Please Note: This medication should not be used without the direction and recommendation from a licensed physician. The most effective treatment involves a combination of medication treatment and counseling. View Journey Road’s treatment plan here for guidance on how to begin your road to recovery.

How Naltrexone Works

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning the brain activity it produces counteracts the effects of other substances, like opioids and alcohol. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids, including pain relief and euphoria that perpetuates opioid abuse. Naltrexone is used to prevent relapse in people who became dependent on opioid medicine and then stopped using it. Naltrexone can override cravings for opioids. The chemical actions of Naltrexone is also used in the treatment of alcohol dependence. Naltrexone treats alcoholism by reducing the compulsion to drink alcohol. This may help you drink less or stop drinking completely. Naltrexone will not cause sobriety and it will not impact the effects of alcohol consumed. Naltrexone is not a cure for drug addiction or alcoholism. Do not take Naltrexone if you still use other opioids, or you could experience sudden and severe withdrawal symptoms.

To put it simply, Naltrexone prevents the opiates or alcohol consumed from effecting the brain. Essentially, it removes the pleasure and reward of getting high or intoxicated.

Side Effects of Naltrexone

Some of the side effects of naltrexone are simply uncomfortable. However, other side effects caused by Naltrexone can be life threatening. If you experience any of the following side effects, tell your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Rashes

Naltrexone can cause liver damage, a condition that can be life threatening. If you notice any of the following symptoms, let your doctor know right away:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Pain in the right upper abdomen
  • A yellowish color in your skin or eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Confusion
  • Depression

Patients who receive injections of naltrexone (as Vivitrol) may experience reactions at the injection site after a shot is administered. The injection site reactions include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Hardening
  • Bruising
  • Redness

Other drugs may interact with naltrexone. Make sure all of your healthcare provider are aware of all the medications you are taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Speak to your healthcare provider before starting or stopping all medications.

References & Other Resources

U.S. National Library of Medicine

Journey Road Treatment Center

East Side Clinic

1201 N Post Rd., Suite 4
Indianapolis, IN 46219

Phone: 317-405-8833

Fax: 317-672-2398



Journey Road Treatment Center

West Side Clinic

5610 W Crawfordsville Rd., Suite 1500
Indianapolis, IN 46224

Phone: 317-562-0500

Fax: 317-562-0589

Journey Road Treatment Center

South Side Clinic

8106 S Madison Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227

Phone: 317-884-1752

Fax: 317-884-1753

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