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What Is Naltrexone Injection Used For?

Adults who are trying to stop abusing alcohol or opioid medication may receive naltrexone injections as part of their treatment program. This prescription drug is injected once a month, and works by binding to opioid receptors and preventing other opioid medications from producing that "high" effect. There are also some off-label uses for naltrexone injections, such as treating an eating disorder or self-injurious behavior.

An Overview of Uses for Naltrexone Injection

Naltrexone injection (Vivitrol®) is a prescription injectable medication used in the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependence. Specifically, it is approved for:
  • Treating alcohol dependence in people who are not actively drinking when starting naltrexone injection treatment
  • Preventing a relapse in people with opioid dependence after opioid detoxification. 
Naltrexone injection belongs to a group of medicines known as opioid antagonists. It is best used as one part of a comprehensive drug or alcohol addiction treatment program that includes other components, such as counseling and social support. Naltrexone injections are not a cure for addiction. They are most effective for people who are committed to recovering from alcohol or opioid dependence.
Naltrexone injections can cause or worsen opioid withdrawal symptoms. People who receive treatment with naltrexone injections must stop using opioid drugs, such as prescription pain medications (including oxycodone, morphine, and codeine) and opioid street drugs (such as heroin), for at least 7 to 10 days before starting naltrexone injections. This includes people receiving the medication for alcohol dependence.
In addition, people being treated for alcohol dependence should stop drinking before starting naltrexone injections. The medication is specifically designed for use in people who can stop drinking in an outpatient setting before receiving their first naltrexone injection.
Naltrexone injections contain the same active ingredient as Revia® (naltrexone), another medication prescribed to treat alcohol and narcotic dependence. Revia comes in the form of a tablet that is taken by mouth, usually once a day.
One of the advantages of the naltrexone injection is that it only needs to be given once a month. However, you must visit a healthcare provider to receive your monthly naltrexone injection. Revia, on the other hand, may be self-administered in cases where your healthcare provider determines you can safely and reliably take the medication each day.
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Naltrexone Injection Information

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