What is Naltrexone & What Does It Do?
Naltrexone (also known by brand names Revia or Vivitrol) is a prescription drug approved by the FDA for use in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of opioid use disorders and alcohol use disorders. Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist that works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain to reduce opioid cravings and feelings of euphoria or sedative effects associated with drug use.
Is Naltrexone Addictive?
Naltrexone helps prevent opioids from working in the body (reversing the effects) and is also used to quell cravings in alcoholics. It is non-habit forming, meaning it is not addictive or a drug of abuse.
Naltrexone should be implemented as a part of a complete treatment program, including behavioral therapies, counseling, lifestyle changes, and compliance monitoring. According to WebMD, people should not use naltrexone if they are taking an opiate or methadone as they could experience sudden withdrawal symptoms.
Other Naltrexone Uses
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, low doses of naltrexone could decrease the symptoms of several other diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and complex regional pain syndrome. The drug can act as an anti-inflammatory agent, effectively treating these diseases.
Side Effects Of Naltrexone
Common side effects associated with naltrexone use are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty sleeping
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Increased anxiety
Less frequent side effects are:
- Increased energy
- Decreased appetite
- Delayed ejaculation
- Skin rashes
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizzy spells
Since the drug can make individuals dizzy, users should not drive, use heavy equipment or machinery, or perform any activity that requires them to be alert until they know that they can do so safely.
How Does Naltrexone Treat Addiction?
Naltrexone works in three ways: blocking the effects of the opiate, decreasing the desire for alcohol or opiates, and interfering with a continued desire to keep drinking in case of a drinkingvapeprocbd.
History of Naltrexone
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved naltrexone on April 13, 2006, to treat alcohol dependence. The drug is marketed by Alkermes and sold under the brand name Vivitrol. In October 2010, the FDA approved the same drug for monthly injections for those in recovery from opioid addictions.
Clinical trials on the drug were conducted from February 2002 to September 2003 with 899 people in a random, double-blind study that included the use of placebos. The results indicated a 25 percent drop in heavy drinking with 380 mg of the drug and a 17 percent drop in heavy drinking with a 190 mg dosage. Researchers reported that the drug was well tolerated and effective during the six months of treatment.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nearly three-quarters of opioid users also regularly drink alcohol. In one study, 57 percent of 5 million users who self-reported taking illegal opioids admitted that they were also problem drinkers. Furthermore, if individual in alcohol recovery begins drinking again, they are also likely to relapse into opioid use as well. Thus, naltrexone offers great potential for addressing both issues simultaneously. Researchers expressed their pleasure at the test results and the possible ramifications for several populations, including those coming through the criminal justice system who were working to become stable members of the community. Learn more about Nalterxone.
The naltrexone implant, which is surgically inserted into a person, releases a continuous dose of the medication and thus eliminates the problem of missing doses. However, the person must get a new implant every few months. While not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these implants show promise for future weeklyclassy.