Naltrexone: what it is for, how to take it and side effects


Naltrexone, or naltrexone hydrochloride, is indicated to stop drinking, as it acts by inhibiting structures in the brain responsible for the sensation of pleasure when consuming alcoholic beverages and, in this way, reduces the desire to drink. In addition, naltrexone is indicated for the treatment of dependence on opioid substances, such as morphine, for example.

This drug can be found in pharmacies or drugstores, in the form of a tablet containing 50 mg of naltrexone hydrochloride, with the trade names Revia or Uninaltrex, and is sold only with the presentation of a medical prescription and retention of the prescription by the pharmacy.

In addition, naltrexone can be found in the form of an injection, applied by the doctor or nurse, and used only in hospitals, for the emergency treatment of opioid intoxication.

what is it for

Naltrexone is indicated for the treatment of alcoholism and dependence on opioid substances, such as morphine or heroin, for example, as it acts on the brain, reducing the desire to drink or consume opioids, and should only be used with medical indication.

In addition, naltrexone may be indicated to reverse intoxication by opioid substances, and this emergency use is restricted to hospitals.

Does naltrexone make you lose weight?

Naltrexone can be used in low doses to help with weight loss, when combined with another substance, bupropion, as these substances together help to control appetite, in addition to the intense desire for food, which leads to a decrease in food consumption and the weight loss. However, naltrexone alone is not indicated for weight loss. Learn how to use naltrexone and bupropion for weight loss.

How to use

How naltrexone is used depends on the presentation and includes:

1. Naltrexone tablet

Naltrexone in tablet form should be taken orally, with a glass of water, before or after a meal.

The normally recommended doses of naltrexone tablet for adults are:

  • Alcoholism treatment: the normally recommended dose is 1 tablet of 50 mg per day, always taken at the same time, for up to 12 weeks of treatment, or as directed by a doctor;
  • Treatment of opioid addiction: this medication should only be started after detoxification of the body and opioid abstinence for at least 7 to 10 days and the dose should be individually guided by the doctor.

Dosages of naltrexone can be modified by the physician according to the response to treatment, and treatment for opioid dependence is usually started at a lower dose so that the physician can assess the emergence of side effects or withdrawal symptoms. before changing the dose.

It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice and take naltrexone at the times your doctor prescribes. In addition, one should not stop treatment on their own.

2. Naltrexone injection

Injectable naltrexone is used in a hospital setting and should be applied directly into a vein, muscle, or skin by a trained physician, nurse, or health care professional, and the dose should be determined by the physician according to the severity of intoxication symptoms. by opioids.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that may occur during treatment with naltrexone are nausea, headache, dizziness, nervousness, tiredness, insomnia, vomiting, anxiety, drowsiness, abdominal pain or cramping, joint or muscle pain, nausea or vomiting.

In addition, naltrexone may cause depression, suicidality, suicide attempt, diarrhea, constipation, increased thirst, nasal congestion, increased blood pressure, palpitations or tachycardia.

who shouldn’t use

Naltrexone should not be used by children or adolescents under the age of 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people who have liver failure or acute hepatitis.

In addition, this medicine should not be used by people who are being treated with opioid pain relievers, such as morphine or codeine, for example, or who have used opioids in the 7 to 10 days before starting treatment with naltrexone.

Naltrexone should also not be used by people who are allergic to naltrexone hydrochloride or any of the ingredients in the formula.

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