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Naltrexone is a medication that is used for alcohol or opioid dependence. It is commonly sold under the brand names ReVia and Vivitrol, among others. This medication is particularly helpful during the process of medical detox.

On this article we will be taking a closer look at this drug: what it does and how it works. Here’s what you need to know about naltrexone.

What is Naltrexone and what is it for?

Naltrexone is a long-lasting and very potent opioid antagonist that has shown advantages over earlier opioid antagonists such as naloxone and nalorphine. It was first synthesized in 1963 by Metossian at Endo Laboratories, a small pharmaceutical company in New York City.

It was only in 1984 that it was approved for medical use in the United States. Nowadays it is widely used because of its effectiveness. The wholesale cost of tablets is about $0.74 per day.

Commonly taken by mouth, you can expect its effects to kick in within 30 minutes, because the drug will have to go through the digestive system first. It is also sometimes injected directly into the bloodstream—which unsurprisingly causes faster effects.

An opioid dependent person may take a few weeks before they experience a decreased desire for opioids.

Despite what many people believe, this is not suitable for those who want to quit smoking. It has no effect.

How does it work?

This medication works by blocking off the effects of drugs known as opiates and opioids. As you may already know, both opiates and opioids are also known as narcotics. These drugs are painkillers, and they are beneficial in that way—but they also create euphoric feelings in the user, which is why they may get addicted.

Some people will take opiates or opioids for recreational purposes, and that’s how they become physically dependent.

Physical dependence means that their body can no longer go for prolonged periods without taking the drug. A person will crave for opioids if they have been abusing it for a while. They will go through withdrawal.

But naltrexone comes in and competes with these drugs for opioid receptors in the brain, blocking every other drug and keeping their effects at bay. Morphine, heroin, and codeine will all be blocked once naltrexone is taken. You can expect that the patient will still go through withdrawal, but it will be much easier to manage, especially with medical professionals nearby.

This is why naltrexone is usually taken as a part of a comprehensive drug addiction treatment program. It works as an effective component of medical detox. But the patient must also receive behavioral therapy in order to address the mental and emotional effects of addiction.

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Through drug rehab, a patient can reclaim their sobriety once more. And what makes naltrexone so effective is that it occupies the same receptors without making the person addicted to it.

It can reduce their urge to drink or take drugs. It can help them stay abstinent. And unlike other drugs, it is not habit forming. It is not a drug of abuse.

However, there are side effects like nausea, headache, fatigue, etc. So be sure to follow your doctor’s prescription carefully when taking this drug.

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