Naltrexone Uses and Side Effects

Naltrexone is a medication that is quite successful in stopping the cravings for alcohol as well as ending the effects of opioids. Though it’s a great tool to help those who have begun the recovery process, it’s not a complete treatment program alone. It’s meant to be used alongside counseling, lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, mental health services, and while using this medication you must have strict monitoring.

Naltrexone Is Changing The Drug Epidemic

The heroin epidemic is claiming lives every day. Many people find themselves entangled in the clutches of this drug, and many of them are young, between the ages of 18-25 years old. Within the past decade, the number of people who have lost their lives to this illegal substance has more than doubled. Alcohol abuse and addiction has also seen an increase.

The CDC released a report that there are more than 17.6 million people in this country that are dependent upon alcohol, which equates to about one in 12 adults. Due to the incredible struggles this country is experiencing with both drug and alcohol dependence, it’s no wonder that the medical community is scrambling for things to help. Naltrexone has benefited millions of people who thought they could never live drug or alcohol-free again.

Past, Present and Future of Naltrexone

Naltrexone was first used in April of 2006 to help those who were in opioid recovery. There was a long trial and error period that began three years prior. The results showed that more than 25 percent of all users showed a decrease in both drug and alcohol use when adding naltrexone to their daily regimen.

It’s estimated that about three-fourths of those that use opioids also use alcohol, so one might give up one vice and use the other during a recovery period. The benefit of using naltrexone is that it can address both issues at the same time leaving little chance of relapse. It’s been beneficial to those in the criminal justice system who want to leave their old life behind and become beneficial members of society.

Though the medication now requires compliance and some people aren’t good with taking pills, big things are in store for the future. The US Food and Drug Administration is working to approve a naltrexone implant. The only downside is that it must be surgically inserted, and it won’t last forever. Every few months the client will need a new implant to continue therapy. However, It gives a constant dose of the medicine throughout the day so that there is no fear of compliance issues.

Possible Side Effects and Drug Interactions

There are always risks when you take any medication, and naltrexone can have interactions with other prescriptions as well as causing side effects. Most commonly, users will experience nausea, vomiting, insomnia, cramping and pain in the abdominal area, fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, anxiety, panic, as well as joint and muscle pains. Some less observed naltrexone side effects include chills, rashes, constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, depression, moodiness and irritability, energy spurts, decrease in appetite, excessive thirst, ejaculation difficulties, and heart palpitations.

Naltrexone cannot be mixed with some drugs and other substances due to the risk of severe side effects. You must avoid things like cough medicine that contains codeine or any decongestant. Also, stay away from diarrhea medications, hydrocodone, disulfiram, and any narcotic pills. Make sure to always talk to your doctor before you add any herbal remedies with your medicine. Though herbs are known to be helpful, they can also cause a lot of side effects that can be dangerous when adding them to naltrexone.

Caution should be taken when operating a vehicle or any heavy machinery as naltrexone is known to make people dizzy. Make sure that you know how this drug will affect you before doing any activity that requires total concentration and a steady balance. Once your body becomes accustomed to this drug, the chances of naltrexone side effects diminish.

Precautions When Taking Naltrexone

Naltrexone is not an addictive substance, but people can become psychologically dependent on the effects that it gives to keep them drug-free. It’s important to let your medical team know if you have any liver or kidney problems before you begin this drug as it can affect these vital organs. Always carry a card that lets emergency medical professionals know that you are on this medication. This allows them to understand how they can handle an emergency and what drugs they cannot give in conjunction.

Once you feel well enough to stop taking naltrexone, you may still have a sensitivity to opioids. If you should use any opioid drugs in the future, it could cause life-threatening risks. Additionally, if you must undergo surgery while taking this medication, please make sure the medical team knows. Since they often give large doses of narcotics to surgical patients, the combination can be deadly.

Though there are a few precautions to take, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Naltrexone is helping to get people off drugs and take control of their life.

Connecting With A Full Scale Recovery Program

Naltrexone is a great tool that can help you lay down the alcohol and opiates, but it’s part of a package and not meant to be used alone. You need counseling and a support team that can be with you as you pick up the pieces of your life. St. John’s Recovery Place can help. Not only can we ensure you get the counseling you need to get to the root of your problem, but we have medical staff that can help administer a medically supervised recovery program.

Where do you see yourself in six months, one year, or five years? If you or your loved one continue down these dangerous paths, the future won’t be bright. You can learn to live without drugs and alcohol. You can get help for the very issues that cause your drug seeking behaviors. Our staff is very sensitive to your needs. We know what it takes to turn your experience into a success story.

Don’t ever think that you are too far gone, or your situation is beyond help. We have seen thousands of people just like you make a change and start living again. Call us today at (833) 397-3422. We want to tell you how our program can help you reclaim your life and give you a future and a hope with sobriety.

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