Hallucinations are a rare but serious side effect of naltrexone, a medication that is also sold under the brand names Vivitrol, ReVia, and Depade.
Naltrexone is primarily prescribed as a medication-assisted treatment option for opioid use disorder and alcohol dependence.
It can block the euphoric effects of these substances and prevent drug or alcohol cravings.
What Types Of Hallucinations Can Be Caused By Naltrexone?
The term ‘hallucination’ refers to a sensory experience that can alter someone’s perception of themselves or their surroundings.
Common types of hallucinations include:
- visual hallucinations: seeing things that aren’t there (e.g. patterns, lights, objects)
- auditory hallucinations: hearing things that aren’t there (e.g. voices, music, footsteps)
- tactile hallucinations: feeling a sensation (e.g. bugs crawling on skin)
The primary types of hallucinations associated with naltrexone use are visual and auditory. However, this side effect is rare and does not occur in most people taking it.
What Can Cause Hallucinations While Taking Naltrexone?
Hallucinations can occur as a result of a variety of causes, including the use of certain drugs, severe malnutrition, drug or alcohol withdrawal, and some mental health disorders.
What causes hallucinations in some who take naltrexone is unclear, although it may be linked to its effects of naltrexone on certain neurotransmitters, or chemicals, in the brain.
Potential causes and risk factors for hallucinations include:
- taking naltrexone with opioids still in your system
- use of illicit drugs or alcohol while taking naltrexone
- co-occurring mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia)
- history of psychosis
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Are Hallucinations From Naltrexone Common?
Hallucinating while taking naltrexone as directed is not common. This is an adverse side effect that can occur, but is fairly rare.
Hallucinations and other serious side effects may occur if naltrexone treatment is initiated prematurely—that is, before a person is fully detoxed from substances of abuse.
Taking naltrexone with opioids still in your system—or taking opioids while on naltrexone—could result in severe opioid withdrawal symptoms, including agitation and hallucinations.
What To Do If You Hallucinate While Taking Naltrexone
Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there after taking naltrexone can be a sign of an adverse drug reaction.
If this does occur, contact your prescribing doctor right away for further guidance.
Call Today To Learn More About Naltrexone Treatment
Naltrexone is a safe and effective medication for opioid and alcohol addiction when taken by a doctor as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
For more information about naltrexone, call our helpline today to learn more about naltrexone and how to find naltrexone treatment for addiction near you.
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- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Naltrexone
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hallucinations
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubMed — Naltrexone-associated visual hallucinations: A Case Report
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubMed — The frequency of agitation due to inappropriate use of naltrexone in addicts