How should naltrexone be administered in the treatment of alcoholism?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

In 2001, Sinclair reviewed 8 studies and suggested that naltrexone is safe to administer in patients who are still drinking and that it will gradually result in the patient consuming less alcohol (this is the case in laboratory animals). [49] Patients should take the naltrexone daily initially and then only when they have a strong urge to drink. Patients should carry naltrexone with them indefinitely. Patients should agree to always take the naltrexone prior to drinking alcohol. Daily naltrexone may be counterproductive in patients who remain abstinent. It is most helpful in those who sample alcohol after stopping (lower chance of a relapse). More data are needed before this approach can be adapted because it challenges the conventional wisdom that complete abstinence is always the goal of treatment.


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