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Naltrexone is used together with other forms of treatment such as
counselling in the treatment of narcotic addiction and alcohol dependence.
Naltrexone blocks the effects of narcotics and helps decrease the craving
You will benefit more from this medication if you are regular or consistent
in taking your medication and attending rehabilitation programs.
Take this medication only as directed by your physician. Maintain close
contact with your physician, or if you are treated at a clinic, with your
counsellors. Always tell any physician or dentist treating you that you are
taking naltrexone. To ensure that you will receive adequate treatment in an
emergency, wear a medic-alert bracelet or carry an identification card
indicating that you are taking naltrexone.
If you stop taking naltrexone and start using narcotics or alcohol again,
you may relapse and become dependent on the drugs or alcohol. If you have
started using narcotics again, do not take naltrexone until you have seen
your doctor. Your body must be completely free of narcotics before
naltrexone is started again or withdrawal symptoms will occur. If you
self-administer small doses of heroin or other narcotics while taking
naltrexone, they will not have any effect. However, if you self-administer
a large dose of heroin or any other narcotic, you may have trouble
breathing and possibly die. After naltrexone therapy is stopped, you may be
more sensitive to lower doses of narcotics than previously.
If you drink alcohol while taking naltrexone, it will not make you sick,
however some patients have increased nausea.
Taking naltrexone with food such as toast or bagels, with or after a meal,
or with an antacid may decrease nausea.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is
almost time for your next dose, skip the missed one and continue with your
regular schedule. Do not take two doses to make up for a missed one.
The most commonly reported side effects include nausea, headache,
dizziness, fatigue, nervousness, insomnia, vomiting, anxiety, and decreased
appetite which usually resolve in 1-2 weeks. It is sometimes difficult to
tell alcohol withdrawal symptoms from side effects of naltrexone. Check
with your physician if you experience any effects that are prolonged or
Some people who take naltrexone show changes in liver function tests
suggesting an effect on the liver; however, the risk of liver damage is
much less than that caused by alcohol use. Since using naltrexone and
alcohol together may increase the chance of liver problems, avoid alcohol.
Report to your physician immediately if you have unusual fatigue, fever,
nausea, light-coloured bowel movements, dark urine or yellowing of your
eyes. These could be symptoms of liver disease.
Do not share this medication with anyone. If naltrexone is taken by a
narcotic dependent person who is receiving methadone or is taking other
narcotics, severe withdrawal symptoms may occur.
Narcotic-related drugs contained in cough suppressants or in antidiarrheal
agents may not be effective while you are receiving naltrexone. Ask your
pharmacist for help when choosing cough and cold preparations or
Inform your physician if you intend to become pregnant, become pregnant, or
if you wish to breast-feed.
Keep this and all medication in its original labelled container out of the
reach of children. Store in a dry place, out of direct sunlight.