Naltrexone is an FDA-approved prescription medication that is typically used in medication-assisted treatment for both opioid addiction and alcohol abuse. It comes in both an injectable form and a pill form. The pill form, called ReVia or Depade, is taken once per day on a 50 mg tablet. The injectable version is an extended-release option, called Vivitrol, and is given once per month in a 380 mg dose.
How Naltrexone Works?
Naltrexone works on the body by blocking the sedative and euphoric effects of drugs like heroin, morphine, codeine, and any other opioid or opiate drugs or medications. Naltrexone binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and blocks any other opioids from binding as well. It also helps to reduce any cravings for opioid drugs.
When you take Naltrexone while there are any opioids left in your system, you will experience some pretty rough side effects, as it will almost instantly cause you to have withdrawal symptoms. It is always advised to detox for no less than 7-10 days from any opioid drugs before starting Naltrexone.
Naltrexone Abuse Potential
So many people have this same question in mind. Can Naltrexone be abused? As of now, there are no known risks for abuse or addiction that are associated with Naltrexone. When this drug is taken at any dose, it does not cause any sort of euphoric high. Other maintenance drugs such as Suboxone or Methadone do come with a risk of abuse and addiction, however.
Oftentimes, someone who comes into a rehab facility for addiction to one of these substances is given Naltrexone because it is nonaddictive. Suboxone and Methadone differ from Naltrexone because they activate the opioid receptors whereas Naltrexone binds to it and blocks those receptors from working.
Can You Overdose on Naltrexone?
While becoming addicted to Naltrexone is unlikely, the risk of an overdose is still absolutely possible. When you use opioids while you are taking Naltrexone, the mixture can be deadly. This is because Naltrexone blocks any euphoric effects of opioid drugs and medications, so when you try to take them while on Naltrexone you will not feel any effects.
Some people will continue to increase the dose so that they can get the high that they crave. This will lead to an overdose and/or death. While you don’t get high, you are still taking a lethal dose of whatever opioid you are ingesting.
It is also important to note that former drug users who used Naltrexone will now have a lowered tolerance to the drugs that once got them high. Oftentimes, when someone relapses, they will take the same dosage amount they were taking before they got sober and overdose that way as well.
Addiction Help with Naltrexone
If you think taking Naltrexone can be helpful for your opioid addiction and could be a helpful tool in getting and keeping yourself sober, you need to take steps beforehand so that it can be the most successful and you will not experience any symptoms.
We recommend you participate in a medical detox before starting this treatment so that you can ensure there are no drugs left in your system first. After starting your treatment, we recommend this medication being used in conjunction with other forms of addiction treatment like long-term treatment, therapy, and support groups.
Addiction is a very hard thing to face, but Naltrexone can be a helpful tool to getting you back on the right path. If you need help getting started, Garden State Treatment Center is here to help you overcome your challenges and change your life.