The Risks of Buying Naltrexone Online Without a Prescription

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There are dangers that you may not be aware of when you buy naltrexone online without a prescription.

Properly prescribed and taken as directed, naltrexone can play an important role in your recovery from alcohol or opioids. It can help to diminish alcohol cravings for those struggling to reduce or stop their drinking. For people in stable recovery from opioids, it can help to reduce cravings and lessen the chance of a slip. Since accessing healthcare can sometimes be difficult for Americans, it isn’t surprising that many try to bypass the red tape by purchasing naltrexone online without a prescription. “What could go wrong?” they ask. A lot could go wrong! The risks of taking this shortcut far outweigh the benefits.

Here are some of the dangers of buying naltrexone online without a prescription:

1. If you buy without a prescription, there is no quality control.

When you have a prescription and receive your naltrexone from an authorized doctor or pharmacy, you know that it has been through rigorous quality control. From the manufacturer to the pharmacist, the meds have been subjected to meticulous care and scrutiny. But when you purchase naltrexone online without a prescription, you have no such assurance. Some online sellers offer poor quality, expired, or damaged medications. All of these issues can have a major impact on how they function … if they function at all. Others sell pharmaceuticals that have been corrupted or cut with something else, or that are entirely counterfeit. You could receive the wrong medication or no medication, and you have no way of knowing. 

2. If you haven’t been prescribed naltrexone, you can’t be sure you’re taking it safely.

Naltrexone is not an over-the-counter medication. It needs to be administered under the care of a clinician who can determine the best dosage, assess your risks, and monitor your health. Naltrexone can have side effects, and it may have serious interactions with other medications that you’re taking. With the version that is injected once-a-month (Vivitrol), doing it yourself without guidance also adds the risks of IV drug use (like injecting in the wrong place, having contaminated sharps, or mismeasuring your dose). Not to mention that if you have any opioids in your system, naltrexone can send you right into withdrawal! With proper medical supervision, naltrexone can be safe and helpful. But taking it on your own without oversight is just too much of a risk. 

3. Buying naltrexone online from another country may not save you the money you think it will.

It might seem logical that buying naltrexone from an online pharmacy would be cheaper than buying it from an authorized source, but it often isn’t! The prices charged by these “discount” sellers can actually be higher than you would pay at a clinic. Not only are costs variable, but online sellers won’t work with your insurance or accept your Health Savings Account (HSA). If you buy online, you will also likely have to pay (sometimes very expensive) shipping costs to have medication shipped from another country. 

4. If you buy naltrexone without a prescription, your doctor won’t know to take it into account.

When you purchase naltrexone illicitly, you might feel like you have to hide it from your healthcare team. It won’t be listed in your medical records, so doctors and pharmacists don’t know to check for interactions and contraindications. If you get in an accident, have a relapse and overdose, or have another medical emergency, the paramedics’ treatment of you could be compromised. Knowing what medications you take is a crucial piece of information for your healthcare providers. Buying without a prescription makes it less likely that they will be able to treat you properly.

5. Purchasing naltrexone from another country might lead to your meds being caught up by Customs.

Even when everything goes as planned, shipments from international sellers are commonly delayed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspections. These delays can stretch to more than 35 days. When you’re counting on a prescription refill, this kind of delay isn’t workable. But what if shipping doesn’t go as planned? CBP regularly seizes pharmaceuticals coming from other countries. If this happens, you won’t receive your medication at all! 

6. When you buy naltrexone without a prescription, you won’t get a full treatment plan. 

Naltrexone isn’t a quick fix that works all by itself. Like other pharmaceuticals used in medically assisted treatment, it has the best results when it’s part of a comprehensive treatment plan. At Workit Health, that plan includes the naltrexone prescription, telemedicine care with a qualified clinician, and online therapy. Taking the medication on its own simply isn’t enough for most people to reach their recovery goals. 

 

Alaine Sepulveda is a freelance writer and an alcoholic in recovery. She holds an MA in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University. She believes in sharing stories, spreading knowledge, and helping others in the path to recovery.

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