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Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline

Freephone: 0808 808 2234
Or text DAN to: 81066



What does Naltrexone look like?

Tablets, implants.


Scientific Names

Naltrexone Hydrochloride

Generic Name

Nalorex, Opizone

Effects Of Naltrexone


Upset stomach, nervousness, anxiety or muscle and Joint pain. Usually these symptoms are mild and temporary, but for some they can be more severe and longer lasting. Large doses of naltrexone can cause liver failure.

How does Naltrexone work?

Opioid receptor antagonist. It blocks the effects of opiate drugs (such as Morphine, Heroin or Codeine). It competes with these drugs for opioid receptors in the brain - if an individual takes Opiates whilst prescribed Naltrexone the opiates will have no effect, or will cause sudden onset of Withdrawal symptoms. In treatment for Alcohol Dependence it Works by decreasing the craving for alcohol.

Legal status of Naltrexone

Prescription Only Medicine.

How Is Naltrexone Taken?

Naltrexone is recommended as a treatment option for people who have been Opioid dependent but who have stopped using and who are highly motivated to stay free from the drugs in an abstinence programme. Treatment with naltrexone should be given as part of a support programme to help the person manage their Dependence.

Medical uses of Naltrexone

In the long term treatment of Opiate Dependence once individuals are 7-10 days opiate free, and also used in the treatment for Alcohol dependence.

Where does it come from?

Diverted from manufacturers, pharmacies, GPs prescriptions.

Helping services

'Street agencies' or projects, sometimes called community drug services or community drug teams, offer a range of services including information and advice, counselling, detoxification and prescribing for opiate users, needle exchanges and sometimes support groups and other services such as acupuncture. Some may have extended opening hours and may be open at weekends. GPs and hospitals can make referrals to specialist drug services like Drug Dependency Units (DDUs). These are usually located in or adjacent to a hospital and specialise in helping problem drug users, especially people who are dependent on opiate drugs. They provide counselling, detoxification, substitute prescribing and other treatments. Residential services offer treatment programmes for heavily dependent drug users who are trying to give up. Residents must usually be drug free on admission which means they usually have to undergo detoxification before entry. Programmes usually last 3-6 months, but some 12 steps programmes last longer. The types of programmes vary. Self help groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) co-ordinate local support groups for problem drug users around the country. Families Anonymous run similar groups for the families of drug users.

Parents & other relatives

Many drug agencies also provide lots of advice and support to parents, family members and partners of people using drugs. They may provide relative support groups or advice, guidance and counselling on a one to one basis.

You can view a list of National Drug Agencies.

If you would like to talk about Naltrexone problems then please call the DAN 24/7 Helpline on:

0808 808 2234
Last updated: 31 December 2012