Naltrexone Implant for Alcohol and Opioid Addiction
Medication assisted treatment is treatment for addiction that includes the use of medication along with counseling and other support. Treatment that includes medication is often the best choice for opioid and alcohol addiction. Addiction is a disease. It cannot be cured, but it can be treated with medication, counseling, and support from family and friends. The goal of medication assisted treatment is to recover from addiction. It does not replace one addictive drug with another. It provides a safe controlled level of medication to overcome the use of a problem drug. Recovery is possible but it takes work.
Naltrexone is one of three medications commonly used to treat addiction. The other two are Methadone and Buprenorphine. Cost varies for these medications. You may need to take this into account when considering treatment options. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. It blocks the effect of alcohol and opioids at the brain receptor level. In combination with behavioral therapy, Naltrexone helps to reduce the cravings for alcohol, heroin, morphine, dilaudid, fentanyl, and oxycontin.
Naltrexone implants are a long acting formula. Implanted under the skin pellets slowly release Naltrexone over the course of three months. A short simple procedure is done in the medical office under local anesthesia.
Naltrexone is also available as a pill, or intramuscular injection. Daily tablets have a higher failure rate due to low compliance. Naltrexone muscular injections are painful and provide adequate levels for only one month. The 2014 systemic review published in the Drug and Alcohol Review examined 9 studies and found Naltrexone implants to be more effective than oral Naltrexone or placebo. After having the implant placed monthly medical monitoring is required. Patients need to continue in individual or group therapy as a part of recovery.
Naltrexone helps you avoid relapse. It is legal and taken under a doctor’s care. It is not just another drug to abuse. Naltrexone is produced under safe conditions and prescribed by a physician. There is no risk of getting tainted doses which can happen with street drugs. You can stop taking Naltrexone at any time without withdrawal or craving. It is not addictive.
If you are taking Naltrexone you cannot get high from opioids or alcohol because the medication blocks the effects. Sometimes people take large amounts of opioids to try and overcome this block. Please do not do this. It is very dangerous and can cause overdose or death.
Naltrexone may cause anxiety and deepen depression. Liver problems are rare but can occur. If you have a pre-existing liver condition your doctor should be notified. While taking the Naltrexone, you should not use other opioid medications such as pain medications, cough syrup, or alcohol. Naltrexone will stop these medications from working. You should inform your doctor or dentist you cannot have any medication that contain opioids.
While taking this medication, you should not use illegal drugs, drink alcohol, take sedatives or tranquilizers or any other medication that slow breathing. Taking any of the substances in large amounts along with Naltrexone can lead to overdose or death.