Saturday, March 1, 2014

Question #2 Naltrexone?

My 21 year old son Alex is due to be discharged from rehab this Wednesday.  This was his 4th rehab stint in 20 months (unfortunately, most of those times in rehab has been only 6 or 7 days because insurance refuses to pay. The longest was 21 days).  His addiction progressed quickly from Percocet to snorting Heroin.

Naltrexone has been suggested to us by his counselors.  I have done research, but so far have come up with a lot of clinical information, but not much "practical" information from addicts or family members of addicts.

Does anyone have any first-hand information on Naltrexone that they can share with me ASAP?  We have to make a decision by Monday.

Thank you so much



I am sorry, I don't have any history or experience with this. I hope readers can help you.

10 comments:

Renee Sechrist said...

I don't have any personal experience with Naltrexone and have not heard a whole lot about it. I would suggest posting this question on a Facebook Page called "I Hate Heroin" which has thousands of followers...both family members and recovering drug addicts. I can almost guarantee you will get some first hand feedback there.

Sarah Flandro said...

I personally don't have experience with Naloxone, but I *do* have friends that have used it and I know their experiences. Naltrexone is somewhat similar to Methadone and Suboxone. I am on methadone right now and it's worked very well for me. It helps with the cravings and has kept me away from heroin. Unfortunately it's harder to get off and more physically painful to withdrawal from than heroin, so I wouldn't suggest it. Naltrexone is a blocker but it doesn't help with cravings at all. All your son would need to do is skip a dose and he can then get high without the opiates being blocked. In my personal opinion, Suboxone would be the best choice of the 3 for your son. It's a blocker that can somewhat help with cravings. If your son tries to get high while taking Suboxone, it will send him into withdrawal. He HAS to be withdrawaling when taking his first dose, or it won't work. Of course, your doctor knows your son's situation better, so ask him about what would be best first. No matter what he takes, he will still need meetings and/or counseling for the mental aspect of his addiction. He's lucky to have you as parents. Don't give up on him. It IS possible for him to get completely clean. I had a $200/day heroin habit. If I can get clean, he can as well. If you have any questions or just want to talk, feel free to email me at sarahflandro@gmail.com .

xo, Sarah
http://www.hustlababy09.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I do have first hand experience with naltrexone. I did not start out on naltrexone though. When i got out of reheb for the second time I relapsed and i told my counselor. We created a plan that we thought would work. I started out taking suboxone for a month at a very low dose to help deal with cravings and withdrawal because they also make you feel better But if your son is not experiencing any withdrawals I do not know if suboxone is necessary. After that month passed I was off the suboxone for 10 days before I could get prescribed naltrexone. I started out taking the pills for a week to see how my body would react, which my body had no problem responding to it. I then got the 30 day long vitrol shot. I got the shot because I still did not trust myself taking the pill everyday because if you do not take the pill everyday you can feel the effects of heroin if you have a weak moment. For me personally naltrexone has worked very well for me but I really wanted to get and stay clean. Make sure your son knows getting clean is the easy part, staying clean is the hard part. Naltrexone has no withdrawals when you stop taking it and it really helps from a mental standpoint knowing if you do use you will not feel a thing just throw your money away. Having said that this medicine dose not stop you from feeling the effects of other drugs. Your son must really want to quit drugs for HIMSELF for any medication to work. I would give it a try it has saved my life. I wish your family the best of luck during this battle.

Dad and Mom said...

This is from a person on Facebook that replied to this question.

Marianne Burke: Regarding Naltrexone - The blogger should google the subject as there is much on the internet about it. It is my understanding that Naltrexone is an opiod blocker that can be injected monthly (Vivitrol) or can be given in pill form more frequently. It is not an easy process to get the Vivitrol shot set up for an addict, at least in Virginia. I don't know about the pills. There are many steps involved for the shot including seeing a psychiatrist for an evaluation, referral to a detox center for administering it, a liver function test before it will be ordered, a prescription to a pharmacy, then a drug test before it will be administrered. Then a doctor must administer it - I am hoping it will be at our detox facility. Then monthy it will just take a drug test before administration. I also understand that it reduces the cravings for opioids . A word of warning for the shot - the last week of the month the addict can get high as the drug lasts only 3 weeks. If the addict uses they may not be able to get the next shot in time as it can be dangerous, but the drug test should pick that up. My daughter is scheduled to start the shot, and is almost finished the long routine of qualifying for it. Waiting for the prescription to be filled - finally.

