Yes. And no.
Revia should not be used to treat people who are still using street drugs or drinking large amounts of alcohol. Revia (naltrexone) may help indirectly address cravings that occur during alcohol withdrawal. On the other hand, taking Revia before you detox from narcotic drugs can quicken or worsen the severity of symptoms. Instead, Revia is most often prescribed in the MANAGEMENT of alcoholism or drug addiction.
Here, we review the main uses of Revia during alcohol/drug withdrawal and addiction treatment. Then, we invite your questions about Revia in the comments section at the end.
What is withdrawal?
Withdrawal is the medical term for a wide range of symptoms that occur after stopping or dramatically reducing alcohol or drugs after heavy and prolonged use (several weeks or more). Regular use of any psychoactive substance can cause physical dependence. But how is withdrawal tied into drug use?
When you become physically dependent on a drug (including alcohol), the brain has adapted to its presence. The central nervous system overcompensates by either slowing down or speeding up certain processes. Remove the drug, and these effects are no longer masked…and the symptoms take a while to balance out.
The time it takes to become physically dependent varies with each individual. Likewise, the time it takes for a person to resolve withdrawal also varies. Generally, most cases of drug or alcohol withdrawal peak after the first 72 hours, and then even out in the first week after cessation of use. Some symptoms of withdrawal, however, can be “protracted” or continue for weeks to months after you quit drinking or using drugs.
How can Revia help with withdrawal?
Revia indirectly helps address withdrawal by decreasing or dull cravings for drinking or drugs. Revia is in a class of medications called opiate antagonists. It works by occupying receptors in the brain and central nervous system that are usually occupied by alcohol or drugs. In this way, it can help decrease the craving for alcohol and block the effects of opiate medications and opioid street drugs.
In people with alcohol dependence, it is believed that this blockade (opioid antagonism) diminishes craving for alcohol and leads to a greater ability to resist urges to drink excessively. Although the mechanism responsible for the reduction in alcohol consumption observed with treatment is not entirely understood, preclinical data suggests that occupation of the opioid receptors results in the blockade of the neurotransmitters in the brain that are believed to be involved with alcohol dependence. This blockade may result in the reduction in alcohol consumption observed in patients treated with Revia.
Revia is best used along with counseling and social support to help people who have stopped drinking alcohol and using street drugs continue to avoid drinking or using drugs. Revia should not be used to treat people who are still using street drugs or drinking large amounts of alcohol.
Revia prescription for addiction treatment
Before you are given the first dose of any medication to treat addiction, your doctor will ask you questions about substance use, health, and other problems. You should also get a drug test — usually a check of urine or saliva. You will have a physical exam and be tested for diseases that are common to people who have been abusing drugs. Your liver will be checked to make sure the medication can be safely taken. If naltrexone is safe and appropriate for you, your doctor may recommend it.
You and your doctor or substance abuse treatment provider decide together on a treatment plan. The plan describes the medication routine, counseling and other support services, and the dosing rules that must be followed. These rules will be explained to you, and you will get them in writing.
Your doctor will first prescribe a low dose. Your dose levels may be adjusted up as needed. Always take doses exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you are prescribed the injectable form of naltrexone, be sure to keep your appointments for monthly injections.
Who CAN and who SHOULDN’T use Revia for withdrawal help?
Revia should not be used to treat people who are still using street drugs or drinking large amounts of alcohol. You must have no opioids in your body before starting Revia. Otherwise, withdrawal can be extra strong. You first must go through withdrawal under your doctor’s care. This supervised withdrawal is called detoxification or detox. You can start on Revia after detox is completed.
Revia help with withdrawal questions
Revia has already helped many in their path towards recovery and in building a substance-free life. We advise you to contact a medical or addiction professional if you are interested in Revia. You can also post any questions or uncertainties in the comments section below and we’ll try our best to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.