What Is Naltrexone Used For?

Naltrexone is a medication that is FDA-approved to treat alcohol addiction and opioid addiction. It can effectively block the euphoric effects of these substances and help reduce drug and alcohol cravings. Naltrexone, also known as ReVia and Vivitrol, is a medication that is FDA-approved as medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder and alcohol dependence.

What naltrexone can do:

  • block the effects of opioid drugs (including heroin)
  • block the effects of alcohol
  • reduce cravings for both alcohol and opioids
  • prevent a person from getting high

Unlike other medications for opioid use disorder, such as methadone and buprenorphine, Naltrexone is not an opioid medication.

Naltrexone is non-addictive, doesn’t lead to physical dependence, and therefore does not result in withdrawal with stopped use.

How Naltrexone Works

Naltrexone is a type of drug that’s known as an opioid antagonist. It blocks other opioids from activating receptors in the brain by occupying those receptors themselves.

Because of this, it can effectively block the euphoric and sedative effects of opiates and alcohol, which prevents a person from getting high.

Naltrexone should not be taken while a person is still actively drinking or using opioids. Individuals should be fully detoxed from all substances before starting Naltrexone.

Side Effects Of Naltrexone

Like any drug, naltrexone may cause some side effects. Side effects are generally mild and may go away with time as the body adjusts to the use of naltrexone.

Common side effects of naltrexone include:

  • stomach cramps
  • difficulty sleeping
  • anxiety
  • nausea or vomiting

Naltrexone Dosage

Naltrexone comes in a couple of dosage strengths. Dosing for naltrexone is determined based on the formulation, the intended use, and the prescribed frequency of use.

Common dosages include:

  • Tablet form: 50 mg naltrexone
  • Injection: 380 mg naltrexone
  • Implant: 200 mg naltrexone (not available in the U.S.)

Average Naltrexone Dose

The average dose of naltrexone differs depending on the form of naltrexone you are taking: naltrexone in pill/tablet form or naltrexone injection (Vivitrol).

The dose provided for individuals can vary according to personal factors, including the duration of opioid/alcohol dependence and overall health.

Read more about the average dose of Naltrexone.

By Manali