This blog answers the question, “does naltrexone help block cravings?” and details how it can help patients struggling with opioid addiction detox.

Watch Dr. Coleman's recap on Facebook, "We often get asked if naltrexone really can help with cravings. Dr. Coleman explains how it works." or read the summary below.

Does Naltrexone Really Help With Cravings?

Good afternoon. I often get asked whether long-acting naltrexone really does eliminate cravings for opioids. And that has been pretty much our experience, where, of course, eliminates a strong word where there's no cravings at all. But almost all of our patients are amazed at how low their cravings are when they're taking either Vivitrol, the one-month injection, or the implants that we use, the naltrexone implants that last two months. And I get asked that question a lot because, obviously, people who are trying to recover from opioid dependence do a lot better when they aren't craving it really strongly.

And there's a belief, I think, in the main medical community that have never used long-acting naltrexone that oral naltrexone, the one-day pill, actually doesn't decrease cravings at all. And I have to say; I found that true. So it's not really the naltrexone itself as the molecule that seems to be decreasing the cravings. It's the fact that we've put it into a long-acting form. And when you think about it, that makes sense because when we give somebody a 2-month naltrexone implant, they know up here that they just can't get high at all.

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How Does Naltrexone Work?

Even if they go buy some street drugs, and we've had lots of people try it, they come back and say, "Well, it just did nothing." It couldn't get through to the receptors. You understand that the naltrexone blocks the opioid receptor. So then the heroin and the drugs that they're taking can't get into the receptor. And so they have no effect at all.

It's like taking a sugar pill. And so they know that. And so then they stop thinking about it. When you think about cravings for anything, the access to it, the ability to get it is the important thing.

We've all had the experience where we were on a diet or not trying to eat too much. And then somebody brings along some donuts, or some cakes, or some Doritos chips or something that we know are going to taste down delicious.

And all of a sudden, we have what are essentially cravings. Why? Because they're sitting right there. They've reminded you that they're there, that they're there, and you have access to it. You could take them if you want to. So it sets up this internal debate where I could have it, but I shouldn't, but I don't want to, but yes, I do. So that's what cravings are all about.

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How Long Does Naltrexone Last?

As soon as we put people on the implant 2 months, they just don't think about it. Their cravings start coming back on about week seven because then there's only one more week to go before they could get high if they don't come back and get their next one. So we work hard to make sure people come back and get their next treatment.

The oral tablets almost seem to make the cravings worse because it's only one day because they take the pill, and then, within 24 hours, it's worn off. And everybody can wait one day to eat that chocolate cake or that ice cream that's certainly in the fridge, or whatever it is. And so, people with the drug addiction, they can easily wait one day to get high. So it almost reminds them when they take the pill that they could get high tomorrow. And that drives people a little bit nuts. So most people stop taking the pill very quickly, but the long-acting naltrexone very dramatic craving reduction.

More like this: How Long Does Naltrexone Last & How Can It Aid in My Recovery?


So, if you do need help with your opioid dependence or anybody that does, please get them on treatment soon.

Please schedule a callback with the Coleman Institute now if you are ready to detox off opioids. Together we can help you start your path to recovery.