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What Is Naltrexone?

A number of patients are familiar with the drug named naltrexone, popularly known as Revia or Vivitrol. Naltrexone is a drug used as an addiction treatment for alcohol and opiate abuse. This drug is used to treat alcohol dependence and to prevent opioid abuse relapse after going through detoxification in a substance abuse center.


Generic name for the brand name drug called Vivitrol, Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, is used to treat people with alcohol or opioid usage addictions. An opioid antagonist is a drug that is used to block the effects of opiates in the brain. An opioid is sometimes also known as a narcotic. Naltrexone is used as a part of the addiction treatment program for alcohol or drug dependence that should also include counselling, lifestyle changes, support and motivation. Naltrexone will tend to reduce the urge to drink and tends to make the road to recovery much easier. Naltrexone doesn’t, however, decrease the effects of alcohol you have consumed.

After a patient achieves a state where he/she is no longer dependent on the drug, ironically, the problem of addiction stays there. Usage of a drug like naltrexone, which works as an opioid antagonist, helps patients to maintain sobriety by blocking opioid receptors using opioid agonist drugs. In the case of patients who are alcohol addicts, their bodies may produce enormous amounts of naturally occurring opioids called endorphins. These endorphins tend to work at the opioid receptors in the brain and are linked with the ecstatic effects of alcohol in the body. As a result of blocking the opioid receptors using naltrexone, the pleasurable feelings associated with the usage of alcohol are lessened and urge the alcohol dependent people to demonstrate fewer drinking days and increased sobriety.

Some forms of this medicine may also help those who suffer from tobacco addiction, autism, impulse control disorders such as gambling, etc.


Naltrexone is used, coupled with patient’s counselling and therapy and endless support from friends and family, to help people who have stopped consuming alcohol and other narcotics. Naltrexone is a drug not to be used to treat people who are still consuming street drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Naltrexone belongs to a class of medications called opiate antagonists. The works on the principle of decreasing the alcohol craving and blocking the effects of opiate medications.


Naltrexone shouldn’t be used if the patient is still taking drugs or suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms or if any other opioid medicine has been consumed in the past two weeks.


Do not start taking naltrexone if:

  • You are not allergic to the medicine
  • You are witnessing drug or alcohol addiction withdrawal symptoms
  • You have consumed any other opioid medicine in the past 2 weeks (Medicines such as Fentanyl, OxyContin,Vicodin, etc.)
  • You have consumed methadone or buprenorphine in the past 10 days.

Be sure to take all precautionary measures and do a lot of reading before you start taking this medicine. Ensure that your doctor is well aware if you possess:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Blood-clotting or bleeding disorder

The results are not known if this medicine will harm an unborn baby. It is better to let your doctor know if you are pregnant or planning to have a child. Naltrexone can pass into the breast milk and may harm nursing a baby. Naltrexone is not approved to be used by people under the age of 18.


Naltrexone comes as a tablet to be taken orally at home or under supervision in a drug detox center. When the medicine is taken at home, it is usually taken once a day with or without food. When naltrexone is taken in a drug detox center, it is taken once a day, once every other day, once every third day or once every day except Sundays. Do not take this medication on your own until it is prescribed by an expert. Follow the instructions given on the prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or your pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand.

This medicine is only useful when it is take as part of an addiction treatment coupled with counselling and endless support. It is vital that you attend all counselling sessions, support group gatherings, informative programs or any other treatment recommended by your doctor. Naltrexone is a medication to help you avoid using drugs and alcohol but it doesn’t prevent or relieve the symptoms that may occur when the usage of such substances is stopped. Naltrexone will only help you to avoid drug or alcohol as long as you are consuming it. Continue taking the medicine even when you feel okay. Do not stop usage of the medicine until unless your doctor advises so.


Common side effects, that have occurred in a number of people, are:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Increased energy or being lethargic
  • Rash
  • Stomach cramps

Remember that your doctor has prescribed these medications because he/she judged that the benefits of the drug are far greater than the side effects.


Ensure that you get yourself checked if you are allergic to the drug before starting the medicine. This medicine may contain inactive substituents which can cause allergic reactions or other such problems. Ensure that your pharmacist or doctor is well aware of all your allergies. Make sure that your doctor knows your entire medical history, especially any type of opioid drug being used in the past 7-10 days.


If you are suffering through alcohol or opioid dependence, there are numerous medical solutions that can help you eradicate the addiction by following a medical detox. If you are unsure about the usage of naltrexone, our recovery members will be more than happy to help you. Head on to www.affinityrecover.com today and see how naltrexone can prove to be helpful in your journey.

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