Because the names sound similar, it can be difficult to understand the difference between Naloxone vs Naltrexone. One can provide a way to save someone who has overdosed on an opioid drug. The other can help someone who has entered treatment for opioid or alcohol addiction. If you or someone you care about struggles with addiction to opioids or alcohol, it’s important to know the different between these two drugs. Buckhead Behavioral Health explores this issue, as well as how someone struggling with addiction can use these medication to help them avoid dangerous medical emergencies and recover.
What is Naloxone?
To understand the difference between Naloxone vs Naltrexone, we begin by explaining what each drug is and how it works. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist medication used to treat someone who has overdosd on an opioid drug. It works by binding to the opioid receptors when someone overdoses. As a result, it can reverse and block the effects of the opioid drug used.
Types of opioid drug overdoses that Naloxone can help include heroin, morphine, fentanyl, prescription drugs, and more. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this drug to be used at the first sign that an individual has overdosed on opioids. It is not a cure-all but rather a way to try to keep the person from suffering more damage or dying. Emergency medical care should be sought immediately after administering Naloxone.
Naloxone can be given with an intranasal spray, intramuscular, intravenous injection, or a subcutaneous injection. The drug is available by prescription in every state, but in many states it can also be obtained in a pharmacy without having a prescription. Many doctors recommend people who are at high risk of needing to use Naloxone carry it with them. This includes people who are addicted to opioid drugs and loved ones who are often around them.
What is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone is an FDA-approved medication used to treat addiction to opioids and alcohol. It is available by prescription and is used by many treatment centers that provide care for people with substance use disorders. The drug can be taken daily in an oral form or administered once a month via injection by a medical clinician. It is manufactured under the brand names Vivitrol, ReVia, and Depade.
When someone enters a treatment program to help them stop drinking or using opioid drugs, they may be given the option to take Naltrexone as part of their overall plan. If someone who is in recovery for alcoholism and currently takes Naltrexone then drinks an alcoholic drink, the drug binds itself to the person’s endorphin receptors. As a result, they do not feel the desired effect of being drunk. Because they do not get the happy feeling they associate with past drinking, it makes them less likely to drink again. The same is true for someone in recovery from opioid abuse. If they slip up and use an opioid drug, they will not experience feeling high. This reduces their desire to use drugs again because they don’t get the payoff they used to get.
The Difference Between Naloxone vs Naltrexone
When learning the difference between Naloxone vs Naltrexone, it’s important to understand when they are used and for what purpose. Someone who has overdosed on an opioid drug can take Naloxone to help reverse the effects. It keeps the person safe while they wait to receive professional medical assistance.
Naltrexone is a medication used after a person has entered treatment and is no longer using either opioids or alcohol. It helps block the effects of being high or drunk if the person does consume those substances. This takes away the results they used to get, and helps reduce craving to use opioids or drink again. Naltrexone must be provided by a medical professional and is often used as part of a treatment plan in facilities that treat addiction.
How Are Opioid and Alcohol Addiction Treated?
Substance use disorders requires going to rehab and taking advantage of the types of treatment it offers. When it comes to overcoming opioid and alcohol addiction, attending different types of therapy modalities gives people the ability to stay sober. Individual, group, holistic, and experiential therapies provide safe places to discuss the origins of a person’s addiction. From there, they can work on healing any unresolved issues that trigger their desire to use drugs or drink. Therapy teaches the individual to use healthy coping skills to replace the urge to relapse.
When someone enters treatment for a substance use disorder, they typically experience some withdrawal symptoms. Detox, residential, and outpatient programs all include access to prescription medications that help alleviate many withdrawal symptoms. This makes it easier for people to stay sober and not have to suffer needlessly.
Get Help For Addiction to Opioids and Alcohol in Atlanta, GA
Are you worried about yourself or someone you love who has an addiction to opioids or alcohol? Modern medications combined with multi-disciplinary therapies help people overcome even the most severe of substance use disorders. Buckhead Behavioral Health provides highly effective outpatient care that ranges from detox to continued levels of treatment after detox ends.
If you would like more information about Naloxone vs Naltrexone, contact us now. Our admissions staff can help you get started on enjoying sober life today.