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WHAT IS NALTREXONE?

Naltrexone maintenance expert, dr. Victor Shubaev, answers your questions about Naltrexone

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is pure, total opioid receptors antagonist.

What does “antagonist” mean?

It’s a blocker; it’s a protector and a “guard” having a high affinity to opioid receptors. Antagonist has a high chemical similarity to opioid receptors and it “sticks” to them not letting drugs substances getting near.

What does “pure opioid antagonist” mean?

It means that it doesn’t have any agonist characteristics nor stimulates opioid receptors in any way and doesn’t make any “buzz” effect.

What does “a total opioid antagonist” mean?

Total means that it affects all 4 groups of opioid receptors, in the forefront to Mju and Kappa receptors, which are responsible for “getting high” as well as physical and psychological effects of drugs.  They are responsible for forming dependency to opiate drugs. In such a way naltrexone protects all groups of opioid receptors from drugs, not leading to any kind of specific sensations. Naltrexone was invented in 1963th year. The pioneer, inventors, makers of this medication was American company Dupon pharmaceuticals. After enormous research efforts, they have made this pharmacological substance based on poppy seed.

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Naltrexone blocks the effects opioids have on the brain and prevents the feeling of getting high.

Naltrexone will trigger withdrawal symptoms if you are currently physically dependent on opiate drugs. It’s important to refrain from taking opioids for a minimum of 7-14 (depending on the type of opioid you use)  days before taking Naltrexone to reduce the risk of a withdrawal "cold turkey".

Recovering from an addiction to opioids takes time and patience, as it’s rather slow process. But with the help of medications like Naltrexone, you will have support every step of the way.

Uses of Naltrexone

Naltrexone works differently than other types of medication used in opioid dependency treatment. Naltrexone often eliminates any desire to take opioids. By blocking these opioid receptors, Naltrexone users do not experience the euphoric and sedative effects of taking opioids.

Naltrexone does not cause any withdrawals or cravings when you stop taking it.

Oftentimes, opioids will give you a “high” or “rush” feeling – a feeling of contentment and pain relief. When taking naltrexone, these feelings will be blocked. Over time, you will regain a drug-free state of mind, allowing you to focus on developing a healthier lifestyle.

Although Naltrexone is commonly used to treat an opioid addiction, it may not stop drug cravings. For this reason, Naltrexone is usually best suited for those who have completed the opiate detox and are motivated to continue on in the recovery process.

You may be more sensitive to lower doses of opioids after taking Naltrexone, so you should abstain from taking any drugs at the conclusion of your medication-assisted treatment. Falling back on heroin or any other opioids could cause serious complications, including an overdose.

How is Naltrexone Administered?

Naltrexone is available in three forms: tablet, injectable and implant device. Common brand names for the tablet are ReVia and Depade. The injectable extended-release form of the drug is often sold under the name Vivitrol or Naltrexone in oil.

Naltrexone is most commonly administered in a tablet form; however, the injectable and implant device options are gaining momentum.

Tablet-form doses of Naltrexone will vary by person, strength of the medicine and the amount of medicine required each day. Follow your doctor’s instructions for consumption information. If you’re taking the tablet form at home, it may be helpful to have a family member or caregiver administer the doses as scheduled.

Another form of Naltrexone is a type of implant used for treatment. Implants are shaped like small pellets and are inserted into the lower abdominal wall. Insertion is completed with a local anesthetic. Once implanted, the device releases a consistent amount of naltrexone in the body for approximately 3-12 months.

The medication can also be administered through an extended-release injectable. Each month, Naltrexone in oil is injected into a muscle. It can only be administered by a doctor or nurse in a clinic setting, so it’s important to receive doses regularly in order to achieve the greatest benefit. Shortly after receiving the medication, you may notice pain, redness, bruising or swelling near the injection site. While this is common, be sure to notify your doctor if it does not go away or gets worse within two weeks.

Videos on Opioid Detox and Naltrexone Implants

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Naltrexone injectable – easy to use

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Quitting was easy


Second 12 months Naltrexone implant experience

Patient from Manchester, UK