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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Is Naltrexone effective at treating alcohol dependence?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Soujanya

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 608 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 16 Oct 2018 in Mental Health
Question: I am wanting to reduce my alcohol consumption to improve my overall health. I took the alcohol dependence quiz on the moderation website and I scored "low dependence". I want to do this anonymously and my gp is not very helpful (refused to discussed naltrexone). I purchased a book called "my way out" which details supplements, hypnotherapy and naltrexone use to reduce craving. (I have addictive personality--I also use food, purging, TV to deal with stress).
I just ordered naltrexone online without a prescription. I was planning on starting at 50 mg once a day at noon.
Does this sound like a decent approach?
I am also on 75 mg of effexor daily.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Soujanya 37 minutes later
Brief Answer:

I would advise you to take prescription based medicine.

Detailed Answer:

Hi,

I have gone through your query in detail and can understand your concern towards the usage of Naltrexone.

I would suggest you take only prescription based medicine of Naltrexone.

Definitely, Naltrexone is an effective anti-craving drug in reducing craving for alcohol.

But, it has to be taken under the guidance of professional.

The dose would be 50 mg once a day and need to be continued for 3 months for effective response.

It can also help in your addictive personality.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Follow up: Dr. Soujanya 3 days later
I just started 50 mg per day. Is there a best time of day to take and any expected side effects?
Thanks!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Soujanya 9 hours later
Brief Answer:

Best time to be taken is in the morning.

Detailed Answer:

Hi,

I have understood your concern towards naltrexone side effects and best time to be taken. I hope you had consulted your doctor to take prescription else it is difficult to follow up in your case.

There are very minimal side effects like nausea, headache, dizziness, sleep disturbances etc, which occurs only in some individuals and subsides.

The withdrawal symptoms like abdominal cramps, restlessness may be seen, but which are very rare.
So, nothing to worry.

The best time to be taken is in the morning after breakfast.

Please consult your doctor and get prescription for the drug.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Soujanya 2 days later
Hello, I am Waiting for appt. with physician to monitor my medications. In the mean time....
I find taking the naltrexone makes me feel a bit dizzy and light headed — will this resolve after a several or should I start taking it at night?
Also, I did drink several glasses of wine after starting it and the next day I was horribly nauseous (would not have been on that much wine alone) with a horrible headache. I can typically drink that amount with no hangover. Due to medication? Should I try 25 mg?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Soujanya 4 hours later
Brief Answer:

Yes, it could be due to medication.

Detailed Answer:

Hi,

I have gone through your query in detail and can understand that you have already started Naltrexone with out prescription, which is not at all advisable.

More over, Naltrexone is used as anticraving medication and to prevent relapses.

But it is not advisable while you are still consuming alcohol, and if you have any withdrawal symptoms.

First of all , you need to get detoxified completely with long acting benzodiazepines like chlordiazepoxide.

As it is not advisable to take alcohol while on naltrexone, and the symptoms that you are experiencing could be due to that.

So, if l were your treating doctor, l would completely detoxify with benzodiazepines.

Anyway, l would strongly recommend you to consult your psychiatrist for follow up advise.

And there is no use in decreasing the dose of naltrexone, when you are still consuming alcohol.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Soujanya 8 hours later
I am not an everyday drinker (more like a 5/7) and scored low on the dependence scale. Alcohol abuse is an issue in my family and I am trying to stop the habit of nightly wine after work . I still want to be able to drink socially—my goal is not abstinence. I want to lose the “need a drink to unwind”.
I was reading about the XXXXXXX Method that actually tells you to go ahead and drink while taking naltrexone and you will still lose desire and gradually drink less. This seems very different than what you are recommending.
I don’t need to detoxify ( I had nothing to drink Thursday pm) drank wine Friday pm and had nothing to drink Saturday or Sunday.
I am also hoping it will help with binge eating as a stress management tool.

doctor
Answered by Dr. Soujanya 15 hours later
Brief Answer:

My suggestion

Detailed Answer:

Hello,

I have understood that you wanted to continue drinking at socially accetable level.

I have gone through the XXXXXXX method which states that it reduces craving and the amount of consumption gradually in 3-4 months.

But, you are experiencing some withdrawal effects while you are on a low quantity of alcohol.

So, l would like to say that the recommended strategy of naltrexone in alcohol addiction is as anti-craving medication, that is taken in abstinence.

I would recommend you to discuss with your psychiatrist regarding this, as l would feel that your body is not getting adjusted with XXXXXXX method of treatment.

As the response of any individual to any particular drug varies from person to person, this is known as pharmacokinetics.

As per the information provided by the FDA and by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

The individuals who drink alcohol and use naltrexone
will still experience the functional impairments that are associated with alcohol use, such as
-loss of motor coordination
- decreased response time
- problems with slowed rates of thinking, etc.
-May experience less of an urge to drink more alcohol.
-May reduce their alcohol intake.

So, lm not very sure about the XXXXXXX method of treatment.

So, l can strongly advise you to discuss with your psychiatrist and get prescription based medicine.

Hope I have answered your query.

Take care

Regards,
Dr Soujanya, Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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