Advantages of Naltrexone
A Commonly Used Treatment Medication
Perhaps better known by its most popular brand name, Vivitrol, naltrexone is an opioid antagonist commonly used in long-term maintenance for heroin and prescription painkiller addiction. Although its extended-release injectable variation (Vivitrol) is achieving more and more notoriety because of its success in reducing opioid cravings, naltrexone is also available in generic pill form, usually in 50-milligram tablets to be taken once per day. It is also used to help those suffering from alcoholism. Vivitrol is administered through monthly injections and is absorbed through the system over a 30-day period. In addition to our music-based therapy approach, RU Encore offers expert medication-assisted treatment with naltrexone and other types of maintenance drugs.
It’s important to speak with your physician or treatment provider to determine if this drug is right for you. Prime candidates include, but are not limited to:
- Users who have already completed detox under the care of their physician or treatment professional and are ready for medication-assisted treatment
- Users who may be concerned about getting addicted to other maintenance drugs like methadone or buprenorphine
- Users concerned about intense cravings and the possibility of chronic relapse after their initial course of treatment
Naltrexone treatment regimens can last days, months or even years, depending upon patients’ progress and their need for relapse prevention.
How Does Naltrexone Work?
The Science Behind Naltrexone
Simply put, naltrexone blocks opioids from acting on the brain, removing the rewards-based effects of getting high from opiate-based drugs. The medication blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. It works differently in the body than buprenorphine and methadone, which activate opioid receptors in the body that suppress cravings. Naltrexone binds and blocks opioid receptors, and is reported to reduce opioid cravings. There is very limited abuse and diversion potential with naltrexone. Naltrexone may reduce cravings, but still yield certain withdrawal symptoms commonly associated with opioid recovery. Patients must be off opioids for a minimum of seven to 10 days prior to starting naltrexone.