Addiction Treatment With Naltrexone in New Jersey
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a popular addiction treatment approach that combines FDA-approved medications with behavioral therapy and counseling to provide a comprehensive, integrated approach to recovery. One of the most diverse medications used in MAT is naltrexone. Naltrexone is used to treat addictions to opioids and/or alcohol, is not addictive, and comes in a couple of different forms, making it an ideal medication for treating substance use disorder.
If you or a loved one are interested in starting addiction treatment with naltrexone, please contact New Jersey Interventions today and speak with a trusted admissions coordinator.
What is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone is a medication that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat both alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD). The medication is classified as an opioid receptor antagonist, meaning it is not an opioid, but it does bind to and block opioid receptors. Naltrexone is one of the first non-habit-forming and non-addictive addiction treatment medications. It also has very few side effects when used as directed.
How Does Naltrexone Work?
Naltrexone comes in two different forms:
- A pill that must be taken on a daily basis. Pills are sold under the generic name, naltrexone, or under the brand names “ReVia” and “Depade.”
- An extended-release injection sold under the brand name “Vivitrol.” Vivitrol is an intramuscular injection that is administered one time each month in a medical office.
The medication works differently depending on which type of addiction (opioids or alcohol) it is being used to treat. However, in both situations, the medication can reduce drug and alcohol cravings and minimize relapse risk. Regardless of which formulation of the medication is used, naltrexone is always intended to be used in tandem with a substance abuse treatment program.
Naltrexone for Opioid Use Disorder
Naltrexone may be used to prevent relapse in patients recovering from opioid use disorder. Before starting the medication, patients must detox from opioids and be opioid-free for at least 7-10 days (14 days if they have been taking a long-acting opioid).
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it attaches to opioid receptors in the body and blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioid drugs like heroin, morphine, or codeine. By binding to and blocking opioid receptors, the medication can suppress opioid cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.
Naltrexone for Alcohol Use Disorder
Naltrexone can also be used to treat alcohol use disorder. Like opioid use disorder, patients must abstain from alcohol for 7-10 days and not be physically dependent on alcohol or other substances before starting the medication.
For alcohol addiction, naltrexone binds to endorphin receptors in the body and blocks the effects of alcohol. This reduces alcohol cravings and helps normalize brain chemistry. Naltrexone MAT treatment for alcoholism generally lasts for about three months.
Naltrexone Side Effects
Common side effects of naltrexone include:
- Difficulty sleeping
Some people, especially those who are recovering from opioid addiction, may experience mild opiate withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Abdominal cramps
- Bone and joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
People who receive the Vivitrol shot may experience additional injection site reactions such as itching, redness, pain, and irritation at the injection site. Injection site reactions, as well as other side effects, typically subside within a couple of days or weeks. If symptoms persist or get worse, patients are encouraged to speak with their physician.
Taking naltrexone too early can also cause side effects. If someone takes naltrexone while they are still physically dependent on alcohol or opioids, they may experience sudden withdrawal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, pain, cramping, etc). Sudden withdrawal requires immediate medical attention and support.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Using Naltrexone
Naltrexone is most effective when combined with a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program. While taking naltrexone, patients may participate in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program where they have access to a variety of healing services, including:
- Medication management
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Case management
- Fitness and nutrition
- Relapse prevention
- 12-Step facilitation
- Aftercare planning
- Peer support groups
These services are meant to help patients address the root cause of their addiction, develop healthy coping skills, and plan for a sober life in the future. Naltrexone suppresses cravings and reduces relapse risk, but addiction treatment lays the foundation for life-term sobriety.
Find Addiction Treatment With Naltrexone in New Jersey Today
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, New Jersey Interventions is here to help. Our team of qualified admissions coordinators can verify your insurance and assess your needs to help you find the right treatment center for you. Don’t wait any longer for the life-changing help you deserve. Call now to speak with a team member.
Medically Reviewed: June 3, 2022
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.