Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug derived from morphine. In recovery, detoxification from heroin is crucial but can be very painful; withdrawal symptoms range from nausea and sweating to insomnia, muscle aches, and diarrhea. Thankfully, there are medications that you can opt for to help relieve some of the discomfort associated with these symptoms. Once detox is complete, you may be offered to take naltrexone – a compound that blocks opioid receptors – to minimize your risk of overdose and to discourage you from engaging in opioid abuse.
Essentially, naltrexone blocks the pleasure receptors in the brain that are typically released when opioid drugs such as heroin are taken. If you choose this option, however, you must be very diligent in taking this medication – either orally or as an injection – as prescribed by your doctor. Overall, naltrexone is for more long-term use and can be used as a maintenance drug to prevent use and avoid relapse as you work through your journey to recovery.
Extended-release naltrexone has become more mainstream, as it comes in a monthly injectable formulation with the full mu-opioid receptor antagonist. Thus, for individuals who are concerned they may forget to take their daily dose, this could be a valuable option. A 2016 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine involved the assessment of extended-release naltrexone to 153 participants with opioid dependence and 155 participants to a regular form of treatment to serve as a comparison group. Results from the study showed that participants who received the naltrexone experienced a longer time to relapse, with no reports of overdose events after 78 weeks compared to seven events that were reported by the group who received regular treatment.
All in all, it’s up to you and your doctor to determine if naltrexone is right for you. If you haven’t sought treatment yet, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to determine the best options for your recovery.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.