What is Naltrexone therapy and why is it important in addiction treatment?
Naltrexone therapy is part of opiate, cocaine and alcohol addiction recovery.
Naltrexone is a total opioid antagonist. That is, it attaches to the opiate receptors in the brain and completely blocks the effects of opiate drugs. This means that if someone tries to use any kind of opiate (heroin, methadone, suboxone, tramadol, codeine, oxycontin etc.), while they are on Naltrexone therapy, shot, or pill, they feel no effects because all of the receptors are completely blocked.
More information about Naltrexone pills.
Naltrexone therapy has been available as an oral tablet since the late 1970s. However, it only has a duration of action of around 24 to 48 hours and in practice, it has been found that most patients either forget or purposefully choose not to take their medicine. Then in a short period of time, they go back to using heroin.
Higher success rates have been achieved when patients are forced to take their medicine, either by concerned family members or by a court system such as probation or parole. For this reason, we strongly recommend the Naltrexone implant. We believe that Naltrexone therapy should be given for at least 12 months. This gives the patient a chance to have their brain’s rewarding system physically recover from the damage from the narcotics. It also gives the patient an excellent chance to step on the road to recovery.
How does Naltrexone protect from a drug addiction relapse?
Firstly, Naltrexone (or ‘heroin blocker’) is a narcotic antagonist. It blocks the effects of heroin (and all other opiates like methadone, suboxone…) by blocking the opiate receptors within the brain.
Secondly, it works by binding to some of the drug receptors in one’s brain, preventing opiates from attaching. If opiates are taken, they simply will have no effect and therefore are a waste of money. In that way, relapse prevention is provided. You have more confidence and there are fewer cravings compared to unprotected abstinents.
What is substitution therapy?
An opiate substitution program is a legal opiate drug (like methadone (Heptanon), Buprenorphine (Subutex, Suboxone), morphine-sulfate (Substitol, Compensan), medical heroin) prescription, under medical supervision, to the people addicted to heroin.
Such patients continue taking legal opioids (synthetic opiates), trying to lower their daily intake, doing their best to have a regular job, to adapt to the normal social life, but still staying drugs users. Unfortunately, the opiate tolerance maintains and an addicted person is often forced to add new heroin dosages, sedatives or some other substances. Then, the addiction becomes only more complicated. Getting detoxified from methadone is much more difficult than from heroin.
Opiate substitutive therapy is not an addiction treatment, but a harm reduction attempt for the benefits of both, the addicted person as well as the society in preventing illegal drug abuse.
What is the difference between methadone or other opioid substitutive therapy and Naltrexone therapy?
The difference is simple: to take drugs all your life (legal or not) or to protect your abstinence by Naltrexone maintenance and to learn how to enjoy in a straight, healthy life.
It’s up to you. When you choose comfortable abstinence, we are here to help you.
What if a patient takes opiate drugs during their Naltrexone maintenance?
Body reaction depends on the opiate drug type, dosage, and individual receptors’ sensitivity at that very moment of his abstinence, etc. A patient might not feel any effect of the drug or very weak sensations or get overdosed at high risk for his life.