Naltrexone treatment without insurance
The basics of what impacts the cost of naltrexone and how to afford it without insurance.
What is naltrexone and how is it used in medication-assisted treatment?
Naltrexone is a medication that has been FDA-approved to treat both alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder.
Naltrexone is available as oral tablets by the brands names ReVia and Depade, as well as generics. It is also available as an extended-release injection by the brand name Vivitrol, which is administered once a month.
Under the Affordable Care Act, addiction treatment is mandated to be covered by most health insurance plans. But what about people who don’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover prescriptions?
How does naltrexone work?
Naltrexone is a long-acting opioid antagonist. This means it binds to and blocks opioid receptors in the brain. This helps to reduce the usual cravings for these substances. It also prevents the euphoric effect users come to expect after consuming opioids like morphine and heroin.
Naltrexone has a similar impact on alcohol use. By binding to endorphin receptors, this medication helps to prevent the usual results of alcohol. Similar to effects on opioid use, naltrexone can prevent alcohol cravings in users.
When considering naltrexone to manage alcohol use, the first step required is to be properly detoxed. This will prevent strong side effects like nausea and vomiting.
Similar precautions are advised for opioid users. Naltrexone should only be administered after 7 days from the last time a short-acting opioid was used. Longer-acting opioids will require a 10-14 day wait.
This drug may be prescribed by a healthcare provider licensed to prescribe medications. Physicians, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, etc may recommend this medication, alongside therapy and rehab care.
How much does Naltrexone cost?
Oral naltrexone may be substituted for cheaper generic brands. In oral form, this drug is available in 50 mg and 100 mg doses. Starting doses may come in at a smaller 25 mg, depending on individual needs. This medication is to be taken every day.
Extended-release injectable suspension naltrexone—Vivitrol is administered once monthly at a dose of 380 mg.
Without insurance, oral naltrexone can cost anywhere from $25 to $108 for a 30-day supply of 50 mg tablets.
The prices of this drug may change depending on:
- What state you are purchasing the medication
- Where your treatment is taking place—outpatient clinic, inpatient rehab
- Dosage you’re required to use
- How often you’re advised to use naltrexone
Injectable naltrexone comes in at a heavier price point. A monthly dose may cost an average of $1100.00. This makes out-of-pocket payments for this drug a heavy burden for most to bear.
Ways to reduce the cost of naltrexone:
If you don’t have insurance, or if it won’t cover your naltrexone prescription, there are some ways to reduce your out-of-pocket payments. These include:
Prescription savings cards
Prescription discount cards are issued by companies that partner with pharmacies and drug manufacturers to reduce costs for self-pay medication. These cards are available for free over the internet, and many of them have apps.
When you have a prescription savings card, you present it at a participating pharmacy and get your meds at a discounted rate. Some popular programs (with which we are not affiliated) include GoodRX, WellRX, SingleCare, and Optum Perks.
Patient assistance programs
The companies that manufacture medications often offer programs to assist people who need them but can’t afford them. Through these patient assistance programs, patients managing opioid use disorder may be able to get up to a year’s supply of the medication at no cost (dispensed one month at a time. To qualify, you may need to have a clinical, FDA-approved diagnosis of opioid use disorder and to have no insurance coverage. This assistance is usually reserved for those below a certain income level. You can search for patient assistance programs for your medication to see if you qualify.
Partial prescription dispensing
Sometimes even if the price can’t be lowered, a pharmacy can spread out the cost through partial dispensing. When this happens, the pharmacist dispenses less than the prescribed quantity of the medication, so you don’t have to pay for the full prescription all at once. Talk to your pharmacist to see if this is an option. (Note that this will not be an option if you are receiving Vivitrol injections.)
Workit Health affiliated providers prescribe FDA-approved medications as clinically appropriate, including naltrexone (ReVia), acamprosate (Campral), or disulfiram (Antabuse) to help to reduce your alcohol cravings.
When medication is prescribed, it is part of a complete treatment program, which includes behavioral therapies, coursework, and recovery groups.
Virtual Doctor’s Appointments
All our affiliated clinician visits are online and hosted through our HIPAA-compliant app. Like any doctor’s appointment, our providers will check in with you and monitor your health throughout your treatment. The only difference is that it is all online.
Recovery can be complicated and unpredictable. That’s why our coaches and recovery groups are available online, so you have access to support when you need it most.
Trained in addiction recovery, Workit coaches listen and provide tools that make a difference.
Questions about treatment or pricing?
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1. Naltrexone. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions/naltrexone. Accessed November 2021.
2. Carpenter, J. E., LaPrad, D., Dayo, Y., DeGrote, S., & Williamson, K. (2018). An Overview of Pharmacotherapy Options for Alcohol Use Disorder. Federal practitioner : for the health care professionals of the VA, DoD, and PHS, 35(10), 48–58. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6248154/
3. Abraham, A. J., Andrews, C. M., Grogan, C. M., D’Aunno, T., Humphreys, K. N., Pollack, H. A., & Friedmann, P. D. (2017). The Affordable Care Act Transformation of Substance Use Disorder Treatment. American journal of public health, 107(1), 31–32. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303558
4. Munigala, S., Brandon, M., Goff, Z. D., Sagall, R., & Hauptman, P. J. (2019). Drug discount cards in an era of higher prescription drug prices: A retrospective population-based study, Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, 59 (6), 804-808. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.japh.2019.05.021.
5. Naltrexone. https://www.goodrx.com/naltrexone Accessed July 14, 2022.