Evangeline Louisiane said...

Naltrexone has helped some people, but it is small portion of the population. The person really needs to be in a place where they are 100% committed to becoming drug free. If that motivation is not completely there, Naltrexone can actually be dangerous, in my opinion. I have lost 3 friends to overdose about 3 weeks after taking the Vivitrol shot. What a lot of people do not realize about Naltrexone, and the Vivitrol shot (which is Naltrexone in a shot form that lasts for 28 days) is that it can actually leave the user more susceptible to overdose. Any period of abstinence lowers the user's tolerance, but Naltrexone actually works to lower it even more, as it "strips" the opiate receptor. If the user does relapse after taking Naltrexone for an extended period of time, their likelihood of relapse is that much greater. And while I know Naltrexone has helped some, the key is that they must be 100% committed to becoming completely drug free. It is always a case-by-case scenarios, but in my personal experience, I have never seen it work on anyone I knew, and I have also lost several friends shortly after taking it. Personally, it scares me. I have been drug free for 8 years now, and it is never easy, and what works for one of us may not work for another....so anything your son wants to try...could be a great thing.

Lin said...

Thank you to all who took the time to respond. There are definitely pluses and minuses, and every person is different.
Our son is very willing to try Naltrexone and understands that it is not a cure all... that he still needs to go to meetings and work the steps.
Honestly, the thing that scares me the most is if he relapses while on Naltrexone, he won't feel anything and will take too much and overdose. However, he will be in a PHP program and living in a Recovery House, so he will be in a somewhat controlled environment...not that addicts don't get high in controlled environments...
It's a really tough decision. One slip up could have dire consequences. Yet, if it works for him, like it worked for Anonymous, it could be a wonderful thing.

Bar said...

My son is getting out of rehab in 38 days and asked to get on the Naltrexone (Vivitrol) shot right away and I am all for it.

I have read a lot too trying to decide what to do and this sounds like it has a good chance of making a positive difference in his life. We have nothing to lose so we are going for it. Be sure to get a good deal on the shot, its expensive, but there are ways around that (look at their website)

Marcia Burnett said...

Thank you for sharing. :) You're son can also get in a California rehabilitation center.

Tori said...

My son has done rehab/jail/detox/drug court and although could get some clean time he would always go back. The last time he had a bad relapse that lasted a couple of weeks vs. the usual 5 days - he and his Therapist worked out a plan for Vivitrol. He went on Suboxone for only a couple of weeks then went off it for about 7 days (should have been 10 days) and got the shot. He is on his 3rd month - he does not have insurance so we get the coupon through the website and get $500.00 off per month. The website is how we found the Dr close to us who could order it for him. It was simple to find the Dr and get the shot. It is very expensive but there are insurances who pay for it. The pharmacy told me that some Doctors bill it to the insurance as medical not a prescription which help with the costs. It can't be abused - just once a month and my son tells me he doesn't crave it nor does he get "triggers" anymore like he did. Best of luck.

Medbury Gaye said...

From my experience with rehabs, 6-7 days or even 30 days is not enough time to do any good at all. It takes an extensive program for your son to learn about his disease and to find out he is not alone in his hell. Everyone has the same story in one way or another. You might consider the best kept secret in rehab centers: The Healing Place in Louisville, Kentucky. They have an extensive program that is FREE to all participants. They live there, have 3 meals a day, a roof over their heads and learn how to manage their disease. This is a no nonsense kind of place, in the worse part of our town, with every kind of addict and social standing. My son graduated there in 2011 and it was the best year of his life and mine. He has since relapsed however there are so many success stories. Good Luck. There is no magic pill I'm sorry to say. It takes long time work.