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What Is Naltrexone Used For?

How Does It Work?

Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist. It binds to opioid receptors, but does not produce any effects. Instead, it blocks the receptors, preventing other substances (called opioid agonists) from binding to and activating the receptors. This blocks the effects of opioid agonists, such as narcotic pain medications and heroin, so that people who use them will not get the "high" feeling that can reinforce opioid abuse. This can help prevent a relapse in people who have stopped using opioids.
 
It is not entirely clear how naltrexone works to treat alcohol dependence. It is thought that by blocking opioid receptors, the drug also helps prevent the rewarding effects of alcohol use, which can reduce the desire to consume alcohol.
 

Is It Safe for Children to Use Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is not approved for use in individuals younger than 18 years of age, as it has not been adequately studied in this age group. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication in children.
 

What About Off-Label Naltrexone Uses?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this medicine for something other than opioid or alcohol dependence. This is known as an "off-label" use. Naltrexone may be used off-label for the treatment of the following conditions:
   
Naltrexone is also being studied in very low doses for a variety of off-label uses. However, at this time there is not adequate information available to recommend this use for any health condition (see Low-Dose Naltrexone).
 
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Naltrexone Medication Information

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