Frequently Asked Questions About Naltrexone Maintenance Programs

What is naltrexone?

Naltrexone is a prescription medication that is used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs. Naltrexone was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1984 to treat adults who are struggling with opioid use disorder, which is the clinical term for opioid addictionIn 1994, naltrexone earned FDA approval for use in MAT programs for adults who have developed alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism. Naltrexone may be taken in pill form when used to treat alcohol use disorder. When naltrexone is incorporated into MAT for opioid addictionit is typically administered via extended-release injection. 

What are the benefits of naltrexone?

The most obvious benefit of naltrexone is that when you take this medication as directed by a qualified healthcare provider, you can stop using opioids without experiencing the intense cravings that would otherwise occur. Another benefit of naltrexone is convenience. Unlike some of the other medications that are used in MAT for opioid use disorder, naltrexone is usually administered via an extended-release injection. Thus, instead of needing to take medication every day, you will only need to receive a naltrexone injection about every four weeks. 

How can I determine if naltrexone is right for me?

The best way to determine if naltrexone or another medication is right for you is to complete a thorough assessment and consult with a licensed and experienced healthcare provider. When you start treatment at a Comprehensive Treatment Center (CTC) or an Integrated Treatment Center (ITC), this is exactly what will occur. You’ll complete a detailed evaluation, discuss your needs and goals with a member of your MAT team, and get a recommendation for naltrexone or another medication. 

Is naltrexone safe for long-term use?

Years of research indicates that when naltrexone is used as directed as part of an approved MAT program, this medication is safe for both short- and long-term use. 

Can I become addicted to naltrexone?

No. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has determined that naltrexone poses no risk for abuse or addiction. Although naltrexone interacts with the same receptors in your central nervous system that are impacted by opioids, this medication does not cause the feelings of euphoria or sedation that can result from opioid use. 

How long will I need to use naltrexone?

All decisions regarding your use of naltrexone should be made in consultation with the healthcare provider who prescribed this medication to you. At a CTC or an ITC, your treatment team will be able to answer all your questions about naltrexone and help you determine how long you should use this medication.  

What happens if I want to stop using naltrexone?

When you’ve progressed in your treatment to the point where you’re ready to stop using naltrexone, you will consult with your treatment team to determine how to accomplish this without jeopardizing your continued recovery. Ending your use of naltrexone should not bring about any withdrawal symptoms, so you won’t need to taper your use as you may need to do with other medications.  

How much does naltrexone treatment cost?

At Comprehensive Treatment Centers and Integrated Treatment Centers, naltrexone is just one component of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Depending on the specific needs of each patient, treatment at CTCs and ITCs may include naltrexone or another prescription medication, counseling, and additional support services. The cost of your care will be determined by a variety of personal factors, including which medication and services are included in your personalized treatment plan. For additional details about naltrexone, MAT, and the cost of treatment at CTCs or ITCs, please contact our intake team at your earliest convenience.  

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