A review of the use of oral and injectable naltrexone for alcohol and opioid addiction treatment
evidence and practice    

A review of the use of oral and injectable naltrexone for alcohol and opioid addiction treatment

Lisa Pullen Professor and director of Family Psychiatry Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program in Nursing, Lincoln Memorial University, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Amanda Abbott Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, Lincoln Memorial University, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Ashley Lawhorn Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, Lincoln Memorial University, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Sarah Harder Family nurse practitioner, Lincoln Memorial University, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Background Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist used in the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependency. Its efficacy has been demonstrated in a variety of studies. In the United States it is available as an oral or injectable medication but in the UK it is only available via the oral route.

Aims This manuscript evaluates the evidence supporting the use of naltrexone in addiction treatment. The aim is to assess the overall safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of naltrexone.

Results Overall, each modality of naltrexone showed superior treatment outcomes when compared to non-medication therapies. When used appropriately, naltrexone blocks the reinforcing effects of opioids, is not associated with tolerance, withdrawal, or abuse potential, and decreases the likelihood of relapse to opioid use.

Conclusions Naltrexone is a cost-effective treatment that promotes and supports the abstinence of opioid use across a wide range of demographics and severity characteristics. Further research is needed to generate more definitive, evidence-based conclusions.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2018.e1263

Citation

Pullen L, Abbott A, Lawhorn A et al (2018) A review of the use of oral and injectable naltrexone for alcohol and opioid addiction treatment. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2018.e1263

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

Lisa.pullen@lmunet.edu

Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 24 October 2018

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