Naltrexone falls into a class of medications known as opioid antagonists, which means that it has the ability to help people reduce their levels of alcohol consumption – or even stop consuming alcohol entirely. This drug works by helping to block the effects of substances like alcohol on the brain.
The human brain contains an array of natural opiates known as endorphins. When Naltrexone is used, it blocks the effects of both opiates as well as the effects of the endorphins associated with feeling good after consuming alcohol.
As with any other form of medication, Naltrexone should only be used according to the instructions that have been provided by your doctor or health care provider. In many cases, it will be recommended that patients completely abstain from consuming alcohol and any form of opioids while using this medication. Failure to do so can result in the onset of sudden withdrawal symptoms.
When this medication is prescribed to patients, they will be advised that they can take it wither with or without food and the standard dosage amount is usually 50 milligrams per day. However, the dosage prescribed will depend on the weight of the patient as well – patients who are severely overweight may be given higher dosages. If a patient experiences stomach upsets when taking the medication without food, it is recommended that they either take it with food in the future or make use of antacid products to help settle the stomach. It is crucial for patients to ensure that they have not consumed any opiates for 7 days before starting to use Naltrexone.
Precautions to Keep in Mind when using Naltrexone
Owing to the nature of this medication, Naltrexone should never be prescribed to patients who are suffering from any form of liver damage. This medication has been established and being safe for the liver when used at the recommended dosages. As a result, patients should never adjust their dosage of Naltrexone without first discussing this with their doctor or health care provider – over dosage of this medication can cause severe liver damage, especially when used for prolonged periods of time.
It is also strongly recommended that patients who are using Naltrexone on a regular basis wear a medical alert bracelet, as this medication can render the effects of narcotic or high schedule pain medication completely ineffective. Patients should also keep in mind that Naltrexone needs to be used regularly in order for it to be as effective as possible. The medication should also be taken at approximately the same time each to ensure that the levels of it remain constant in the body.
If patients start to consume alcohol or use any form of opiates again, it is crucial for them to ensure that they advise their health care provider immediately. In cases where patients may not be able to cover the full cost of Naltrexone, there may be assistance programs available through selected health care providers that patients can apply for.