Naltrexone: What are the Side Effects?
Naltrexone is a drug which is commonly used in treating addictions and helping those who are suffering from withdrawal, looking to turn a page in their lives and become drug-free.
Naltrexone is classified as an opioid antagonist, by blocking the receptors in the human body, and preventing people from experiencing the high sensation felt when using drugs.
It basically helps thwart the benefits that drug users experience, in turn, reducing their desire to want to use those drugs.
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Naltrexone blocks the high that users feel when using drugs altogether.
The primary purpose this medication is prescribed is that it will eventually create a block, so that drug users no longer have the desire to use the drugs they were previously addicted to.
Of course, like other medications, there are some Naltrexone side effects for you to be aware of, in the event you are considering this option for treating drug addiction.
Your doctor will discuss the primary Naltrexone side effects with you, as well as some which are less common, to determine if it is the best option for you when trying to get clean.
Limitations of Naltrexone
It’s important to note that Naltrexone isn’t a 100% block from preventing people from feeling the high they desire when taking drugs.
If users increase the dosage of drugs they are taking to such a level that Naltrexone can’t block, it is possible that the effects of this drug won’t be as effective, and in some instances, isn’t going to be effective at all.
Should I Worry About Any Side Effects?
Yes, like other medications, there are some Naltrexone side effects you should familiarize yourself with, prior to starting to use this medication.
There are some which are common, some which aren’t complained of often, and some side effects which are rare.
1. The Rare Naltrexone Side Effects
The first category of side effects is those which aren’t commonly complained of by most users of the prescription.
In some rare instances, skin conditions or rashes might occur.
These should be discussed with your doctor immediately if they do, to determine if it is a direct result of taking Naltrexone.
Other rare Naltrexone side effects include:
- Itching, dry skin, and irritation
- Chest pain
- Confusion or hallucinations
- Mood swings and mental change
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the face, feet, or lower legs, might also occur rarely in some users
As these are infrequent and are rare Naltrexone side effects for the most part, if you do experience any of these, it’s best to talk to your doctor immediately to determine if continued use of Naltrexone is safe.
2. Less Common Naltrexone Side Effects
This next category of Naltrexone side effects isn’t common, but they are complained of more frequently than those listed above.
Chills, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, confusion, increased thirst, and irritability, are among these side effects some users experience.
Additionally, some users of Naltrexone also complain of loss of appetite, sexual problems (mostly in males), or a runny nose and coarseness.
Again, these aren’t often complained of by Naltrexone users, but they are some of the side effects which some users have complained of.
If you experience any of these while taking Naltrexone, it is best to discuss it with your doctor. Doing this will allow you to determine if you need to stop, or try a different prescription, in order to help you in treating the drug addiction which you are trying to fight.
Oftentimes, these Naltrexone side effects aren’t dangerous.
And, over time, many of them will go away on their own. But, it is important to discuss them with your doctor in the event they do not.
3. Common Naltrexone Side Effects
This final category of Naltrexone side effects is the group which is most commonly complained of by Naltrexone users.
Although not everyone who takes the prescription to treat addiction will experience these, they have been complained of by many people who have taken Naltrexone in the past.
Some of the most commonly complained of Naltrexone side effects include:
- Abdominal and stomach cramping
- Joint pain or muscle pain
- Vomiting and/or nausea
Again, just because these are common, doesn’t mean every user of Naltrexone is going to experience them.
However, if you do notice that you are experiencing one, or all of these, it is important to talk to your prescribing doctor as soon as possible, to determine how to proceed with your Naltrexone.
Often, your doctor will indicate it isn’t a major concern, but in some users, a different approach might be necessary in order to treat their addiction to the drugs they are trying to stop using.
Are There Drawbacks to Using Naltrexone?
Yes, apart from the Naltrexone side effects highlighted above, it is possible that an individual becomes dependent on it over time. It can also reduce individual users tolerance levels, meaning if they do turn back to drugs, their body might only require a small dosage of that drug for them to become addicted again.
Naltrexone use should be discussed with your doctor, to determine if it is the best approach for treating your addiction.
Is Naltrexone Right for Me as a Drug User?
Given the above information, many people who are struggling with addiction will find that Naltrexone might be a viable option to help them fight their addiction.
It is best to discuss use with your doctor if you are trying to get clean, to learn of the risks, complications, and the common Naltrexone side effects you might experience, given your personal health history.
For many, getting clean is oftentimes impossible to do on their own. If you are ready to stop using drugs, the first step is to talk to your doctor to find out if a prescription like Naltrexone can help you.
It is a start to helping you get drug free, and can possibly help you on the road to recovery for your addictive tendencies and drug use.
About the author:
Jon writes for ADT Healthcare and a number of other websites. Jon graduated with a degree in psychology in 1992. Jon has been in recovery for 19 years.