Is Naltrexone Addictive?
Is naltrexone addictive? Is naltrexone a narcotic? How does naltrexone work? These are all questions people commonly have about this prescription medication. It’s important to understand how naltrexone works if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to opioids or alcohol. Naltrexone is a promising medication to help combat opioid addiction as well as alcohol use disorder. Despite the benefits of naltrexone, it still requires comprehensive treatment.
Why are opioids so dangerous? These drugs bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system which cause a euphoric high, but also respiratory depression. That respiratory depression can cause a coma or death during an overdose. There is no way to know what’s being bought on the streets, either. Increasingly, many products are laced with fentanyl, which is highly potent and deadly. Opioids are problematic not just because of respiratory depression, but also because they’re extremely physically and psychologically addictive. Once someone takes opioids, whether it’s prescription painkillers or heroin, there are certain chemicals released in the brain that trigger a very rapid descent into addiction. It’s easy and takes very little time for many people to lose control of their intake of opiods.
Dealing with an opioid addiction typically requires a comprehensive treatment program, because of the complexity of addiction. Naltrexone is one potential component of a treatment program. Naltrexone is a prescription medicine that can be used in medication-assisted treatment or MAT. Naltrexone is FDA-approved to aid in opioid addiction as well as alcohol use disorder. This medication is available as a pill and also a once-monthly injection.
When someone takes naltrexone, it works by blocking the effects of opioids. It binds to the same receptors as prescription painkillers or heroin. If someone were to use drugs while on naltrexone, they wouldn’t feel the effects of the drugs. Naltrexone is classified as an opioid antagonist. There’s no way to get high from the use of naltrexone on its own. If someone tried to overcome the blocking effects of naltrexone with a high dose of opioids or alcohol, it could be and often is deadly. When opioids are taken with naltrexone, it can also trigger immediate withdrawal symptoms.
When someone is prescribed naltrexone they often take it in a monitored setting, such as at a drug treatment facility or in a clinic. It can be taken at home, but as was touched on above, it’s so important that it be used in conjunction with a behavioral treatment program that deals with the underlying issues contributing to addiction.
Do you have a substance use problem, or does your loved one? There are options available to you. Speak with us at The Recovery Village to learn more about the steps you can take to live a drug-free life. We have nationwide programs that are individualized. There isn’t one way to approach all addictions. You’re an individual, and your treatment plan should focus on that.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Have more questions about Naltrexone abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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