Naltrexone was initially a monthly treatment option for alcohol dependence, but recently gained approval from the FDA for treating opioid addiction as well. A six-month study of 250 patients found that 90% of those who received a monthly injection of naltrexone refrained from using opioids as opposed to the 35% of those in the placebo group (P=0.0002). Likewise, patients who took Naltrexone also reported significantly greater reductions in cravings, with scores falling a median of more than 10 points compared with less than one point in placebo patients (P<0.0001).
Though opioid dependence is commonly treated with agonist replacement therapy such as methadone or buprenorphine, these options are restricted or unavailable in some countries -- such as in Russia, where the current study was done. Also, these treatments may be less appropriate for subgroups like young people, or those whose employment might prohibit opioid use, reported Evgeny Krupitsky, MD, of St. Petersburg Bekhterev Psychoneurological Research Institute in Russia, and colleagues (Monthly Shot Staves off Opioid Addictions)
To review the actual study and additional resources, please refer below:
Krupitsky E, et al "Injectable extended-release naltrexone for opioid dependence: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter randomized trial" Lancet 2011; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60358-9.
Wolfe D, et al "Concerns about injectable naltrexone for opioid dependence" Lancet 2011; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62056-9.