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Naltrexone hydrochloride tablets

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Opioid dependence


Oral formulations of naltrexone hydrochloride.

Drugs List

  • ADEPEND 50mg tablets
  • naltrexone 50mg tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Maintenance of abstinence in alcohol dependent patients
    Opioid antagonist. Maintenance of previously dependent, detoxified patients

    Adjunct in prophylactic therapy in the maintenance of detoxified formerly opioid-dependent patients.

    Treatment for alcoholism to reduce the risk of relapse, as support treatment in abstinence and to reduce the craving for alcohol.


    Treatment with naltrexone should only be considered in patients who have remained opioid free for a minimum of 7 to 10 days.

    Administration must not be started before a naloxone provocation test is performed and a negative result obtained.


    Opioid detoxification
    Initial dose of 25mg followed by 50mg daily. A three times a week dosing schedule may be considered if it is likely to result in better compliance, for example 100mg on Monday, 100mg on Wednesday and 150mg on Friday. Maximum dose on any single day is 150mg due to the higher incidence of side effects.

    Alcohol dependence
    50mg daily.

    The following unlicensed alternative dose may be suitable as an adjunct to reduce the risk of relapse in formerly alcohol-dependent patients:
    25mg daily on the first day, then if tolerated, increased to 50mg daily.

    Patients with Hepatic Impairment

    Use with caution in patients with moderate hepatic impairment. Special attention should be paid to patients with hepatic enzyme levels exceeding three times the normal value.

    Additional Dosage Information

    As naltrexone is an adjunctive therapy and full recovery from opioid dependence is variable, no standard duration of treatment can be recommended; an initial period of three months should be considered. However, prolonged administration may be necessary.

    Naloxone Provocation Test
    A naloxone provocation test is recommended to detect the presence of any opioid use: a withdrawal syndrome precipitated by naloxone will be of shorter duration than withdrawal precipitated by naltrexone.
    The recommended procedure is as follows:
    Intravenous injection of 200micrograms naloxone. If, after 30 seconds, no adverse reactions occur, a further intravenous injection of 600micrograms naloxone may be administered. The patient should be observed for 30 minutes for any detectable sign of withdrawal symptoms.
    Subcutaneous injection of 800micrograms naloxone. The patient should be observed for 30 minutes for any signs or symptoms of withdrawal.
    If any symptoms of withdrawal occur, treatment with naltrexone should not be initiated. However, if the test result is negative treatment may be started.
    If there is any doubt that the patient remains opioid-free, treatment should be delayed for 24 hours and the challenge may be repeated with a naloxone dosage of 1.6mg.
    If no reaction occurs after this, treatment may be initiated with 25mg of naltrexone hydrochloride administered by mouth.
    Before starting treatment the test must be confirmed by urine testing.
    A naloxone provocation test should not be made in patients with clinically prominent withdrawal symptoms nor in any case of a positive urine test for opioids.


    Alcohol dependence
    Tablets should be taken with a liquid, under fasting conditions.


    Children under 18 years
    Acute hepatic disorder
    Severe hepatic impairment
    Severe renal impairment

    Precautions and Warnings

    Glucose-galactose malabsorption syndrome
    Lactose intolerance
    Moderate hepatic impairment
    Moderate renal impairment

    Advise ability to drive/operate machinery may be affected by side effects
    Treatment to be prescribed under the supervision of a specialist
    Contains lactose
    Perform liver function tests before commencing therapy and during therapy
    Screen for opioid use before treatment
    Withdrawal symptoms precipitated when used in opioid-dependent patients
    Advise patient against the use of opioids during treatment

    Hepatic function should be monitored before and during treatment. Changes in hepatic function tests have been described in obese elderly patients receiving naltrexone at doses higher than recommended.

    No experience of use in elderly patients for this indication. Liver function test abnormalities have been reported in elderly patients taking naltrexone hydrochloride who have no history of drug abuse.

    Naltrexone treatment should be initiated and supervised by a physician experienced in treatment of opioid-addicted and alcohol-addicted patients.

    Patients should be warned against the concurrent use of opioids (e.g. in cough medication, anti-diarrhoeal medication) during naltrexone treatment.

    During treatment painful conditions should be treated with non-opioid analgesic only.

    Where patients require opioid treatment (e.g. analgesia or anaesthesia in an emergency setting), the opioid dose needed to achieve the desired therapeutic effect may be larger than normal. In these cases, respiratory depression and circulatory effects will be more profound and longer lasting. Symptoms related to histamine release may also be manifested more easily.

    Patients should be warned that an attempt to overcome the block could result in acute opioid intoxication.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Use naltrexone hydrochloride with caution during pregnancy.

    The manufacturer does not recommend using naltrexone hydrochloride during pregnancy unless the potential benefits outweigh the possible risk. Animal studies have shown teratogenic effects. Human data is limited and as such a potential risk cannot be ruled out.


    Naltrexone hydrochloride is contraindicated during breastfeeding.

    The manufacturer does not recommend breastfeeding whilst taking naltrexone hydrochloride. The presence of naltrexone hydrochloride in human breast milk and the effects on exposed infants are unknown.


    Advise patients that naltrexone may impair mental and/or physical abilities required for performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery.

    Warn patients against the concurrent use of opioids (e.g. in cough medication, anti-diarrhoeal medication) during treatment.

    Warn patients that an attempt to overcome the block could result in acute opioid intoxication.

    Side Effects

    Abdominal pain
    Blood pressure changes
    Changes in libido
    Chest pain
    Delayed ejaculation
    Depressed mood
    Disturbances of appetite
    Dry mouth
    Ear pain
    ECG changes
    Erectile dysfunction
    Eye swelling
    Hepatic impairment
    Increased energy
    Increased thirst
    Muscle pain
    Nasal congestion
    Oral herpes
    Reduction of male potency
    Reversible idiopathic thrombocytopenia
    Sensations of heat, cold or numbness
    Serum bilirubin increased
    Sinus disorder
    Suicidal tendencies
    Tinea pedis
    Visual disturbances
    Weight changes
    Weight gain


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: January 2020

    Reference Sources

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Adepend 50mg tablets. AOP Orphan Pharmaceuticals. Revised October 2017.

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 17 January 2020

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    Medscape UK | Univadis prescription drug monographs & interactions are based on FDB Multilex Content

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