Naltrexone for Alcohol or Drug Dependence
Naltrexone is available in pill form. Vivitrol is taken as a shot (injection) into a muscle (intramuscular) once a month.
How It Works
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that interferes with the part of the brain involved in producing the pleasure you get from drinking alcohol or taking other drugs.
Why It Is Used
Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol or opioid drug dependence. It reduces the pleasurable effects of alcohol and helps block the effects of narcotic (opioid) drugs, such as heroin. It may help reduce your cravings for opioid drugs.
How Well It Works
Naltrexone can help prevent drug cravings and relapse, but you still need other treatments, such as counseling, to help you recover from drug addiction.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
This medicine will cause withdrawal symptoms if you are taking opioids drugs. If you have taken opioids in the past 7 to 10 days, talk to your doctor before taking naltrexone.
You might need to take naltrexone for several months to effectively prevent relapse.
Vivitrol, a once-a-month injection of this medicine, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat drinking problems. This form of naltrexone can be useful for people who have a hard time deciding whether to take the medicine each day.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory about injectable forms of naltrexone. You may have a skin reaction at the injection site, the place where the shot is given. Call your doctor if you notice any skin change at the injection site, such as swelling, tenderness, redness, or pain, that does not improve or gets worse within 2 weeks.
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