- What is Naltrexone therapy and why is it important for alcoholism?
- What is the Naltrexone implant?
- Why use the Naltrexone implant instead of the oral tablets?
- Does Naltrexone therapy have any risks and side effects?
- How long should I be on Naltrexone therapy?
Our three-part approach to recovery is here to help you win your battle against alcoholism and be free to enjoy your life again. From our experience, detoxing is the first step toward this goal, rather than the achievement of it. We want to help you Stay Clean for the rest of your life, so we focus on connecting you to the resources you need to do so. In addition to helping you find individual professional therapy and supportive group treatment, we recommend Naltrexone to help block your alcohol cravings.
Naltrexone is a non-addictive, non-narcotic medicine that attaches to the opiate receptors in your brain, which contribute to the pleasurable effects you feel when drinking alcohol. When Naltrexone blocks these receptors, people experience fewer alcohol cravings and less pleasure if they do drink any alcohol. With Naltrexone helping to support sobriety, patients are better able to abstain from drinking and focus on their recovery program.
We use a special Naltrexone formulation that releases the medicine slowly over an eight-week period. This small implant goes under the patient’s skin, so they experience a steady dose of opiate blockers and don’t forget or skip their medicine. Licensed pharmacists at a compounding pharmacy manufacture the implant for us. While the Naltrexone implant has not yet been submitted to the FDA for approval, the medications it contains are fully approved by the FDA.
When patients get a steady dose of Naltrexone every day for a prolonged period of time, they have a much better outcome. They have fewer cravings, are more likely to abstain from drugs, and more often stay with their treatment and support groups. Patients' improved outcomes may be physical, because they have a more steady blood level and don’t forget their medicine. We also believe the results may be partly psychological, because once a patient receive their implant, they don't have to decide every day whether or not to take their Naltrexone or consider relapsing.
As with any medical procedure, Naltrexone therapy carries some risks and potential problems. While small and typically painless, the Naltrexone implant does require local anesthesia for insertion. As a result, some patients experience the following symptoms at the implant site:
In addition to these implant risks, Naltrexone therapy can cause withdrawal symptoms if a patient isn’t fully detoxed when treatment begins. To avoid these risks, we carefully monitor patients before beginning Naltrexone therapy and only start treatment when they have completed their Accelerated Alcohol Detox.
We strongly believe that patients should be on Naltrexone therapy for at least 12 months after completing their detox. Recent research shows that it takes a year or more for the brain to fully heal from addiction. And we also know that it takes at least a year for people to learn about alcoholism and recovery, build up a support system, and integrate all of the recovery changes into their lives. Having Naltrexone therapy during the first stages of recovery helps prevent patients from relapsing while giving them time to invest in their long-term health.