With over 46 million Americans struggling with some type of substance use disorder, it’s all too easy to feel like you’ll never be able to turn your life around.
But the fact is, various medication treatments are approved for people struggling with substance use disorders. Medications like naltrexone are extremely effective when paired with behavioral therapies. But can you get naltrexone over the counter and how does it help with addiction?
The good news is that even though you need a prescription for naltrexone, it’s fairly easy to access once you enter into a treatment program. Read on to learn everything you need to know about naltrexone, including how to get it to treat a substance use disorder.
Overview of Naltrexone
Naltrexone is an FDA-approved medication used to treat people with substance use disorders like opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD).
People with substance use disorders (SUDs) aren’t able to control their use of substances like illegal drugs, medications, or alcohol. SUD is a complex chronic condition that leads to an unhealthy pattern of substance use that can range from mild to severe. People with SUD continue with substance and alcohol abuse despite the consequences to their lives, health, and relationships.
Medications like naltrexone are used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which helps minimize withdrawal symptoms in people struggling to stay sober. Remember, naltrexone will only be a part of your program as you’ll also need to speak to a doctor and work through behavioral therapy.
How Does Naltrexone Work?
When you take an opioid like heroin or drink alcohol, it has an impact on your brain’s neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine. Dopamine is known as the “feel good” chemical and is responsible for helping us feel pleasure.
When you take an opioid, it binds to the opioid receptors in your brain. Once this occurs, you get a rush of dopamine, giving you euphoric feelings. It also alters the way your brain perceives pain.
Even though alcohol is a depressant, it does have stimulant effects and also impacts your dopamine levels as soon as you start drinking.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist and works by blocking the effects of opioids like heroin and oxycodone. It also alters the effects of alcohol by blocking your brain’s reward center. Ultimately this reduces cravings and makes it much less enjoyable to drink alcohol.
If you relapse and use drugs like opioids while taking naltrexone, you won’t experience the feeling of a euphoric high.
Naltrexone Side Effects
People taking naltrexone can experience mild side effects. Typically these side effects will resolve as your body adjusts to the medications. Common side effects include:
- Mild stomach cramping
- Trouble sleeping
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
You’ll need to check with your doctor if you experience continuing side effects that interfere with your life.
Can You Get Naltrexone Over the Counter?
Naltrexone needs to be prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider and is not available over the counter in the United States.
Naltrexone has specific dosage requirements and most people need frequent adjustments, based on their individual needs. Also, since naltrexone blocks opioid effects, there are risks of people overdosing since they need to take more opioids to feel these effects.
For these reasons, buying naltrexone without a prescription is not a possibility. The same goes for buying naltrexone online. You could easily end up buying medication that is damaged, expired, or even worse sold under a fake name.
You’ll also pay more since it won’t be prescribed to you in the usual way.
Finally, you’re essentially buying a medication without a plan which will not be an effective treatment program and won’t lead to long-term sobriety.
How Can You Get a Naltrexone Prescription?
Getting a prescription is fairly straightforward, but you do need to find a healthcare provider. However, depending on where you live, this can become tricky.
In most cases, you’ll need to find a doctor with addiction treatment experience or who is a part of a treatment program.
Online Addiction Program
One of the best ways to do this is via an online addiction program like Recovery Delivered. Online programs are much more accessible and you’ll find a wider range of licensed doctors in your state you can speak with.
To get started, you’ll need to fill out a form and include your basic contact information. You’ll then need to schedule an initial visit and meet with a doctor. They’ll review your medical history and talk to you about your substance use.
From there, they’ll be able to form a custom treatment plan, including medication-assisted treatment. Keep in mind that the doctor may determine naltrexone isn’t the best choice for you. Many people take other addiction medications like Suboxone or a combination of medications.
Once this is complete, you’ll typically have medication delivered to you within 24 hours after your visit. You’ll then have ongoing appointments to check in with your doctor to see how well the current dosage is working.
This program also includes behavioral therapy since mental health is closely related to addiction. You’ll start cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) via an app and meet with an online counselor.
CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps you work through negative thought patterns that lead to addiction.
Find Accessible Substance Use Treatment Today
Can you get naltrexone over the counter? Now that you know the answer to this question, it’s time to take the next steps.
You can turn to Recovery Delivered for all your substance abuse disorder treatment needs. We offer online treatment options for people suffering from substance use and alcohol use disorders. Our goal is to provide accessible patient-centric recovery programs that overcome barriers to traditional treatment.
Our medication-assisted treatment programs can help you get on the road to recovery and stay there. You’ll be able to meet with a doctor online and have medications delivered to your door as soon as 24 hours after your appointment.
We also have an affordable monthly membership plan that allows you to access treatment even on a tight budget.
Make sure to contact us today to learn more about our online treatment programs to see which one is right for you.