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Naltrexone skeletal.svg

Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist.[1] It is often used to help alcohol dependence and opioid dependence. It is different from the drug naloxone. Naloxone is used in emergency cases of overdose. Naltrexone is for longer-term control of dependence. Naltrexone can help with overdose, but naloxone is more helpful in those cases.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends naltrexone for people who are fully detoxed from alcohol or opioids and are highly motivated to remain abstinent. Naltrexone is also sometimes used off-label to treat opioid and nicotine withdrawal as well. Although naltrexone is a helpful medication, it is not a cure for alcohol or opioid dependence. To be effective, naltrexone must be combined with other psychosocial therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy or motivational interviewing, or with a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.[2]

History[change | change source]

Naloxone was first synthesized and subsequently patented in 1961 by Drs. Jack Fischman and Mozez Lewenstein of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, based on a theory proposed by their colleague, Dr. Harold Blumberg at the Long Island-based Endo Laboratories. Intravenous naloxone (Envizio) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for opioid overdose reversal in 1971 and was shortly adopted as a standard emergency treatment at many of the nation’s premier academic medical centers.[3]

Naltrexone Side Effects[change | change source]

  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleep problems
  • Tiredness

References[change | change source]

  1. "Naltrexone". Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  2. "Naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol) Treatment, Dosage and Side Effects". Retrieved 2021-03-21.
  3. "Naltrexone: A History and Future Directions". Dana Foundation. Retrieved 2021-03-21.