Before using Naltrexone for the treatment of alcoholism and addiction, you should know about how to take the medication in a proper manner, what side effects to expect, and what drug interactions to avoid. We’ll look at each of these aspects in detail below.
Naltrexone hydrochloride under various brand names like Revia, Depade, and Vivitrol is available in both tablet and extended-release injectable suspension form. Its recommended oral dosage for alcohol dependence is 50 mg once a day. The dosage for injectable suspension is 380 mg every 4 weeks or once a month through intramuscular gluteal injection in alternating buttocks.
As far as opiate dependence is concerned, the treatment should not be initiated unless the patient is immune from any kind of opioid for minimum of 7 to 10 days. The abstention of any opioid substance must be affirmed by analyzing urine sample. There must be no evidence or reporting of withdrawal signs or symptoms in the patient.
If any doubt arises regarding occult opioid dependence, you must undergo a Naloxone challenge test and do not commence the treatment till the result of Naloxone challenge comes negative. This kind of challenge test should be carried out only in those patients who have demonstrated clinical symptoms or signs of opioid withdrawal, or whose urine comprises opioids. There is no problem in repeating Naloxone challenge in 24 hours.
The first dose of Naltrexone for treating opiate dependence is one time 25 mg orally. In case you do not experience any withdrawal symptoms, you can begin to take maintenance doses of 50 mg orally once a day.
There are also alternative dosing schedules available such as 50 mg orally on week days and 100 mg orally on Saturday to enhance compliance. You can also take 100 mg orally every other day, or 150 mg orally every third day.
You should swallow the Naltrexone pill whole with a full glass of water. You may also take it with food to reduce the risk of stomach disorder. It is very essential to take Naltrexone tablets regularly to obtain maximum benefit. Most of the time, your healthcare provider may advise that a family member or a caregiver should administer doses to the patient.
You must stop taking Revia(Naltrexone) immediately and seek your doctor’s help if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Allergic reactions leading to swelling of the face, tongue, or lips, closing of the throat, trouble breathing, or hives.
- Fast heartbeat
- Eye problems or blurry vision
- Stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), low fever
- Confusion, hallucinations, mood changes, abnormal thoughts
- Itchiness or skin rashes
- Pain in ears, ringing in your ears
Continue your doses of Naltrexone and consult with your doctor if you have any of the following common and less serious side effects:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Fainting, feeling light-headed
- Reduced sex urge (libido), erectile dysfunction, or trouble accomplishing an orgasm
- Heightened thirst
- Anxiousness, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability
This is not a comprehensive list of side effects of Naltrexone. Several others may also happen. In case of strange and unbearable side effects, contact your doctor immediately.