Addiction Resource


Naltrexone binds to opioid receptors in the brain and blocks the effects of opiate drugs that would otherwise make the user feel high. Naltrexone is a non-addictive medicine that blocks the opiate receptors in a person’s brain, which means patients don’t crave drugs or alcohol when they’re taking it. And if they happen to relapse, the medicine prevents them from feeling high. This effect deters individuals from relapsing because the drug no longer produces rewarding effects. Naltrexone has also been shown to be effective in alcohol detox. In both cases it can help to reduce cravings.

Some advantages for using naltrexone include that it:

  • Is available as an extended-release injection that lasts for a month.
  • Helps to prevent relapse.
  • Doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms with cessation of use.


A few disadvantages for using naltrexone are that it:

  • Cannot be used if opioids are present in the body because it would send that user into acute opioid withdrawal.
  • Can produce some uncomfortable side effects, such as muscle or joint paint, nervousness, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue.
  • Is not safe for patients with liver damage to use.
  • Although patients can take Naltrexone orally, many people either forget or choose not to take it — so they’re more likely to relapse.

Naltrexone is an effect support for abstinence from opiates but when the Naltrexone wears off, patients will have very low opiate tolerance. Following Naltrexone therapy, it is easy for patients to use too much opiates and have an overdose, which can be fatal. Patients need to clearly understand that if they choose abstinence, their lowered narcotic tolerance means that any relapse could be fatal.

It is best practice for patients to be on Naltrexone therapy for months post detox in order to give the patient an opportunity to restore the neurochemistry in their brain and recover from the damage of narcotic use. Naltrexone relieves craving for opiates so that patients can begin focusing on the psychological and Behavioural challenges Recovery.  Naltrexone can help prevent patients from relapsing and gives them the chance to make changes in the way they interact with people, places and things while developing a support program.