MedlinePlus

Naltrexone

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IMPORTANT WARNING
Naltrexone may cause liver damage when taken in large doses. It is not likely that naltrexone will cause liver damage when taken in recommended doses. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had hepatitis or liver disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking naltrexone and call your doctor immediately: excessive tiredness,unusual bleeding or bruising, loss of appetite, pain in the upper right part of your stomach that lasts more than a few days, light-colored bowel movements,dark urine, or yellowing of the skin or eyes. [More...]
Why is this medication prescribed?
Naltrexone is used along with counseling and social support to help people who have stopped drinking alcohol and using street drugs continue to avoid drinking or using drugs. Naltrexone should not be used to treat people who are still using street drugs or drinking large amounts of alcohol. Naltrexone is in a class of medications called opiate antagonists. It works by decreasing the craving for alcohol and blocking the effects of opiate medications and opioid street drugs.

How should this medicine be used?
Naltrexone comes as a tablet to take by mouth either at home or under supervision in a clinic or treatment center. When naltrexone is taken at home, it is usually taken once a day with or without food. When naltrexone is taken in a clinic or treatment center, it may be taken once a day, once every other day, once every third day, or once every day except Sunday. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take naltrexone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Naltrexone is only helpful when it is used as part of an addiction treatment program. It is important that you attend all counseling sessions, support group meetings, education programs, or other treatments recommended by your doctor.

Naltrexone will help you avoid using drugs and alcohol, but it will not prevent or relieve the withdrawal symptoms that may occur when you stop using these substances. Instead, naltrexone may cause or worsen withdrawal symptoms. You should not take naltrexone if you have recently stopped using opioid medications or opioid street drugs and are now experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone will help you avoid drugs and alcohol only as long as you are taking it. Continue to take naltrexone even if you feel well. Do not stop taking naltrexone without talking to your doctor.

Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking naltrexone,
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?
Naltrexone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately: Naltrexone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?
Before having any laboratory tests, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking naltrexone.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you have about naltrexone.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

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Last Revised - 02/01/2009
© 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.
ASHP
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