Seeking professional assistance for a substance use disorder can significantly increase the chances of a successful recovery. Otherwise, quitting alcohol or drugs without medical intervention may result in severe withdrawal symptoms and, even worse, death. Treatment aims to closely monitor and prescribe slow taper-off medications to ease withdrawal symptoms.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is also used for alcohol and opioid abuse. It enables a person's sobriety journey to be as smooth as possible. At Beat Addiction Recovery, we’re a MAT program that includes naltrexone treatment to aid people in their fight against addiction. Patients can put an end to the cycle with the help of medication-assisted treatment for alcohol and drug addiction.
Naltrexone Effect on the Brain and Body
Naltrexone is prescribed after a successful detox. The medication can be administered as an implant, injectable, or tablet. Many rehab facilities prefer offering naltrexone as an implant or injection. This is because clients are more likely not to take tablets exactly as prescribed. If a person takes more naltrexone than prescribed or a dose is missed, there can be health complications. Ultimately, the health provider will determine the best form for each patient.
If opioids are still present in a client's system when they use naltrexone, they'll experience sudden and severe withdrawal symptoms that may require hospitalization. To prevent this, patients need to stop using opioids 7 to 10 days or, in some instances, 14 days prior to taking naltrexone. The medication can possibly lead to hepatitis and liver damage, so it's crucial to find out if clients have a history of any liver issues.
How Effective Is Naltrexone Against Alcoholism?
When a person drinks alcohol, naturally occurring opiates in the brain called endorphins are released, causing feelings of enjoyment. When the receptors are blocked by naltrexone, a drinker experiences less pleasure. Used with other addiction treatment programs, naltrexone reduces the time spent drinking and binge drinking.
Naltrexone Side Effects
As with any medication, naltrexone can cause some side effects that clients should know about. Some side effects are mild and disappear after a couple of days, while others are more intense. Drinking alcohol or using drugs while naltrexone is still in the system can worsen the side effects of the medication and cause health complications.
Common side effects of naltrexone include:
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty sleeping
- Joint or muscle pain
There are also serious but very rare side effects of naltrexone. They are:
- Ringing in the ears
- Shortness of breath
- Blurry vision
- Swelling of the face, legs, or feet
Naltrexone isn’t prescribed after the first year of drug or alcohol addiction treatment as it’s not meant for long-term use. Before prescribing naltrexone, medical providers should discuss possible side effects with clients. Further, addiction specialists should find out if patients are taking any medications. This is because some drugs lead to adverse reactions when they interact with naltrexone.
Overcoming Addiction is Possible
When combined with a highly-individualized program, naltrexone treatment is proven to minimize cravings and reduce the risk of future substance use. At Beat Addiction Recovery, we use medications to help treat alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. While clients undergo MAT, a treating physician will administer and closely monitor medication to help with clients’ recovery. Contact us to learn more about our comprehensive medication-assisted treatment program for your practice: 888-913-1099.