In addition to therapy and 12 step programs, a naltrexone impact can make a big impact on helping someone overcome the hurdles of alcoholism, symptoms of alcoholism, and even opiate addiction. Here are some answers to the most common questions people have about the implant and how it works.
What is the naltrexone implant and how does it work with alcoholism?
When someone makes the decision to become abstinent from drugs or alcohol, they’re making a very big decision to change their lifestyle. The goal of sobriety is to no longer rely on alcohol or other substances to create a false feeling of happiness. Achieving and staying sober means replacing that reliance of alcohol or drugs with healthy habits that encourage well being.
Therapy and participation in a 12 step program can do a lot to help a person accomplish those goals. There are also medications that can supplement those programs to help a recovering alcoholic or addict stay on track. Naltrexone therapy is one of the most effective medications to help do just that. The way it works is through the opiate receptors in the brain.
It is these exact receptors that the pleasant effects of consuming alcohol are originated from. By blocking these receptors, Naltrexone can effectively suppress cravings and even minimize the pleasant effects of alcohol if it is consumed. This suppression at a chemical level helps those in recovery stay sober and continue on with their goals.
How is naltrexone taken?
The naltrexone implant is a specially formulated form of the drug that is designed to be slowly released into the system over a 6 to 12 week period. By placing the implant under the patient’s skin it prevents any skipped or forgotten doses that occur when medications are taken orally. The implant has not yet been submitted to the FDA, but the drugs it contains have already been approved in other forms. The implant would be prescribed.
How does an naltrexone implant differ from taking oral tablets?
An implant works better at giving a patient an even and consistent dose of the medication every day. This leads to a higher chance at success in the recovery process. The patient is more likely to stay sober and experience less cravings for drugs or alcohol. As a result, they are more committed to therapy and recovery programs. It is not certain whether the cause of this is either a physical or mental one, or both, but it clear that the naltrexone implant has had very successful results in clinical trials.
What are the risks and side effects of getting the implant?
All medications have some risks and side effects, and it’s important to be aware of what they are before you begin the dosage. Naltrexone taken before a patient has become completely sober will cause painful withdrawal symptoms. Be sure to tell your doctor your history with drinking and drugs before beginning naltrexone in order to avoid any serious symptoms.
If you are injured and need to take prescribed narcotics for pain, the implant will need to be removed beforehand in order for the pain medication to work properly. There are also non narcotic medications and sedatives that a doctor can prescribe to you.There is a small risk of developing infection or inflammation with the insertion of the naltrexone implant. Naltrexone does not have to be taken for the rest of a patient’s life, however caution should be taken when a patient does decide to stop using the medication. It should be done gradually and under the supervision of a doctor in order to prevent a relapse from occurring.