The opioid epidemic is undoubtedly one of the most catastrophic tragedies in U.S history.
According to the CDC, opioid overdoses killed nearly 50,000 people in 2019 alone. To counter this, millions of dollars have been spent towards treatment modalities such as rehab clinics, various forms of therapies, and opioid agonists such as Methadone and Buprenorphine.
Despite these efforts, addiction rates continue to soar. Opioid agonists such as Methadone and Buprenorphine are widely considered the most effective treatments. However, evidence seems to impugn their efficacy.
This leaves us to wonder – how can we stop this seemingly never-ending crisis?
Today we’re going to discuss a potential solution that is garnering the attention of medical professionals across the globe: Naltrexone implants.
Let’s go over how Naltrexone implants work, Naltrexone implant cost, and how Naltrexone implants can rehabilitate opiate addicts and alcoholics alike.
What is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone, similar to Methadone, is an opioid agonist.
Although, unlike Naltrexone, Methadone is an addictive opioid itself. The reason it’s used in the treatment of opioid addiction is because of its prolonged time in the body. This can reduce cravings and make it easier to taper off other opioids.
However, data regarding the efficacy of Methadone is controversial. According to a study by the Center for Health Care Evaluation, efficacious dosages vary widely by patient. Even worse, quitting Methadone may increase the need for long-term opioid use.
Naltrexone, on the other hand, is not an opioid and is most commonly administered through injections or implants. Unlike Methadone, Naltrexone is non-addictive and doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms with stoppage.
In laymen’s terms, Naltrexone works by binding and blocking opioid receptors – the same receptors that trigger euphoria during heroin and other opiate highs. By blocking the opioid receptors, the chance of relapse is significantly reduced since the drugs will no longer provide the same high.
What Are Naltrexone Implants?
Naltrexone is the only FDA-approved opioid agonist that isn’t administered through pill form. Rather, it’s administered through injections or implants.
Naltrexone implants have been found highly effective in the treatment of opiate addiction. The standard Naltrexone dosage is 1.8 g which systematically releases an efficacious dose over the course of six months.
This offers an array of benefits, including:
- Not allowing the addict the opportunity to abuse opioid agonist pills such as Methadone and Buprenorphine
- Giving the doctor full control over the treatment plan
- Protection against overdose
- Ease of administration since patients only require one implant every six months
Once the Naltrexone implant is complete, the patient will be safe for months. Even if the patient were to take a large dose of heroin, they won’t experience any euphoria and the risk of overdose is virtually impossible.
Naltrexone Implant Cost
All this begs the question – how much do Naltrexone implants cost?
Of course, Naltrexone implants vary in cost. However, according to WBUR News, Naltrexone implants typically start at around $4,950 – or about $825 per month.
Fortunately, since 2019, most Medicare and insurance plans cover Naltrexone implants. For those who aren’t covered, Naltrexone implants are often billed as surgeries.
However, not all doctors offer Naltrexone implants as a treatment option. Although, over recent years, Naltrexone implants have become more accessible.
Naltrexone Implants for Alcoholism
Alcoholism affects nearly 15 million adults in the United States. Fortunately, Naltrexone implants can also be used in the treatment of alcoholism.
Naltrexone alcohol implants help prevent alcohol cravings, binge drinking, heavy drinking, and consequently, helps alcoholics maintain abstinence.
Typically, doctors will use Naltrexone alcohol implants in combination with a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to the patient.
Naltrexone Side Effects
Like most treatment options, Naltrexone does come with a list of side effects. Some of the potential Naltrexone side effects include:
- Stomach pain
Of course, side effects will vary by patient. Some may suffer from severe side effects while others will suffer from little to no side effects.
What You Need to Know About Naltrexone Implants
Naltrexone implants can benefit opiate addicts and alcoholics alike. It works by binding to and blocking opioid receptors.
Fortunately, the Naltrexone implant cost is typically covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans.
Naltrexone implants could be the answer to the ongoing opioid epidemic that’s affected millions of people across the world.
If you found this article informative, you’ll surely benefit from our other health-related articles. Be sure to check them out!