ER naltrexone linked to lower rates of opioid-use relapse

Extended-release naltrexone releases medicine to block the euphoric effects of opioids for 1 month following injection in most patients. A new study examined naltrexone's effects among adult offenders with a history of opioid dependence.

Extended-release naltrexone releases medicine to block the euphoric effects of opioids for 1 month following injection in most patients. A new study examined naltrexone's effects among adult offenders with a history of opioid dependence. For the five-site, open-label, randomized trial, 153 participants received a 24-week course of extended-release naltrexone, while 155 individuals received usual treatment (brief counseling and referrals). Individuals in the naltrexone group had a longer median time to relapse (10.5 weeks vs. 5 weeks), a lower rate of relapse (43% vs. 64%), and a higher rate of opioid-negative urine samples (74% vs. 56%). The prevention of opioid use by extended-release naltrexone did not persist at 6 months and 12 months post-treatment. Additionally, the researchers note that ER naltrexone did not affect rates of cocaine, heavy alcohol, and injection-drug use. After 1 year, no overdoses were reported in the naltrexone group, compared with seven in the usual treatment group.