Naltrexone is a medicine that serves as an opioid receptor antagonist. It is used primarily in the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependence. Naltrexone blocks certain receptors in the part of the brain that triggers dopamine release and reinforces the compulsive addiction feedback loop. When these areas of the brain are blocked, the craving for alcohol and opiates is eliminated or significantly reduced. And if alcohol is consumed, the pleasure is very limited and the uncontrollable cascade of relapse is much less likely. If opiates are used, they will have no euphoric/pleasurable effect.

The freedom from the physical cravings for alcohol and drugs is critical.  By removing the intrusive compulsion to drink or use, patients can refocus on their life, their relationships, their family, and the long-term psycho-social-behavioral aspect of the recovery.  It is of particular importance during the first six months of recovery.

Yes. Naltrexone was FDA approved in the pill form for the treatment of opiate addiction in 1984, and alcohol addiction in 1995. Naltrexone in implantable forms are not FDA approved, but have been used for over two decades via compounding pharmacies.

Naltrexone implantable pellets are a specially compounded, formulation of naltrexone that is patient specific (503A) only after a prescription is written by a medical caregiver who deems that the individual patient is a good candidate for the implantable formulation. Compounding is a common and legal process used by licensed pharmacies to create special formulations and/or combinations of FDA approved drugs based upon a doctor’s prescription. The pharmacies that make each implantable naltrexone pellet must strictly follow state and federal compounding laws.  Naltrexone pellets have been used worldwide for over two decades.  For more information about drug compounding, please visit the FDA’s website at https://www.fda.gov/drugs/guidance-compliance-regulatory-information/human-drug-compounding

Naltrexone is not addictive, and there is no physical dependence.  It does not produce a “high” or any feelings or sensations that could be considered pleasurable or addictive.  In addition, there is no physical withdrawal when naltrexone wears off or is discontinued.

No. Alcoholism and drug addiction is a chronic, complex, and multi-factorial, life-long disease. There is no known cure.  It should be considered a chronic brain disease. Alcoholism, as with most addictions, is a result of psychosocial and physiological malfunctions. BOTH the physical aspect and the psychosocial/ behavioral/emotional aspects of this disease should be addressed to have the highest chance of obtaining and maintaining, sobriety.

Naltrexone is a very safe and well-tolerated medicine. The most common side effects of naltrexone are nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, and anxiety. If present, most side effects are mild and self-limiting.  Often, it is difficult to determine whether the symptoms are true side effects, or a result the body’s detoxification from chronic alcohol dependence.  Although exquisitely rare, in supra-therapeutic doses naltrexone has been noted to have toxic effects on the liver, so routine blood testing of liver function should be performed prior to treatment and periodically during treatment. Uncommonly, patients may report depression or exacerbation of pre-existing mood disorders.

Naltrexone is a very safe medication that has been used for many years. Most physicians report that the naltrexone pellets are generally very well tolerated. Beside the side effects mentioned above, physicians report that patients can experience itching, tenderness, swelling, pain, irritation, inflammation, or infection around the surgical site. It is reported that the majority of cases of irritation or inflammation resolve with time.  Often, antihistamines and topical and/or oral steroids are used to help treat the local inflammation depending on the treating physician.   In cases of infection, antibiotics may be needed. In the very unlikely case of severe infection or inflammation, a doctor may recommend removal of the pellet.  The naltrexone pellet is typically contraindicated in patients with acute hepatitis, advanced liver disease, or kidney failure. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult with their physician before beginning naltrexone treatment of any kind.  The pellet is surgically placed, and there will be a small linear surgical scar. Each individual scars differently. It is reported in some cases that a small nodule of fibrous tissue may remain palpable under the skin.  Although very unlikely, as with any foreign body there is a risk of rejection, tissue breakdown, and necrosis that may require pellet removal, debridement, and wound care.

Results may vary by patient.  Practitioners that have used the naltrexone implantable pellet formula typically used in the Beat Addiction Recovery Program report that it lasts several months based on their independent clinical assessments of their patients.

