Naltrexone Implant

How It Works

Understanding Naltrexone Implant

As a dedicated group of professionals at Medication Assisted Treatment, we often encounter individuals grappling with opioid dependency, a challenging journey towards sobriety. Among the various treatments we advocate for is the naltrexone implant, a powerful tool in combating opioid addiction. This innovative treatment approach is designed to block the euphoric effects of opioids, thereby reducing cravings and supporting recovery.

How It Works

Naltrexone implant employs a medication that functions as an opioid antagonist. Once inserted under the skin, it slowly releases naltrexone into the body over a period of months. This mechanism effectively blocks opioid receptors in the brain, preventing opioids from exerting their euphoric effects, which is crucial for individuals on the path to recovery.

Benefits of Naltrexone Implant

The naltrexone implant offers several advantages. First, its long-lasting effect ensures continuous opioid blockade, which is a significant benefit for those who struggle with daily medication adherence. Secondly, by reducing cravings, it allows individuals to focus on the psychological aspects of recovery through counseling and behavioral therapies. Lastly, it serves as a critical safety net, significantly reducing the risk of relapse.

Clinical Evidence

The efficacy of the naltrexone implant is backed by numerous studies and real-world evidence. While it is not a one-size-fits-all solution, clinical trials have shown promising results in reducing opioid dependency rates. It’s important to note that success rates are notably higher when the implant is part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychological support and lifestyle changes.

Personal Experiences

In my years of practice, I’ve witnessed the transformative impact the naltrexone implant can have on individuals battling severe opioid addiction. One memorable case involved a young man who had struggled with heroin addiction for several years. The implant, alongside tailored counseling, enabled him to rebuild his life, highlighting the profound difference this treatment can make.

Considerations and Challenges

While the naltrexone implant is a powerful tool, it’s essential to approach it with realistic expectations. The implantation procedure, though minor, does carry risks such as infection or irritation at the implant site. Additionally, it’s crucial for candidates to be fully detoxed from opioids to avoid precipitated withdrawal, a potentially severe and uncomfortable reaction.

Selection Criteria

Not everyone is a candidate for a naltrexone implant. Suitable individuals typically have a history of opioid dependency and have completed detoxification. They should also be committed to a comprehensive recovery plan. Patient selection is critical; those with certain medical conditions or who are pregnant may not be eligible.

Implant Procedure

The procedure to insert a naltrexone implant is relatively straightforward and performed under local anesthesia. A small incision is made, usually in the lower abdominal area, where the implant is inserted. The entire process takes about 30 minutes, and patients can usually return home the same day.

Life After Implant

Life after receiving a naltrexone implant involves regular check-ups with healthcare providers and continued engagement in therapy and support groups. An essential part of the journey includes developing new coping strategies and making lifestyle changes that support sobriety.

  • Regular follow-up appointments to monitor the implant site and overall health.
  • Continued participation in counseling and support groups.
  • Personal commitment to lifestyle changes and coping strategies.


How long does the naltrexone implant last?

The naltrexone implant typically lasts for 6 to 12 months, depending on the individual’s metabolism and the implant’s dosage.

Is the naltrexone implant right for everyone?

No, the naltrexone implant is not suitable for everyone. A thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider is necessary to determine if it’s the right option for an individual’s specific situation.

Can I remove the naltrexone implant early?

Yes, the implant can be removed before the end of its efficacy period if necessary. However, this should only be done by a qualified healthcare professional.


At Medication Assisted Treatment, we view the naltrexone implant as a valuable component of a holistic approach to treating opioid addiction. Its ability to block opioid effects and reduce cravings offers a solid foundation for recovery. However, it’s most effective when combined with counseling, therapy, and a strong support system. If you or a loved one is considering a naltrexone implant, we encourage you to reach out to us for a comprehensive evaluation and to discuss whether it’s the right option for you.

Personal Experiences

How long does a naltrexone implant last?

The lifespan of a naltrexone implant can vary broadly between 6 to 12 months, significantly influenced by an individual’s unique metabolism and the specific dosage of the implant. In our experience at Medication Assisted Treatment, we observe that the effectiveness of the implant is not just a matter of its functional duration but also how it’s integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan. Remember, the journey doesn’t end with the dissipation of the implant’s effects; it’s an ongoing process of managing and sustaining recovery.

Are naltrexone implants FDA approved?

As of our last update, naltrexone implants themselves are not explicitly approved by the FDA, though naltrexone as a medication is FDA-approved for treating opioid and alcohol dependence. This might raise eyebrows but let me put it into context. The core medication, naltrexone, is widely recognized for its safety and efficacy. The implant method delivers the same medication in a way that addresses compliance challenges common in addiction treatment. We guide our patients through understanding these nuances, ensuring they are making informed choices about their recovery journey.

How effective is the naltrexone implant?

Effectiveness can be a subjective term, especially in the realm of addiction treatment. However, naltrexone implants have shown promising results in several studies for reducing dependency rates among opioid users, particularly when combined with comprehensive treatment plans that include psychological support and lifestyle adjustments. It’s not a magic bullet but a tool that, when used appropriately, can provide a solid foundation for recovery. Each patient’s success story adds to our belief in its potential benefits, alongside a holistic treatment approach.

Can you drink on naltrexone implant?

It’s crucial to distinguish that while naltrexone is also used to treat alcohol addiction, its primary function in the context of the implant is to combat opioid dependency. That said, drinking alcohol while having a naltrexone implant for opioid treatment is not advised. Alcohol can interfere with the recovery process, and while the implant might not directly affect your body’s response to alcohol, the goal is to foster healthier coping mechanisms and lifestyle choices. Sobriety, in all forms, becomes a pillar of the recovery journey.

What should individuals realistically expect from their naltrexone implant treatment?

Setting realistic expectations is key. The naltrexone implant offers a bridge to recovery, not an outright cure. Patients should expect to work closely with their treatment providers to integrate the implant into a broader recovery plan. This includes regular follow-ups, psychological support, and lifestyle changes. A critical part of this process is the development of coping strategies to handle stressors and triggers without reverting to substance use. Our team at Medication Assisted Treatment emphasizes this holistic approach, guiding each patient through their unique recovery landscape. We’ve seen remarkable turnarounds, but they require commitment and patience.


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