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The confusion between “Naltrexone” and “Naloxone”

You might have come across the terms “naloxone” and “naltrexone”. Most of you would know about low-dose naltrexone (LDN) and might think that naloxone is the same as naltrexone. Basically, naltrexone and naloxone both are opioid antagonists. They block the opioid receptors and protect you from the effects of opioids. But they are not the same. In this article, you will come to know about the difference between both of these drugs, their uses, and the difference between them.

What is naloxone?

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a drug that is given to reverse overdoses, usually due to heroin. Those of you who are addicted to opioids such as Opana, OxyContin, Duragesic, Percocet, Dilaudid, Lortab, Vicodin, MS Contin, etc., are at a greater risk of overdose. It has a very strong affinity for opioid receptors as compared to heroin or morphine. It binds itself to the receptor that prevents overdose reverses.

What is naltrexone?

LDN is also known as Vivitrol, ReVia, and Depade, and is given to treat problems such as alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. It is given to people who are recovering from alcohol or opiate use disorder after an efficacious detox. Just like Naloxone, it also blocks the opiate receptors from the opiates. Therefore, when an opiate addict takes opiates, he or she will feel no difference.

Difference between Naloxone and Naltrexone:

So basically, the key difference between naloxone and naltrexone is that naloxone is an antidote that is used for opioid overdose while naltrexone reduces the opioid effects and helps the addicts from relapsing have been clean for at least a week. In other words, we can say that is used to block the cravings for opioids and alcohol while naloxone only treats overdoses. It cannot be used to save a person from opioid overdoses. LDN is given through an intranasal spray or injected into the body while naltrexone is usually given orally in the form

of tablets or injections. The effects of LDN are very noticeable, felt right away, and stay for almost an hour due to rapid mechanisms. Whereas naltrexone takes some time to start working, but its effects are long-lasting.

Low Dose Naltrexone

This option is quite interesting. Some doctors are using a strong medicine – naltrexone, which is normally used to treat opioid addiction. It is being prescribed as an off-label treatment and in extremely lower doses. For a host of inflammatory pain, diseases like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

How investigators suspect LDN performs its action. In several chronic conditions involving pain and swelling. The glial cells of the nervous system get over-responsive and discharge cytokines in abundance. Which results in inflammation and enhanced pain sensitivity. “We think that low-dose naltrexone slowly [gets] into the central nervous system and calms down the glial cells. So they stop secreting so many cytokines, and over time, pain improves because the central nervous system isn’t so revved up and irritated,” says Jeter.

Two main reasons why low-dose naltrexone (LDN) attracts so much attention from physicians is that there are very few side effects, and the medicine does not lead to dependency. “It’s being studied for use in several conditions,” says Jeter. He prescribes low-dose naltrexone (LDN) to avoid giving an opioid for chronic pain.

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