Which medications in the drug class Opiate antagonists are used in the treatment of Alcoholism?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Opiate antagonists

Alcohol has been shown to bind to opiate receptors in the brain. Studies show that blocking opiate receptors decreases cravings for alcohol.

Naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol)

Patients must be abstinent for 5-7 d before beginning therapy. Monitor liver function during treatment. Expensive, approximately $4.50/pill. Pure antagonist and is not addicting.

IM administration of Vivitrol reduces first-pass hepatic metabolism as compared with oral naltrexone. No significant increase from baseline in mean AST or ALT levels.

Vivitrol does not appear to be a hepatotoxin at recommended doses but patients should be warned of risk of hepatic injury. Preparation is considered nonaddicting.

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