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Frequently Asked Questions

How does Naltrexone (Trexan/Revia) work as a treatment for alcoholism?

Short Answer

Naltrexone blocks the receptors in the brain that sense pleasure when alcohol is consumed. This reduces cravings to have a drink.

Long Answer

Naltrexone competes with other drugs for opioid receptors in the brain. This reduces the pleasure effect of alcohol, therefore reducing cravings to have another drink. Unlike Disulfiram (brand name: Antabuse), Naltrexone does not make you feel sick if you drink alcohol while taking it. Naltrexone does not decrease the effects of alcohol that impair coordination and judgment.

Typical duration of treatment with Naltrexone is three to six months. Individualized treatment by a doctor will determine the appropriate dosage and treatment schedule.

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Additional Information

Naltrexone is not a replacement for psychosocial treatments such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, counseling, family therapy, and group therapy, for example. Naltrexone has the greatest success in combination with such addiction treatments.

More Questions and Answers about Naltrexone from the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Questions and Answers from the Pamphlet "Guidelines for the Use of Naltrexone in the Treatment of Alcoholism" by Bruce J. Rounsaville, M.D., Stephanie O'Malley, Ph.D., and Patrick O'Connor, M.D. - The APT Foundation, 904 Howard Avenue, New Haven, CT 06519.
An in-depth Treatment Improvement Protocol published by the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services.