Unlike some other MAT
medications, Naltrexone does not treat withdrawal symptoms during medication-assisted detox. Instead, it reduces the risks of relapse for patients in outpatient recovery programs. So, most patients in recovery from alcoholism or opioid dependence use this medication to maintain their abstinence long after detox is complete.
It is important to note that Naltrexone is not a preventative substance, either. Those who are actively abusing opiates or alcohol must not use it. Combining this medication with opioids or alcohol will likely result in a wide range of severe withdrawal symptoms. So, detox completion and ongoing medical supervision are critical for Naltrexone use.
As a treatment for alcoholism, Naltrexone curbs cravings by combating the brain’s hard-wired desire to drink. Medically supervised use allows individuals in outpatient programs to effectively and naturally reduce their drinking behaviors. With the right dose and the right amount of time, the physical need to consume alcohol disappears completely.
As an antagonistic opioid addiction treatment, Naltrexone blocks opioids from reaching the natural opiate receptors in the brain at all. This action prevents the euphoric effects of opioid use. As a result, the negative reinforcement reduces the desire to return to opioid abuse during recovery.
Like most MAT medications, this particular prescription is only part of a complete addiction treatment program. So, it is the most successful when patients supplement it with regular doctor visits, behavioral therapy, and individual and group counseling on an outpatient basis.