Naltrexone is a non-addictive medication that is commonly used for the treatment of alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) option.
As an opioid antagonist, naltrexone—also known as Vivitrol or ReVia—can effectively block the euphoric effects of opiates and alcohol in the brain.
Naltrexone is commonly prescribed as one component of a comprehensive treatment program involving medication, behavioral therapy, and substance abuse counseling.
How Does Naltrexone Work For Alcohol Use Disorder?
Naltrexone is a drug that binds to the same endorphin receptors in the body as alcohol. Unlike alcohol, it doesn’t activate these receptors, only occupies them.
What this does:
- blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol
- can reduce alcohol cravings
- can help individuals maintain sobriety
Naltrexone has shown to help ease cravings for alcohol and reduces alcohol consumption.
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How Does Naltrexone Work For Opioid Use Disorder?
Naltrexone belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid antagonists and works similarly to the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone (Narcan).
When taken, naltrexone (Vivitrol) binds to the same opioid receptors in the brain as opioid drugs—without activating them.
What this can do:
- block the euphoric and sedative effects of opioid drugs
- help ease cravings for opioids (including heroin)
- helps prevent opioid cravings
Unlike other medications for opioid use disorder, such as methadone and buprenorphine, naltrexone is not an opioid-based medication and it doesn’t cause physical dependence.
Find Naltrexone Treatment For Substance Abuse Today
Naltrexone is one of several medications that are approved for the treatment of alcohol and opioid addiction.
If you’re looking for naltrexone treatment for yourself or a loved one, call our helpline today to speak to a specialist about finding treatment options near you.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) — Mental Health Medications: Naltrexone
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Naltrexone
- U.S. National Library of Medicine:MedlinePlus — Naltrexone