Naltrexone is a medication that is known to assist people with reducing their dependency on opiate drugs and alcohol. While many people are able to successfully use the oral version of this medication, there are some who may benefit more from using the implantable version instead. It is usually a painless procedure to have the Naltrexone implant inserted because patients are usually given some form of local anesthesia beforehand.
What is a Naltrexone Implant?
These implants are nothing more than a tiny pellet-like device that inserted into the lower abdominal wall of a patient, and the procedure is performed under local anesthetic. These implants can be effective for a time frame of anywhere between 3 and 6 months; however, they are usually the most effective for a period of approximately 8 weeks. Once the naltrexone pellet is implanted, it works by releasing a controlled amount of this substance into the patient’s body at regular intervals. It blocks the effects of alcohol and opiate drugs and it does this by binding to the receptors in the body that cause the patient to experience the high feeling when using them.
Potential Issues Experienced when Using a Naltrexone Implant
Patients who need to have a Naltrexone implant inserted will usually need to approach a private rehabilitation center, as they are not normally available any other way. Some health workers have reported that one of the main issues with these implants is the excessively high cost of them, meaning that very few patients who are suffering from addictions will be able to afford them. In addition, the health care workers have noted that there is little to no additional support available for patients who are using these implants. Because the Naltrexone implant cannot reduce a patient’s actual cravings for alcohol or opiates, they will also require some form of counseling to help them kick their habits.
Why the Naltrexone Implant may be more effective
When a Naltrexone implant is inserted into a patient, it usually guarantees a better outcome throughout their treatment because it administers a constant dose into them without them having to remember to take it at the same time each day. In most cases, patients who use the implantable version of Naltrexone experience fewer cravings, meaning that they will be more likely to abstain from opiates or alcohol. In addition, patients who make use of the naltrexone implant will not have the option to skip any doses while they are going through their recovery phases.
Potential Side Effects of a Naltrexone implant
As with any type of medication, patients may or may not experience a variety of side effects when using a Naltrexone implant. Some of the most commonly experienced side effects that have been associated with using a Naltrexone implant include headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal issues such as stomach cramps and/or diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety or nervousness.
Under no circumstances whatsoever should pregnant women use this implant (or an oral version of naltrexone), as safety during pregnancy has not been established. Patients who suffer from kidney or liver disease or damage should also not use this medication, and recommended dosages should never be exceeded unless discussed with a doctor or health care provider first.
Another serious point to take into consideration is the fact that having a naltrexone implant inserted can sometimes increase the risk of overdose. This happens because the patient no longer experiences the high associated with using the opiates or alcohol, which can result in them consuming far larger doses of these substances than before. This can result in the patient experiencing severe respiratory depression, alcohol poisoning and ultimately, death. As a result, no opioids or alcohol should be consumed after being fitted with a Naltrexone implant.
It is crucial for patients and care givers to remember that a naltrexone implant should never be considered as a quick fix to address addition to alcohol or opioid substances. At the end of the day, the patient must want to give up their dependency on these substances in order for their treatment to be as effective as possible. Patients who need further information with regards to using a Naltrexone implant should speak with a doctor or health care provider.