Naltrexone is a medication approved for treating both Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). It helps to reduce cravings and has other positive benefits, and is a strong alternative for people not wanting to stay on maintenance therapy.
Sustained-release naltrexone has been approved in an injectable form through Vivitrol, but it has also been used successfully for 20 years around the world in a long-acting implantable pellet.
Non-compliance has been an issue with naltrexone for many years. In oral pill form, many people simply cease taking it. The injectable form lasts a month, but patients often do not return for repeat injections.
Therefore, implantable forms that last longer have better compliance and thus better treatment outcomes. Depending on the individual and the size of the pellet, the implants may work up to 6 months, or longer in some cases. This helps get the person beyond what many consider to be the crucial 90-day mark for longer-term recovery.
The procedure itself is fairly simple, as it is similar to what many doctors already do for hormone therapy with their patients.
Given the history of effectiveness and the need for better compliance at least one company is currently going through the full FDA approval process for their manufactured pellet so that it doesn’t have to be obtained through more costly compounding pharmacies.