Naltrexone, sold under the brand name ReVia, is a medication designed to help treat opioid addiction as well as alcoholism.
It was first synthesized in the 60s and approved by the FDA in 1984 for the treatment of heroin, morphine, and oxycodone addiction. It is now also used to treat alcohol addiction.
In this article, we will be discussing exactly how naltrexone works to treat both opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder.
We will also cover how the medication is taken and answer some of the most commonly asked questions that you may have. Let’s get started.
What is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone is a medication used to treat alcoholism and to block the effects of opioids such as heroin.
It works as an opioid antagonist, meaning that it works by blocking the receptors that are activated by opioids.
Naltrexone, often sold under the name REVIA, can be taken either as a tablet or an injection that lasts a month.
US Brand Name: REVIA (oral tablets) and Vivitrol (monthly injection)
How Naltrexone Works
Naltrexone falls under a class of medications called opioid antagonists. Opioid antagonists work by blocking the opioid receptors.
When activated, opioid receptors are responsible for producing euphoric feelings, pain relief, and addiction. Drugs that can activate these receptors include heroin, morphine, and alcohol – just to name a few.
By blocking these receptors, the medication stops the effects of addictive substances on the brain and helps to manage cravings as well as reduce the reward felt by taking these drugs.
Naltrexone can be taken in two forms: either as daily tablets, or as injections once a month.
Naltrexone for treatment of opioid addiction
Naltrexone was approved for the treatment of opioid dependence in 1984 by the FDA.
It is used to treat addiction to morphine, heroin, and other opioids. It works by blocking the effects of these drugs so that even if they are taken, they are not felt as strongly (or at all).
Naltrexone treatment works by reducing the craving for opioid drugs and is often used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
This means that if you are seeking help for your opioid addiction, it will likely be recommended that you take this medication along with counseling and other therapies.
Naltrexone for alcohol dependence
Naltrexone can also be used in the treatment of alcohol dependence.
It is thought that one of the ways that mediates alcohol dependence is by acting on the opioid receptors in the brain.
When activated, these receptors make us feel euphoria, and can easily lead to dependence and addiction.
By blocking these receptors using Naltrexone – a class of medications called opioid antagonists or opioid blockers – studies have found that this medication could help reduce the addictive effects of alcohol by minimizing the dopamine released in our brains when we drink.
Treatment with Naltrexone differs from other ways used to treat alcohol use disorder.
Other medications such as Antabuse work by making you feel unwell when you drink alcohol, for example, while this medication simply stops the euphoric effects of alcohol.
How Does Naltrexone Feel?
Most people will not notice any changes in how they feel when taking Naltrexone. However, they may feel fewer cravings for substances such as opioids or alcohol.
If someone who is taking Naltrexone takes opioid drugs such as methadone, heroin, or morphine, they will not experience the same pleasurable effects.
This is also true of alcohol, making the experience less desirable and thereby helping people manage their addiction.
Some people may have adverse effects to treatment with Naltrexone. Some side effects may include abdominal pain, muscle pain, joint pain, and allergic reactions.
Although these are rare, it is important to discuss any concerns with a healthcare professional
How Naltrexone Is Taken
Naltrexone can be taken in two ways: either as a tablet, or as an injection.
Naltrexone tablets, sold under the brand name REVIA, are usually taken once a day. They help to reduce the euphoric effects of opioids and alcohol, making them less addictive.
If you struggle to take medication daily or are at higher risk of relapse, doctors may recommend the injection which is sold under the name Vivitrol.
This injection is given once a month, and works by slowly acting on opioid receptors and blocking them – meaning you do not have to take your medication daily.
Naltrexone is an FDA-Approved medication used to treat opioid use disorder and alcohol addictions.
It works by blocking the receptors that become activated by these drugs, reducing the eutrophic effects felt by these drugs.
It also helps to manage drug cravings. If you are considering this medication as an option, it is important to discuss it with your healthcare professional.
If they deem it appropriate, they will prescribe you daily tablets or a monthly injection to help manage addiction and regain control of your life.
Naltrexone Uses FAQ
What is naltrexone used for?
Naltrexone is used to treat opioid addiction as well as alcoholism.
It helps to reduce both the cravings and the euphoric effects of morphine, codeine, heroin, as well as alcohol.
It also blocks the effects of these drugs, making them appropriate for use to prevent relapse.
Is naltrexone good for anxiety?
Naltrexone is not usually used for the treatment of anxiety. It works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain, making them an effective treatment option for opioid and alcohol addiction, but not anxiety.
What is the other name for naltrexone?
Naltrexone is sold under two different brand names, ReVia (the tablet form) and Vivitrol (injectable form). Other names include Depade.
What does naltrexone do to the brain?
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. This means that it binds to and blocks the opioid receptors found in the brain.
This helps to reduce cravings for opioid drugs as well as alcohol. It also means that when these drugs are consumed, they do not produce the same euphoric feelings – helping to mitigate their addictive nature.