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Naltrexone is used in the treatment of opioid dependence and alcoholism.

How it works

Naltrexone belongs to a class of medicines called opioid antagonists. Naltrexone decreases the craving for alcohol or opioid by acting on specific opioid receptors in the brain. It reduces the feeling of euphoria previously experienced after taking opioids or large amounts of alcohol.

Common side effects

Nausea, Vomiting, Headache, Weakness, Anxiety, Joint pain, Insomnia (difficulty in sleeping), Nervousness, Muscle pain, Abdominal pain, Restlessness

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Expert advice

  • Do not consume opioid (opioid free) for a minimum of 7-10 days before starting naltrexone therapy. Your doctor may perform naloxone challenge test (a diagnosis for chronic opiate abuse) before starting the treatment with naltrexone.
  • Do not consume opioid derivatives while on naltrexone treatment.
  • Naltrexone is not recommended in children.
  • Inform your doctor if you are taking or have recently taken any medications for diarrhea, cough, pain, or disulfiram and thioridazine.
  • Do not drive or operate machine as you may feel dizzy or tired.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions



Can you take naltrexone forever?
No, naltrexone must be taken as long as prescribed by your doctor


Can you take naltrexone with Xanax (alprazolam)?
Caution has to be exercised when naltrexone is taken with alprazolam and its derivatives


Can you take naltrexone with suboxone (naloxone and buprenorphine)/ Subtex (buprenorphine)?
No, both suboxone and subtext are used in opioid withdrawal. Hence they should not be taken with naltrexone, as an additive effect leading to side effects may occur. Always follow the instructions of the doctor

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Does naltrexone make you high/ sleepy?
No, naltrexone does not make you high but, may rarely make you sleepy


Does naltrexone help with pain/ for weight loss?
Naltrexone has no known effects on pain and is not indicated for weight loss


Does naltrexone help with opiate cravings?
Yes, naltrexone helps reduce opiate cravings


Does naltrexone test positive for opiates?
No, naltrexone does not test positive for opiates.

Content on this page was last updated on 22 March, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)