the desired effects with naltrexone.

How Does Naltrexone Help Addiction Treatment?

As opposed to stimulant drugs, opiates offer the feeling of tranquility and relief from pain. Naltrexone blocks such feelings and helps the user become accustomed to a drug-free mindset, better enabling the patient to develop a healthy new lifestyle.

Despite the fact that naltrexone is often used to treat opioid addictions, it doesn’t guarantee a stop to cravings. It is because of this that naltrexone is usually best for those who have already completed the withdrawal stage and are motivated to continue the recovery process. If, while being administered naltrexone, you are still experiencing opioid cravings, tell your doctor or addiction treatment specialist immediately.

After taking naltrexone, you will likely be more sensitive than you were before to small doses of opioids. Upon completion of your medicated treatment, you should be especially careful not to take any drugs in order to avoid complications. Severe complications and overdose are possibilities from a slip back into heroin or other opioids.

How is Naltrexone Administered?

This drug usually comes in three forms: tablet, injectable, and an implant device. Naltrexone tablet brand names are Revia and Depade. For extended-release injectables, the brand name is Vivitrol.

When administering naltrexone, tablet strength and the amount are decided according to the needs of the patient. For correct consumption, follow your doctor’s instructions. Naltrexone can be taken in your home or in a drug rehabilitation center. If taking the tablet at home, it might be a good idea to have a family member or a close friend administer the dose for you. That way, there is another set of eyes to make sure the conditions are correct. Never adjust your amount of medication unless directed by your doctor.

A different form of naltrexone is an implant shaped like a small pellet and inserted into the lower abdominal wall. The implanting process is eased with a local anesthetic. Upon implementation, the implant secretes a steady amount of naltrexone in the body for about 3 to 6 months. Unlike tablet naltrexone, which can be administered at home, implants can only be done in inpatient treatment settings so as to watch for possible side effects.

The third option is an extended-release injectable. Once a month, the naltrexone is injected into a muscle. Only a doctor or nurse in a clinical setting should carry out this procedure and is thus imperative to make regular appointments and dosages so as to achieve the biggest benefit. Not long after administering the medication, there may be some pain, red blotches, swelling, or bruising around the injection area. This is normal but still, should be notified about to your doctor if it continues or worsens within two weeks.

Important to note: naltrexone can cause side effects. During this time your body is adjusting to the drug but once it does, the side effects will subside. Minor side effects may be:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Some abdominal pain
  • Muscle or joint pain

Before starting naltrexone make sure to speak with your health care provider or addiction treatment specialist about possible complications and side effects. This provides you the opportunity to resolve any questions or concerns before starting the medication.

Naltrexone Interactions

At times, naltrexone does not mix well with other medications, including those of the over-the-counter variety, prescriptions, supplements and herbal remedies.

Some drugs that have been known to cause complications with naltrexone are:

  • Opioids
  • Methadone
  • Specific diarrhea, cough, and pain medicines
  • Disulfiram
  • Thioridazine

It will prove beneficial to keep an up-to-date list of your current medications and talk with your doctor about how your drugs will mix together before taking naltrexone. Again, it’s important to tell your doctor right away if you experience any adverse side effects from naltrexone.

Where is Naltrexone Available?

Only a doctor’s prescription can get you naltrexone. If you’re found to be a good candidate for naltrexone, your doctor or addiction treatment specialist will curate a recovery plan that caters especially to you. The medicating will be conducted in either an inpatient facility or in your home depending on the type of naltrexone. While naltrexone can be very beneficial, this medication-assisted therapy should unquestionably be used in harmony with a drug abuse program to solidify your journey towards a lasting sobriety.

If you or a loved one is grappling with an opioid addiction, medically-assisted recovery programs like those that use naltrexone might prove valuable. Speak live to an addiction specialist to start the next chapter of your life! Call us today at  (877) 262-6566.

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