Naltrexone is a medication used in medication-assisted treatment. One of its significant advantages is it can be used to treat both opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. With the rise in prescription opioid abuse or addiction and the ever-present issue of alcoholism, a naltrexone treatment program offers individuals an exceptionally useful tool in recovering from addiction. Using naltrexone, individuals block the effects of opioids and alcohol, helping remove some of the physical urges to use. At Sunlight Medical Services, we recognize the importance of beating addiction and getting healthy.
The Benefits of a Naltrexone Treatment Program
Medical professionals treat opioid and alcohol disorders with naltrexone. However, patients shouldn’t confuse it with naloxone: an overdose lifesaver, or Narcan, a medication used only for overdoses. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. Medications like this block the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids. While buprenorphine and methadone (two other frequently used medications) active the brain’s opioid receptors to suppress cravings, naltrexone binds and blocks these receptors. The effect also reduces opioid cravings. However, a major advantage of naltrexone is that patients cannot abuse the medication.
There are several FDA approved Naltrexone products such as:
- ReVia tablets: These tablets are generally taken once per day. Perhaps the most common form the medication takes in a naltrexone treatment program, patients must remember to take the pill or else complications can arise.
- Vivitrol injectable: Our intensive outpatient program uses this injectable form of the medication. A major advantage of this form of naltrexone is it can be injected once a month or every four weeks.
- Naltrexone-containing products: One such product are implants. These are a relatively new form of medication. In this form, a small implant inserted under the patient’s skin gradually releases the medication into the body for over eight weeks.
Once a patient has fully detoxed from opioids (or alcohol), then naltrexone becomes an attractive option for treatment. Like other medication-assisted treatments, when combined with behavioral therapies, it gives patients an effective path towards recovery.
Possible Side Effects to Naltrexone
While there are numerous desirable effects from a naltrexone treatment program, there are some possible side effects. When patients use it as prescribed, naltrexone is safe and effective. Patients can’t become addicted to it and end their use of it without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The lack of high, the fact that it is long-lasting and immediate effects, and doesn’t cause any other mood disorders. However, side effects may occur so patients need to be aware. These may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty sleeping
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Headache and
- Increased anxiety
While not an exhaustive list as some less frequent or milder side effects like decreased appetite, increased energy, sexual performance issues, dizzy spells, chills, and occasionally skin rashes do occur. Yet a naltrexone treatment program’s advantages in aiding patients often out weight these issues.
Sunlight Medical Services
You have the power you need to control your life, but sometimes you need help channeling your power to make a change. Sunlight Medical Services offers not just patient-center treatment but an intimate, calm environment to get the help you need. With a primary care physician on-site every week, our treatment programs and counseling services allow patients flexibility combined with quality care. To this end, some of the therapeutic programs we offer include:
- Individual Counseling
- Group Counseling
- Intensive Outpatient Program
- Behavioral Intervention for Pain
These programs, combined with our primary care, medication-assisted treatment like that offered through our naltrexone treatment program, and other outpatient options help patients recover and get back to living their best life. So contact us today at 855.920.1104 to learn how we can help you or a loved one.