Medical Advice

Naltrexone vs Methadone: How They Treat Opioid Dependence?

Naltrexone vs Methadone

In the modern world, medical scientists are inventing new medications day by day to treat pain and Opioid dependence in people. So, it is difficult to select the best one to manage these conditions. However, Methadone and Naltrexone are the two medicines used to manage the symptoms of these health conditions. Today this blog briefly explains a Naltrexone vs Methadone comparison.

As Methadone is used to treat pain, it also manages the symptoms of opioid dependence. These medicines work in different ways. However, their usage depends on individual conditions, such as severity of addiction and treatment goals.

Difference Between Naltrexone vs Methadone Drugs

Overview of Naltrexone

This medicine is a prescription-only drug primarily used to manage opioid and alcohol dependence. It is an antagonist opioid receptor, it blocks the effects of opioids by binding the opioid receptors in the brain that are naturally built in the brain function.

Naltrexone drug has the potential to bind opioid receptors. This drug efficiently blocks other opioid receptors through this. It decreases the activity of opioids, especially those opioids that trigger the feeling to consume alcohol. This medicine aids in reducing addiction and also decreases the risk of worsening or repeting the symptoms in individuals.

Overview of Methadone

Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist, relieving withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings without producing euphoria. This drug is a generic medicine of Methadose and Dolophine brand-name drugs.

This medicine belongs to the narcotic analgesics drug group. It is also categorized under the Schedule II Controlled Substance Act in the USA. In addition, the drug contains some key ingredients like lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose, etc.

The leading role of Methadone opioid analgesic drug is to work in the brain function. That works in the central nervous system of an individual, to bind the mu receptors in the brain. It also reduces certain chemicals which creates the perception of pain in the patient body.

Uses of Naltrexone Medicine

Naltrexone is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for treating following addiction problems in individuals.

  • Alcohol Dependence – This drug works with high efficacy for treating alcohol dependence. Naltrexone may decrease alcohol cravings by blocking the release of endorphins, which are naturally produced opioids in the brain. By reducing the rewarding effects of alcohol dependence, it may help decrease alcohol consumption.
  • Opioid Dependence – In opioid dependence, Naltrexone drug binds to opioid receptors in the brain, primarily the mu-opioid receptors. By occupying these receptors, it prevents opioids from attaching to and activating them. This blockade reduces the rewarding effects of opioids, such as euphoria, which can help reduce cravings and dependence on opioids.

Sometimes, it is used off-label for conditions such as binge eating disorder, impulse control disorder, self-injurious behavior, etc. It’s important to note that this drug should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Uses of Methadone Medicine

This FDA-approved drug is used for the treatment of drug addiction and other opioid dependencies, and for pain relief from some conditions in individuals.

  • Chronic Pain: The drug may be used for the management of chronic pain, particularly in individuals. when used under the supervision of a healthcare provider with expertise in pain management, It can provide effective pain relief
  • Withdrawal Management: Methadone can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are dependent on opioids. It is particularly useful for those with severe opioid dependence who may struggle to detoxify without experiencing significant withdrawal symptoms.

Dose and Dosage of Both Medicines: Naltrexone vs Methadone


It comes in oral tablets and extended-release injectable formulations forms.

Oral Naltrexone:

  • The common starting dose for alcohol dependence is 25 mg administered once daily. The dose can be increased to 50 mg per day by a physician.
  • The usual dose for opioid dependence is 25 mg once daily, but it can vary from person to person, based on the patient’s needs.

Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone (Vivitrol):

  • Healthcare professionals recommend a 380 mg injection every 4 weeks or once a month for alcohol and opioid dependence.

Dose and Dosage of Methadone

The medicine comes in several forms like oral solution, oral tablet, injectable solution, intravenous solution, oral concentrate, dispersible. The available strengths of these forms are as follows:

Injectable solution
  • Methadone 10mg/ml
Oral tablet
Dispersible solution
  • Methadone 40 mg
Oral solution
  • 5 mg / 5 ml
  • 10 mg / 5 ml
Oral concentrate solution
  • 10 mg/ml

The starting and maximum dose of this medicine is prescribed by the medical experts to patients according to their condition.

Side effects: Naltrexone vs Methadone

Both drugs may cause various side effects in an individual. If patients face any side effects, it will be important for them to consult with a doctor immediately.

Side Effects of Naltrexone

  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face
  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Swollen eyes
  • Skin rash
  • Chills
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nervousness

Side Effects of Methadone

  • Confusion
  • Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Weight gain
  • Blurred vision
  • Sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea

Precaution for Methadone and Naltrexone Drug:

  • Along with Naltrexone and Methadone drugs, it is necessary to consume an adequate amount of water in a day.
  • Take a healthy diet with these medicines.
  • Do not share this opioid medicine and individualized dosages with other patients without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Tell the doctor or healthcare provider before using the drug if the patient has kidney disease, liver problem, allergic reaction to other medicines, etc.
  • Do not consume alcohol while using any one drug, as it can develop serious drowsiness and dizziness in patients. Also, it can decrease alertness.
  • Take the appropriate dose of medicine as per the suggestion of the doctor.
  • Sometimes, Naltrexone medicine is used off-label for conditions such as impulse control disorder, binge eating disorder, self-injurious behavior, etc.If you experience any side effects, then immediately seek medical consultation.


In this blog, we provide all the related information regarding Naltrexone and Methadone drugs. Both drugs are used to treat opioid dependence in people. But Methadone also helps to manage pain. Individuals have to follow the guidance and safety measures while taking these drugs for better treatment.

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