Objective: Drug addicts are typically polydrug dependent and as such have no effective pharmacological treatments available for them. With this in mind, the listed authors studied the overall real-world effectiveness of naltrexone implants in the selected patient population to see if it would help reduce their addiction rates—when compared with other common recovery methods such as counseling or detox clinics, which have been proven less effective alone at overcoming addictions over time.


Method: The authors gauged the overall effectiveness of a naltrexone implant in the treatment of coexisting amphetamine and heroin polydrug dependence in 100 outpatients in a two and a half month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Analyses were conducted in an intent-to-treat model to measure the retention and proportion of drug-free urine samples. Scores on the Clinical Global Impressions Scale (CGI) increased, with more patients reporting improvement after taking part in this study Vs not completing it at all, or partially participating for any reason.


Results: At the end of the 10 studies, the retention rate amongst the control group was 52% for the patients who received a naltrexone implant and only 28% for those who received the placebo; following a similar pattern the proportions of drug-free urine samples were also 38% and 16%, respectively, a clear disparity between the two groups. On the CGI improvement item, more than half of the patients (56%) in the naltrexone group showed significant improvement, especially when compared to the low 14% in the placebo group.


Conclusions: Naltrexone implants proved to produce higher retention rates for the patients in this study that received the treatment, while greatly decreasing their drug usage patterns, and improving the mental and physical clinical conditions for them as well, thus providing strong supporting evidence that this procedure is an effective pharmacological solution to overcome polydrug dependencies of this type and should be considered for medical use.