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Naltrexone Pellet/Naltrexone Implant for Opiate and Alcohol Recovery - What You Need To Know


What Is Naltrexone?


Naltrexone is a medication that acts as a competitive antagonist to the mu opioid receptors in the body. These receptors are found all over the body, especially in the brain and the gut. The opiate molecules (endorphines) our body's naturally make attach to these receptors. Opium, heroin, morphine, and the other opiates, including Suboxone, attach to these receptors also.


Competitive antagonist simply means that for these specific receptors, the naltrexone goes into the spot where an opiate normally would and it directly blocks the opiates from attaching there. The naltrexone has a greater affinity for the receptor site than all other opiates, ie. it holds on tighter. If there's an opiate there, it will kick it out and occupy the spot. When this happens, withdrawals happen. These are called precipitated withdrawals and they are intense! This can be avoided but it's one of the reasons someone who understands this body chemistry well should be administering the Vivitrol shot.



Why Naltrexone For Opiate Dependence?


Since naltrexone blocks opiates from binding the the mu receptors, once the the naltrexone is there, you essentially can't get high from opiates anymore. Naltrexone is essentially a really effective security blanket to opiate relapse. For most people, physical craving is usually diminished with naltrexone as well.



Why Naltrexone For Alcohol Dependence?


Naltrexone has a couple of useful effects in alcohol use disorder. One is that for most people, it significantly reduces or eliminates craving. This helps reduce relapse. Secondly, if you do drink alcohol, you don't get sick like with the medication Antabuse, but it is not the same experience. Drinking alcohol on naltrexone takes out the pleasurable feeling and makes it much less enticing in this way also.



What Is The Naltrexone Pellet?


The pellet is naltrexone made into a sterile, large vitamin-sized pellet, by a compounding pharmacy. The pellet is inserted in the subcutanoues tissue (in the fat), typically around the navel or waistline. The pellet then dissolves over a 2 month time period, keeping naltrexone in the bloodstream the entire time.


Why The Naltrexone Pellet And Not Pills?

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