I have an addiction to drugs, mostly crack and alcohol. I've been clean for a while but slipped up on alcohol recently. My doctor before put me on naltrexone. Now i heard this was supposed to be for oppiate addiction but I never used opiates. I'm just wondering if I should be taking it still. I still have cravings, and it's supposed to block it so you don't get high or drunk but I can still get drunk when I am on it. Plus I'm afraid if I ever do use an opiate, not that I'm planning on it or anything, would that have a negative reaction with it. I know when I got my wisdom teeth out I couldn't have codeine because it would react with the Naltrexone. Isn't it dangerous if a med blocks your ability to get high because then wouldn't you use more of the drug to try and get high? That's what I am afraid of. Do you know anything about this drug or have any suggestions?
Thanks for writing in with your question.
You are correct that Naltrexone is usually used in regard to opiate addiction, but that has changed a lot recently. Naltrexone is also approved by the FDA to help people with alcohol dependence. It is supposed to help people with the cravings, making them not want to drink. Some people report that
when they drink while taking Naltrexone, they still get drunk but they don't feel as impaired as the normally would.
As far as using opiates while you are taking Naltrexone, there really would be no point in doing that. Basically, Naltrexone binds to the same receptors in your brain that opiates bind with. This means if you take opiates while you are on Naltrexone, the opiates won't bind with their receptors in your brain, and this will cause you to not get high from taking them.
Of course, anyone can stop taking Naltrexone at any point and continue to drink and use opiates, so it's certainly not a cure for addiction/alcoholism.
My suggestion would be to speak with your doctor about your concerns. Naltrexone is used in conjunction with other aspects of treatment; it is not usually very helpful when it is the only measure someone is taking to remain abstinent. Naltrexone generally works best when someone has a strong desire to stay clean and sober - it can help take away cravings, and it may stop someone from using drugs if they know they won't get high from them anyway.
Speak with your doctor and try to come up with a plan. Naltrexone alone isn't going to keep anyone clean and sober if they don't want to be.
I hope I could help. Feel free to write back with any questions/comments.