Do Naltrexone Side Effects Go Away? Everything You Need to Know

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Medication-assisted treatment reduces the risk of relapse and death in individuals with an addiction. 

One common medication you may encounter is Naltrexone. It can help with treating opioid addiction and alcohol use disorder. However, Naltrexone, like any other medication, can come with side effects. 

Do Naltrexone side effects go away? Keep reading to learn more about the common side effects, how long they last, and how to manage them. 

What Is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is a medication used in the treatment of opioid and alcohol dependence. It’s classified as an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the effects of opioids in the brain. This can help reduce cravings and prevent relapse in individuals trying to overcome addiction.

The way Naltrexone works is by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids.

Common Side Effects of Naltrexone

Like any medication, Naltrexone does come with potential side effects. However, remember that these side effects are not experienced by everyone. In addition, they do have varying durations depending on the individual’s response to the drug. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

One common side effect of Naltrexone is gastrointestinal discomfort, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms usually occur within the first few days or weeks of starting the medication and typically subside on their own. However, if they persist or become severe, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider for further guidance.


These headaches can range from mild to moderate in intensity and may last for a short duration or persist over time. If you experience frequent or severe headaches while on Naltrexone, discussing this with your doctor can help determine the best course of action.

Sleep Disturbances

This could include difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. If sleep disturbances become bothersome or affect your daily functioning, speaking with your healthcare provider about possible solutions may be beneficial.

Decreased Appetite

Some individuals may experience a decrease in appetite while taking Naltrexone. This can lead to weight loss or difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. Monitoring your appetite and discussing any changes with your doctor is important.

Do Naltrexone Side Effects Go Away? 

Understanding the duration of potential side effects is crucial when taking any medication. The same goes for Naltrexone. 

However, remember that each individual is unique and may respond differently to medications. Some individuals report minimal or no side effects during their treatment journey.

Initial Side Effects

In the beginning, as with most medications, you may notice some initial side effects when starting Naltrexone. These can include nausea, headache, dizziness, or even mild sedation.

Don’t worry! These symptoms are usually short-lived and tend to fade within a few days as your body adjusts to the medication.

When Side Effects Persist Beyond a Few Days

For some people, these initial side effects may persist longer than usual. It’s essential not to panic if you find yourself experiencing them beyond the first few days.

Give your body time to adapt. These side effects typically subside within one or two weeks at most.

Know When to Talk to Your Doctor

If you continue experiencing bothersome side effects after several weeks on Naltrexone, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider for guidance and support. They can assess your situation and determine whether adjusting the dosage or exploring alternative treatments would be beneficial.

Recognize When Lifestyle Choices Impact the Duration

You might also want to consider lifestyle factors that could contribute to lingering side effects. For example, alcohol consumption or other substances interacting negatively with the medication.

Tips for Avoiding Naltrexone Side Effects

Not all side effects can be eliminated, as everyone’s body chemistry is different. To minimize discomfort and get the most benefit from Naltrexone, follow these tips and work closely with your doctor.

Start With a Low Dosage

One of the best ways to minimize Naltrexone side effects is to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it over time. This allows your body to adjust to the medication and reduces the likelihood of experiencing severe side effects. If you’re concerned about side effects, talk to your doctor about this possibility.

Take It With Food

Taking Naltrexone without eating can make some people feel sick or uncomfortable. To avoid this, try taking your dose with a meal or snack to help buffer any potential stomach upset.

Communicate With Your Doctor

If you have any uncomfortable side effects from Naltrexone, reach out to your doctor for help. If needed, they can suggest ways to handle or lessen the symptoms or propose other treatments.

Take Only the Prescribed Dose

Make sure you do what your doctor says and only take the amount of Naltrexone they tell you to. If you take too much, side effects may be more likely. If you take too little, it may not work well.

Consider Timing and Method of Administration

To reduce side effects, try taking Naltrexone at a specific time or using a certain method (like a tablet instead of an injection). If you feel really uncomfortable, talk to your doctor. They might change when or how you take your medicine.

Try Over-the-Counter Remedies

You can use antihistamines or ginger to relieve symptoms like nausea or headaches. But first, consult your doctor before starting any new medications or supplements while taking Naltrexone.

Do Not Take Opioids or Other CNS Depressants

If you take Naltrexone with opioids or other drugs that slow down the nervous system, you may have serious problems. These can include difficulty breathing and falling into a coma. Make sure to inform your doctor of all medications you are taking before starting Naltrexone.

Find Hope With Recovery Delivered

Do Naltrexone side effects go away? Many of the common side effects can resolve within a few days. Communicating with your doctor about side effects and how to manage them is essential. 

Are you ready to start on your path to recovery? Recovery Delivered is here to remove barriers to treatment. We offer patient-centric, evidence-based treatment to help you on your journey 100% online.

Download the app and start treatment today. 

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