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Bad Side Effects of Naltrexone

author image Carole Anne Tomlinson
Carole Anne Tomlinson is a registered nurse with experience in rehabilitation, nutrition, chemical dependency, diabetes and health problems related to the elderly. Tomlinson holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and is presently working on her master's degree in nursing. Her screenplays have been viewed by Merchant Ivory, Angela Lansbury and Steven King's associates.
Bad Side Effects of Naltrexone
Naltrexone is designed to help recovering addicts. Photo Credit addiction image by Zbigniew Nowak from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Naltrexone is the generic name of a medication sold in the United States with the brand name Revia. Your physician may prescribe it to help you cease taking narcotics or to prevent you from returning to narcotic addiction. Naltrexone also may be prescribed for alcoholics to help them refrain from drinking alcohol. Unlike other detoxification drugs, naltrexone does not replace the euphoric effects of narcotics, the Mayo Clinic states, but rather prevents narcotics from having their normal affect. You may take naltrexone as a pill.


Taking naltrexone pills may induce some side effects that are classified as common and not serious. Among these are various types of pain. For example, you may feel moderate or mild pain in your stomach or abdominal area. You also may get headaches, Drugs.com reports. Pain also may occur in the various joints of your body or in your muscles. Because these are categorized as non-serious side effects, they generally do not require medical help. However, if they continue beyond the first several days of treatment with naltrexone, explain the problems to your physician. She may have recommendations to alleviate them or she may want to discontinue use of the medicine.

Anxiety and Insomnia

Narcotics and alcohol both tend to have a sleep-inducing effect when you ingest them. Taking naltrexone may cause the opposite effect when you use it. For example, it can make it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep after you have begun to sleep. Along with this insomnia, naltrexone also may cause side effects that affect your mental state. For example, you may feel anxious or nervous without an external cause. You also may feel restless, as if you need to be doing something or just keep moving. Naltrexone also may produce the same type of side effect as narcotics in that you may experience abnormal tiredness, the Mayo Clinic reports. All of these types of side effects are common, not serious and temporary in most people. They should be gone within the first several days of taking naltrexone.

Eating Side Effects

Naltrexone may cause problems with your normal intake of food, too, as well as how your body eliminates waste. For example, the drug can make you lose your appetite. It also may make you feel nauseous or queasy, and you may vomit while first taking it. Naltrexone also may disrupt your normal digestion in that it may take out too much or too little fluid while your food is passing through your intestines. This can cause you to experience constipation or diarrhea, Drugs.com states. Side effects such as these are common with naltrexone, but they most often shall pass in a few days. Tell your doctor if they do not.

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