Long-term addiction recovery is possible. You can find the treatment, tools and strategies that will work for you or a loved one. One of these tools may be a naltrexone implant.

What Is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone implantNaltrexone can help treat some withdrawal symptoms. It blocks the effects of narcotics. Naltrexone works by binding to opiate receptors so that other drugs like OxyContin, heroin or hydrocodone cannot. The individual will not experience a “high” if he or she takes one of these substances while on naltrexone. This helps patients avoid relapse in recovery. The Mayo Clinic explains, “Naltrexone is used to help narcotic dependents who have stopped taking narcotics to stay drug-free. It is also used to help alcoholics stay alcohol-free. The medicine is not a cure for addiction. It is used as part of an overall program that may include counseling, attending support group meetings, and other treatment recommended by your doctor.”1 Naltrexone does not cure addiction. It can be a useful tool for some patients also participating in comprehensive, integrated treatment programs.

Naltrexone is most often found in Suboxone, a medication that contains both naltrexone and buprenorphine. Suboxone is administered through a daily pill or monthly injection. Because patients often abuse Suboxone, forget to take the drug or can’t make it to regular doctor’s appointments, health care providers are exploring possible alternatives. Naltrexone implants may be one of these alternatives. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shares a trial that found, “The implant device, which releases a steady dose of naltrexone continuously for 2 months, averted relapse to heroin use three times as effectively as daily oral doses of the medication. Oral naltrexone, in turn, yielded a slightly, but statistically nonsignificant, higher rate of remission from heroin use than placebo.”An implant may provide more effective treatment with less risk of abuse or relapse. However any medication can be misused, and no medication is a complete solution for addiction recovery. Although more effective than oral naltrexone, the implants were not a guarantee against relapse. NIDA continues, “Some 10 percent of the participants with active implants relapsed within the 2-month window during which the device is supposed to work…By 6 months after the trial, almost all the participants, from all groups, had relapsed to heroin use.”3 Medications are cures. They are not long-terms answers. They can provide support in early recovery and during rough patches. This support should be used to create the time and space a person needs to reach out for help and begin or return to therapy.

Are Naltrexone Implants Right for Me or My Loved One?

I wanted to change but I didn’t know how…I went to jail, and when I went to court, I begged the judge to give me a treatment program that offered the Vivitrol [naltrexone] shot. I have been clean since I left the jail and in treatment since. —Leah K., heroesinrecovery.com

If you or a loved one is ready to begin or return to recovery, naltrexone may be a useful tool. It should never be the only tool. A personalized, integrated treatment program offers real opportunities for long-term recovery. Professionals will assess your current mental and physical health and design an individualized recovery plan. This plan may or may not include the use of medications like naltrexone or buprenorphine. Every person has unique, individual recovery needs. Call Black Bear Lodge today to learn how we can help you address yours. Our compassionate, confidential treatment team is available to answer any questions you may have, no matter how big or small. Please reach out today.


1Naltrexone (Oral Route).” Mayo Clinic. 1 Mar. 2017. Accessed 12 Sep. 2017.

Naltrexone Implant Outperforms Daily Pill in Russian Trial.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. 22 Nov. 2013. Accessed 14 Sep. 2017.

3 Ibid.