The 5 Most Common Questions about Naltrexone Answered

Naltrexone, or its brand name Vivitrol, headlines many news stories covering opioid misuse, and you may be wondering if it is the right treatment medication for you. Here’s the scoop…

Will naltrexone work for me?

Naltrexone, an FDA-approved medication that prevents the relapse to opioid dependence, is available to patients who have achieved complete detoxification from opioids. Patients must be opioid-free for at least seven to 10 days to avoid sudden withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone is a relapse prevention measure for patients who have completely detoxed from opioids, and are participating in addiction counseling services and social support programs.

What’s the science behind naltrexone therapy?

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. That means it blocks certain receptors, or the sites where opioids work in the brain.

If a person relapses and uses the problem drug, naltrexone prevents the feeling of getting high.

How much does naltrexone cost?

The cost of the injection ranges from $1,200 to $1,500 per shot that is taken once a month. Naltrexone is occasionally covered by Medicaid or commercial insurance, and patients should work with their healthcare provider to determine the most suitable and economical form of treatment.

Are there risks with taking naltrexone? 

Patients on naltrexone will have a reduced tolerance to opioids and may be unaware that lower doses of opioids can have life-threatening consequences. If patients who are treated with naltrexone relapse after a period of abstinence, it is possible that the dosage of opioid that was previously used may result in overdose or death.

Patients taking naltrexone should not use any illegal drugs, drink alcohol, or take sedatives, tranquilizers or other drugs that slow breathing. Combining any of these substances with naltrexone can lead to overdose or death.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take naltrexone. Research shows that methadone is safer for mother and child.

Where can I find more information about naltrexone?

For more information on naltrexone, visit; call 1-877-284-7074; or email