Sexual Side Effects Of Naltrexone

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 31, 2023

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is a medication that can affect sexual function and a person’s menstrual cycle. It is commonly prescribed to reduce cravings for opioids and alcohol, as well as block their euphoric effects.

Sexual Side Effects Of Naltrexone

Sexual dysfunction is a problem that can manifest in a number of ways, including decreased desire for sex, pain during sex, and erectile dysfunction.

Taking naltrexone for opioid dependence or alcohol use disorder may have sexual side effects, in part due to the effects of this medication on the body’s endogenous opioid system and hormones.

The side effects of naltrexone on sexual function can vary, depending on a person’s history of substance use, recent drug or alcohol use, and other personal factors.

What Causes Sexual Side Effects While Taking Naltrexone?

Naltrexone belongs to a group of medications known as opioid antagonists. It binds and blocks opioid receptors in the body, which can in turn affect hormone regulation.

Opioid drugs are known to lower free and available testosterone. While naltrexone isn’t an opioid, its antagonistic effects on opioid receptors can produce a hormone response.

Hormonal regulation plays a central role in the function of sexual organs, sexual desire, and menstruation. Changes to hormone levels, therefore, may disrupt this.

Does Naltrexone Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is a side effect that can occur while taking naltrexone, also known as Vivitrol or Revia.

Risk factors for this might include:

  • older age
  • chronic opioid dependence
  • high stress

Chronic opioid dependence can lead to effects on sexual function. In healthy adults without a history of opioid abuse, naltrexone may help treat erectile dysfunction.

However, while naltrexone—an opioid antagonist—can block euphoric effects of opiates, its use may not necessarily reverse or treat sexual side effects caused by opioid dependence.

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Does Naltrexone Cause Premature Ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation is a common symptom associated with naltrexone use, in addition to erectile dysfunction and general physical weakness.

Does Naltrexone Affect The Menstrual Cycle?

Naltrexone has been studied for its potential to treat weight loss-related amenorrhea, or the absence of one’s monthly menstrual periods.

Irregular menstruation is a hormonal issue that can occur as a result of chronic alcohol abuse, opioid abuse, stress, malnutrition, or health conditions such as endometriosis.

Naltrexone is not known to cause irregular menstruation. If this does occur, consider contacting your doctor to discuss potential causes.

Can Natrexone Affect Sex Drive?

Reduced desire for sex is a common side effect of all medications for opioid use disorder, including naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine (Suboxone).

During naltrexone treatment, people taking this medication may experience less interest in having sex or feel less satisfied after engaging in sexual activity.

Risk Factors For Sexual Side Effects Of Naltrexone

Sexual dysfunction can be influenced by a whole host of factors unrelated to the use of naltrexone.

Additional risk factors for sexual dysfunction may include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • high stress levels
  • insomnia
  • certain medical conditions (e.g. diabetes)
  • kidney or liver failure
  • concern about sexual performance
  • past sexual trauma
  • relationship problems
  • use of antidepressants (e.g. SSRIs)

Treatment for sexual dysfunction may come in the form of hormone replacement, or the use of behavioral treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy or relationship counseling.

Although it can be difficult to talk about sexual side effects from medication use, discussing this with a doctor may offer an opportunity to find a treatment best suited for you or a loved one.

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Reach out to today for more information about substance use disorder treatment.

For more information about naltrexone treatment, or to find treatment for drug or alcohol addiction near you, call our helpline to speak to one of our staff members today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 31, 2023
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