Manage opioid cravings with naltrexone

Daily naltrexone can help you manage cravings for pain pills or heroin.

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Manage opioid cravings with naltrexone

Daily naltrexone can help you manage cravings for pain pills or heroin.

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By Workit Health Content Team

Medically Reviewed by Dorothy Moore, N.P.

Reviewed: November 15, 2021

Not sure what to expect from digital naltrexone treatment? Trust our clinical experts to guide you through the process.

What is naltrexone?

Naltrexone is a medication approved by the FDA to treat both alcohol and opioid addiction. Workit affiliated clinicians prescribe it in a pill form (brand names include ReVia and Depade). In the state of California, providers are also able to prescribe monthly injections (Vivitrol), to be administered at a local pharmacy.

How does naltrexone work?

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. It binds to and blocks opioid receptors, which can reduce cravings for opioids like heroin or pain pills. It reduces the euphoric effects of opioid medications like heroin, methadone, and oxycodone. 

How long after taking opioids can I take naltrexone?

Since naltrexone binds to the opioid receptors in your brain, taking it too early can cause precipitated withdrawal and make you feel sick. It is recommended that you be abstinent from all opioids, including Suboxone, for 7-10 days before beginning naltrexone treatment.

Workit Health affiliated providers have found that naltrexone works best for people stabilized in recovery, and buprenorphine medications like Suboxone work better for people ready to quit other opioids.

What is the difference between Suboxone and naltrexone?

Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) and naltrexone are both FDA-approved to treat opioid use disorder, but work differently in the brain. Buprenorphine helps with the withdrawal symptoms caused by opioids and activates opioid receptors in the brain. Naltrexone, rather than activating the receptors, binds to them and blocks them. Because of this, Suboxone can be taken 12-24 hours after other opioids, but naltrexone requires 7-10 days. Each medication may suit different individuals at different stages in recovery, based on their needs and medical history.

Does naltrexone reduce my risk of overdose?

No. This is a common misconception, but naltrexone does not reduce your risk of overdose. Naltrexone reduces the euphoric feelings of opioids, which means if you use opioids while taking naltrexone, you may need to use more to feel an effect. Additionally, because naltrexone binds to the opioid receptors in your brain, it may significantly lower your tolerance. This means that you may actually be at higher risk of overdose if you use opioids while taking naltrexone.

What can I expect from telehealth naltrexone treatment?

Workit Health’s virtual opioid use disorder program includes video visits with a clinician, online recovery groups, virtual drug testing, in-app messaging with your care team, and therapeutic courses to help you grow in recovery and meet your goals.

Before your first video appointment with a clinician, we will ask you to provide your medical history via the app. After your appointment, medication will be e-prescribed to your local pharmacy if clinically appropriate.

The right care when you need it most

Effective addiction care isn’t one-size-fits-all. Workit Health affiliated clinicians provide personalized treatment that is tailored to your own life and goals. The Workit program brings evidence-based substance use treatment to the privacy of home.

Medication-Assisted Treatment
Like many other conditions, opioid and alcohol addictions are best treated with medication and therapeutic support.

100% Virtual Online Treatment
Our affiliated clinicians, coaches, and therapists help members develop a specialized recovery program based on specific goals and guide group therapy sessions.

Discreet, Affordable, and Evidence-Based
Communicate with your addiction care team through the safe and secure HIPAA-compliant app.

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Questions about treatment or pricing?

Medication-assisted treatment available in many states

With multiple clinic locations around the country, we are working to make the best care available for you

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Real people. Real results.

Citations

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. Rudolph, K. E., Díaz, I., Luo, S. X., Rotrosen, J., & Nunes, E. V. (2021) Optimizing opioid use disorder treatment with naltrexone or buprenorphine. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 228: 109031. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109031.

3. Medications for Opioid Use Disorder: For Healthcare and Addiction Professionals, Policymakers, Patients, and Families [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2018. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 63.) Chapter 3C: Naltrexone. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535266/.

4. Morgan, J. R., Schackman, B. R., Weinstein, Z. M., Walley, A. Y., Linas, B. P. (2019) Overdose following initiation of naltrexone and buprenorphine medication treatment for opioid use disorder in a United States commercially insured cohort. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 200 (34-39). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.02.031.

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Our pages are medically reviewed and fact-checked by accredited medical professionals to ensure that all statements about medical conditions, symptoms, treatments, procedures and tests, standards of care, and typical protocols are accurate and reflect current guidelines as well as the latest research. However, please remember that the information on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. Workit Health, Inc. and its affiliated professional entities make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided on this page. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.