The opioid antagonist naltrexone and its pharmacological role in treating alcohol dependence: A literature review
Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, was the second drug approved for treatment of alcohol dependence in the U.S. Its approval followed two landmark studies published in the U.S. in 1992. [1, 2] These studies showed that a combined treatment of naltrexone and behavioral therapy reduced alcohol consumption in alcoholics. Opioid antagonists decrease craving for alcohol and help to reduce drinking by blocking opioid peptide receptors in the body that are active in a dopamine chemical reward system. Despite their usefulness, opioid antagonists have been underutilized. Health providers not educated in the use of opioid antagonists hold the view that opioid antagonist therapy is ineffective. However, it is apparent from the relevant literature that this therapy, when properly understood and targeted, has the potential to make a positive contribution in treating alcohol dependent patients. This thesis will review the scientific literature and the present body of knowledge regarding opioid antagonists (naltrexone) and their pharmacological role in treating alcohol dependence.
Ochoa, Ernest R, "The opioid antagonist naltrexone and its pharmacological role in treating alcohol dependence: A literature review" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457531.