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Naltrexone Implants for Alcohol & Opiate Addiction Treatment

Posted by arizonarecover on April 16, 2020

Addiction is not a disease that can be cured with a five or seven day medicinal course. It is a mental state where an addict cannot stop their body’s cravings for harmful drugs and alcohol, which in turn keeps eating their body from within. Although addiction of any sort is bad for health, opiate addiction is worse and needs even more time and patience to cure. Recovering from opiate addiction is never a quick process, and in cases where the treatment cannot proceed with counseling, patients are treated with the aid of medicines like naltrexone. In addition to this medicine, various treatments are in parallel to get better results. Sometimes, these treatments becomes the prerequisites before the body is injected with naltrexone

How does Naltrexone work? 

Opioids are made to give you the high and a feeling of rush that offers containment and relief. Naltrexone blocks these feelings and with time, the patient starts developing a drug-free state of mind and a focus of living a healthier lifestyle again. However, although naltrexone is used to treat opiate addiction, it is not known to stop drug cravings. 

This makes it crucial for the addicts to undergo a full-fledged drug addiction treatment process before taking treatment associated with naltrexone. Only the patients who have completed withdrawal stage, and are focused to continue the recovery process are best suited for this drug. Doctors sometimes review and approve only those patients who have successfully got rid of their drug addiction. Hence, it is advisable to follow the process rather jumping straight to the end level. 

After taking doses of naltrexone, patients may become more sensitive to even low amounts of opioids. Therefore, it is recommended to not consume any amount of opiate during or after the end of naltrexone-assisted treatment. Falling back on opiate or any other drug during the treatment can cause serious complications, like an overdose. Listen to your medical practitioner and control your addiction. You didn’t come this far for nothing. 

What is Naltrexone? 

Naltrexone is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved medication that restricts unusual cravings of opiates and alcohol in addicts. Ever since its approval in 1984, the medication has helped over thousands of addicts fight their addiction and lead their path to sobriety. The medication was first available to intake via mouth however, since 2006, it is also used as an implant injected directly into the patient’s muscles.

Before the naltrexone aided treatment begins, it is required that the patient must have undergone 7-10 days of total detoxification. If not, then the doctor would advise the patient to do so because the treatment would be rendered useless otherwise.

Is It Consumed or Injected? 

The commercially available form of naltrexone is very effective when taken as prescribed by the medical practitioner. However, certain physicians observed that the dosage form does pose a few obstacles at the very early stage of treatment. Physicians suggested that despite the dosage form of naltrexone, a long-acting naltrexone implant would be helpful to overcome some of the obstacles.

Implant pellets are inserted through the small incision made in the lower abdomen, and the incision site is closed. Over the course of time, the implant releases naltrexone into the body where it reaches the parts of the brain which are known to be associated with opiate and alcohol effects. Naltrexone blocks these receptors, inhibiting the patient’s desire to consume these substances and helping them to focus. This improves the effectiveness of the addiction counseling and treatment process. 

However, the FDA hasn’t approved the effectiveness and safety of the naltrexone implant. The pellets are produced under federal and state compounding guidance only if recommended by the patient’s physician. 

Naltrexone and Its Side Effects

Naltrexone, like any other medicinal drug, can interact with other medications and drugs to cause serious side effects. Before the treatment starts, patients are required to provide a list of any ongoing medications, including herbal remedies, pills, or any other drug. Some drugs can cause complications when taken with naltrexone. The list includes hydrocodone and codeine (narcotic drugs), disulfiram, diarrhea medications, and even cough medicines. Patients who are about to undergo naltrexone treatment must inform their physician that they are currently or have recently taken these drugs. 

While naltrexone does have its disadvantages, it is also true that the drug has helped thousands of addicts get back on their feet and live a healthy life. If you or anyone you know are suffering from opiate or alcohol addiction, this treatment process can help do wonders for them. But remember to implement this as a part of your whole treatment program including lifestyle changes, behavioral therapies, counseling, etc. Depending on naltrexone alone is not going to help. You either follow a strict schedule and win, or you think about how difficult it is and sit idle doing nothing. 

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