Is naltrexone effective in treating alcohol abuse?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Known as an opioid antagonist, naltrexone (Depade, ReVia, Vivitrol) reduces your craving for a drink and, if you go ahead and drink anyway, blunts the pleasurable effects of alcohol. This medication for alcohol abuse is most effective in conjunction with some form of psychotherapy, according to numerous studies.

Naltrexone is generally recommended if you have stopped drinking and are trying to avoid relapse, but some people who have not been able to stop drinking entirely can use it to control their alcohol consumption.

In many, but not all, studies of this drug, people taking naltrexone achieved longer abstinence and had fewer relapses than those taking a placebo. An analysis of 29 studies done in many countries found that naltrexone reduced the risk of relapse or a return to heavy drinking during the first three months after withdrawal by more than one-third. The effect does not persist, however, when you stop taking the drug.

Continue Learning about Dependency Agent

What drugs may interact with varenicline?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Some patients who took varenicline along with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) reported higher rat...
More Answers
What are the side effects of varenicline?
As with all drugs, varenicline has some possible drawbacks you need to be aware of: Before taking...
More Answers
How effective is varenicline?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Studies show that people who use varenicline at the recommended dose of 2 mg a day are 3 times more ...
More Answers
What is varenicline (Chantix)?
Dr. Joseph I. Miller, MDDr. Joseph I. Miller, MD
Varenicline, more commonly known as Chantix, is a new class of drugs which blocks the pleasant effec...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.