Below are some frequently asked questions about opioid addiction, as well as the Naltrexone implant.
What is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone is a synthetic drug used in the treatment of alcohol and opioids, particularly heroin. It is an opioid receptor antagonist, which means it blocks the effects of drugs like heroin. It is used to help prevent relapse in patients who have suffered alcohol and opioid addiction in the past, and have tried other methods of treatment.
What if I drink alcohol or use drugs while on Naltrexone?
Naltrexone works by blocking pleasure receptors in the brain associated with alcohol and opioid use. A person can still become intoxicated while on Naltrexone. For example, if a person drinks while taking Naltrexone, they will still be impaired and have lowered inhibitions but will derive no pleasure from the experience.
Why use a Naltrexone implant, when I can just take it in pill form?
Many find it hard to keep on a medication schedule, and missing doses can lead to side effects or drug cravings. Some may prefer the injection to avoid the temptation to either not take the oral medication, or to sell it.
What is an opioid?
Opioids are naturally derived from the poppy plant and are used in medications to treat pain. Opioids are found in prescription medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. It is also found in street drugs like heroin.
Opioids were prescribed to me by a doctor, so it’s okay to take them, right?
Opioids are a very strong pain reliever, used only in extreme cases, such as after surgery. If over-the-counter medication is strong enough, it is better to use that than opioids, because opioids are so addictive and eventually the beneficial effects can decrease with overuse. If you have leftover opioids for some reason, do not use them in non-prescribed situations, and always consult a doctor before taking them. You should never share your prescription medication with anyone else.
Is it possible to overdose on opioids?
Yes. Opioid overdose deaths have tripled in the last 15 years. Opioids slow your breathing, and too many opioids can slow breathing down too much, leading to death.
Can you stop an opioid overdose?
Yes, if you act fast. If you or someone you know is overdosing, call 911. Medics will likely administer naloxone, which is administered as an injection or nasal spray. Naloxone works by blocking the effects of opioids. It is possible to purchase naloxone and keep it at home in case of emergencies, but you should still always call 911 even if you have administered naloxone. Make sure to tell the medics you suspect an opioid overdose, and if you have already administered naloxone.
Can you have withdrawal from opioids?
Yes. Symptoms of opioid withdrawal include anxiety, irritability, nausea, irritability, hot and cold sweats, low energy, oversleeping, excessive yawning, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms can last anywhere from one week to a month, and start about 12 hours after the last use of opioids. Some symptoms, such as anxiety, moods swings, and poor sleep can continue for as long as two years.
More detailed and professional information you can also find here.