Naltrexone as an Addiction Treatment

shutterstock_292627103Naltrexone is a drug used in treating alcohol addiction which is prescribed to reduce cravings and control or abstain from drinking altogether. When used with other medication, Naltrexone can be helpful with improving the outcome of addiction treatment. There are some considerations to keep in mind when looking at Naltrexone as a possible treatment for addiction including reported side effects but many users report success with the medication.


Opiate Antagonist

The main benefit of Naltrexone is its ability to bind to receptors in the brain. Rather than activating the receptors, the drug blocks them (such as heroin or morphine). Naltrexone has been successful in reversing the physical effects of alcohol so users do not experience a rush of euphoria or sensations of comfort from drinking.


Side Effects

A number of side effects have been reported by users of Naltrexone. Nausea, headaches, anxiety, depression and nervousness are just a few. Any patient using Naltrexone who experiences these side effects should speak with their physician immediately. Any woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Naltrexone. Persons with liver or kidney disease or hepatitis should not take Naltrexone.



The inexpensive nature of Naltrexone and safety, when taken in low doses, make this an effective treatment for alcohol addiction. There are no reported severe reactions when taken with other medications and it is endorsed for treating alcoholism by the US Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization (WHO).


Other Treatments

When utilized in conjunction with other treatments such as therapy and meditation, Naltrexone is a beneficial medication. There are some studies which found patients who received cognitive-behavioral therapy and Naltrexone together were more likely to remain sober if receiving both rather than just one treatment.


Sinclair Method and Naltrexone

The Sinclair Method prescribes patients to take Naltrexone only when they are planning to drink alcohol. When used in this way, it is believed nearly 90 percent of patients experienced successful abstinence from drinking. Patients who use this method must only take the recommended 50mg of Naltrexone one hour before drinking, every time. Over time, it is reported patients who utilize this method eventually wean off alcohol altogether without experiencing withdrawal.
Naltrexone may not be for everybody. It is important to speak with a professional when considering what treatment options are best for alcohol addiction. While many report success using this medication, it is important to evaluate all available options to best support recovery now and in the future.