Consult with your physician, but most medications can be taken while on naltrexone. It is important to let the doctor know what medications are being taken prior to naltrexone therapy so that any contraindications can be determined. Naltrexone will block the effect of opioid pain relievers, so it is important to notify medical personnel if you are receiving naltrexone treatment. It may also render cough and cold medications containing opioids ineffective. During naltrexone therapy, patients should have a medical card that can be carried discreetly in one’s wallet or purse. In the event of an emergency or where a patient requires pain relief due to any medical circumstances, alternative analgesia may be administered in the hospital setting.  In addition, the pellet can be removed and narcotics administered after naltrexone is out of the patient’s system. This can take several hours or days. There are a number of readily available alternative pain relievers that can be used in conjunction with naltrexone. Acetaminophen, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Gabapentin, lidocaine patches, muscle relaxers, steroids, and various other alternative pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications may be used effectively while on naltrexone therapy.

That is solely determined between patient and caregiver, but pellets are known to have been used worldwide to help those with opioid use disorder.  Naltrexone is FDA approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder in oral and injectable forms.  Patients must detox and be completely off all opioids for 7-10 days or longer in some cases prior to beginning any naltrexone therapy.  If successfully detoxed of opioids, the patient might then possibly be a candidate for naltrexone therapy if prescribe by a treating physician under his/her discretion.  It must be understood that, in addition to diminishing some of the urge to use, naltrexone may altogether block the euphoric effect of any opioid depending on the levels of naltrexone in the body. The treating physician should educate the patient and family about the potential consequences, including fatal overdose, should the patient use too much alcohol or opioids in an attempt to override the naltrexone blockade or once the naltrexone pellet has dissolved to a point where it releases non-effective quantities of naltrexone into the body.

In addition to utilizing medicine to address the physical and neuro-biological aspect of the disease, patients will participate in intensive and individualized one-on-one sessions with recovery counselors.  As discussed above, to obtain and maintain sobriety, the physical AND the psycho-social/behavioral aspect of addiction must be addressed.   Naltrexone is a very effective tool that virtually eliminates the physical cravings when taken as prescribed. Once physical cravings are suppressed, the individual can focus entirely on the equally important and difficult psychosocial aspect of the addiction.  Study after study indicates that medical therapy in combination with counseling is superior to medical or behavioral therapy alone.

It is critical to understand that addiction is a lifelong struggle.  The Beat Addiction Recovery Program has had remarkable success in establishing sobriety in the vast majority of program patients. Once successfully enrolled in the program, and liberated from the shackles of alcohol or drug addiction, patients are strongly encouraged to participate in support groups (12 step, or otherwise) on a long-term basis in order to maintain personal focus, lifelong surveillance and sobriety.

The Beat Addiction Recovery Program has no association or affiliation with AA and is not considered to be in conflict with AA. That said, it is recognized that many in the throes of addiction are incapable of concentrating and absorbing the teaching of counselors, therapists, and group meetings. The ultimate goal of the Beat Addiction program is simply to help as many individuals as possible to become sober, and to maintain sobriety. By eliminating the intrusive and overwhelming craving to drink through naltrexone therapy, patients can better ingest, digest, and apply the teachings and tools available to them from their counselors, therapists, and other support environments with which they feel most comfortable and consider useful.  Support groups such as AA, SMART Recovery and others serve as a safe place to be constantly reminded of the risk of relapse, and typically provide programs and tools intended to help participants maintain long-term sobriety.  The benefit of fellowship and camaraderie of group support in the recovery process cannot be overstated.  Patients are strongly encouraged to explore various groups and tools, to select one or more that works for them, and to participate regularly.

This is a very good question. Addiction has been long been considered a behavioral issue or a moral failing, not a medical problem. Our country’s treatment of addiction has been primarily behaviorally based, intended to help addicts make better choices.  This approach has been challenging, unfortunately often resulting in creating shame, guilt and loss of self-esteem for those suffering relapse.

While a sincere effort has been made to treat addiction with the psycho-social/behavioral aspect of the illness, the overall success rates of addicts maintaining sobriety have remained abysmally low.  Why is that?  It is because the physiologic and pharmacologic aspect of treatment has been largely ignored and under-developed. Changing from a purely behavioral model to the medically assisted model modifies the view of addiction treatment.

Treating the incurable, life-long disease of addiction should be approached in a similar way to other chronic life-long diseases, employing a combination of psychosocial (counseling) physiological (health and nutrition) and pharmacological (medications such as naltrexone) modalities.

For more information, please call 888-993-1099

*The BioCorRx® Recovery Program is a medically based program that’s only available from independent medical professionals, but it’s not a cure and doesn’t work for everyone. BioCorRx® does not sell to consumers and does not diagnose or treat individuals. Individual results will vary. Individuals should consult with their physician to determine if the program, or any portion of it, is right for them.

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