Flash

Managing my drinking with naltrexone

18 posts in this topic

I have abused alcohol since I was 15, and things got completely out of control starting in 2002. At my peak consumption, I was downing over 40 drinks a day. That was late 2013/early 2014. I have tried desperately to stop, or at least cut back, but I've always ended up spiraling out of control again. I somehow managed 74 days dry once, but mostly it was a week or less, and then I was back to drinking morning, noon, and night again, day in and day out.

A few months back, I read an article about a doctor who treated his patients with naltrexone. But instead of taking it every day, his patients just take it when they drink. He says to take it an hour before, and that he had a 72% success rate, which meant 72% of his patients stayed below ten drinks a week. Some people even stopped drinking entirely. I thought that sounded pretty impressive, so I asked my pdoc for a prescription for it at my last appointment.

So far it has worked splendidly. I've managed to keep my consumption to two to four drinks at a time. And without trying, which is the real kicker. Before, trying to curb my drinking meant quite a bit of suffering and somehow summoning enormous willpower. Now, it's just no big deal. So lately when I feel the urge to drink, I'll go ahead and pop a pill and have a few drinks. And instead of buying massive quantities of alcohol at a time, I can just buy a bottle of wine or a six pack, and still have some left over. It somehow helps with the frequency of my drinking, too, even though I don't take it every day.  I'm also happy that it's not an all-or-nothing affair, which means I can drink socially if I want to.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my experience. It's still early on (I've only had the Rx for three weeks), but it seems to deliver as promised.  It's just so nice not to be controlled by the sauce for once. I'll report back if anything changes, but I'm pretty sure I've found the solution I've been searching for. I hope others who are struggling with alcohol can be helped by this. 

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O god, flash, this is inspiring. I am so embarrassed to admit, I am swigging gin at 5am. I've gotta stop. I'll adk pdoc about it, I'm sure he'll be on board. 

Good luck! 

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O god, flash, this is inspiring. I am so embarrassed to admit, I am swigging gin at 5am. I've gotta stop. I'll adk pdoc about it, I'm sure he'll be on board. 

Good luck! 

I hope it works for you, Rabbit!

Topiramate helped me with alcohol and smoking cessation and hey, it's good for some bipolar people as mood stabilizer.

 

I'm not familiar with that for addiction, but I know it helps some with their mood. For smoking (I quit in 2012), I found an e-cig to be very helpful. I'm glad Topiramate  helped you, and thanks for adding that info to this thread!

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My pdoc really wants me to try this.  Funnily enough after hearing that I had no drinks yesterday.  Maybe I won't need it after all, but it's good to know the option is there :)

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On April 8, 2016 at 6:06 PM, philosophin said:

My pdoc really wants me to try this.  Funnily enough after hearing that I had no drinks yesterday.  Maybe I won't need it after all, but it's good to know the option is there :)

It has been a miraculous med for me. I hope it works for you, should you decide you need it.

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Thinking more about naltrexone...propbably going to have a fourth drink today and end up doing something I regret.  My mood has a tendency to turn nasty and vindicitive if I get really drunk.  I hate that I am at that point of possibly needing medical help for booze, but it is what it is.

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I know I could google (and plan to), but does anyone know the dose range for alcohol abuse off the top of their head?  I'm wondering if a higher dose would benefit me.  On 50mg I have gone from 4+ drinks daily to 2...which is progress, but I'm wondering if a higher dose might provide a further kick.  Typically I have taken (and tolerated well) high doses of meds, and I think pdoc mentioned the possibility of a higher dose as well.

*EDIT* One PI sheet says 50mg is THE dose for alcohol dependence.  Hmm...

Edited by philosophin

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Do you only take it when you drink? Because I've heard that's the most effective way to take it. They say to take it an hour before you drink, but I have just taken the pill along with my first drink. I stopped drinking entirely in less than two months. I used it a total of 15 times, drinking 1-4 drinks each time. I get the occasional desire for a drink nowadays, but it's not strong and doesn't last long. My goal wasn't to stop drinking, however. It just kind of happened on its own, and I just stuck with it since I'm trying to lose weight. 

If you just started using the naltrexone, you might give it some more time. You might find that you don't really have any desire to drink some days, and that you drink less and less frequently. I don't know if you can realistically expect to drink less than two when you do drink, however. You've already basically committed to at least part of a drink once you take the pill. And just casually sipping, you'll polish off a glass of wine or a bottle of beer before too long. Just wanting something to drink, you can easily finish off another within a reasonably short span of time, even if you already pretty much lost the desire to drink alcohol specifically. 

But you could try committing to drink a full glass of water between the first and second drink. You might lose the desire for the second drink after finishing the water. Being sure to take the naltrexone an hour before you start drinking might also be of help. 

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It's been about two weeks, and I end up using the Sinclair method more often than not.   The problem is I still feel the need to drink every day.  I need to decide if I'm going to practice harm minimization and aim to get down to one drink a day or if I want to be completely free of the "need" to drink.  Perhaps with more time on the med, my desire to drink will continue to wane?  I dunno.

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My frequency of drinking declined substantially after about two or three weeks, so I'd give it seem more time. If you're still not getting the results you want after a month or two, you could discuss the matter with your doc. Perhaps you metabolize the med somewhat less effectively, and could benefit from a higher dose. IDK, but it's worth bringing up. I know someone who needs a higher dose to manage an ED, so it's certainly conceivable that a higher dose might help. 

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Yeah I think I need to try a higher dose.  I take it faithfully but I'm back up to 3-4 drinks a day...damnit.  My liver has been forgiving so far but happy times can't last forever.  

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Naltrexone has been found pretty effective for ETOH consumption.   My worries about Naltrexone (upon stopping opiates, was thinking of cleaning out my opiate receptors) is that everyday, depo doses, the naltrexone is occupying your opiate receptors completely.  That means:  chocolate, sex, and exercise aren't going to do JACK for your post-acute-withdrawal symptoms.  Any drug with COMPLETED SUICIDE as a side effect is something I'm not into, thanks.   However, at much lower doses and taken ONLY when drinking, it can be rather effective.  In fact, when I worked in a Methadone/Suboxone clinic, the suboxone patients (usually for maintenance users of Suboxone, a small amount of Naltrexone is added, clever, the suboxone is sublingual and makes it to your brain, while the naltrexone gets swallowed, so no shooting up anything else, etc.  BUT we saw a MUCH lower rate of alcohol abuse with our Suboxone patients than our Methadone patients.  Food for thought.  Think the mechanism of action is that it takes away any "brain-reward" for drinking, in that you don't get drunk, but much less nasty than Anabuse.

JUST, if you are taking it, especially often, please watch out for depressive sx.

I found a MUCH BETTER way to clean out my receptors, and haven't had a craving for an opiate in over a year and a half, but I just can't really go into that.  

Anna

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Been taking this med for 2 weeks and wow...

I have been able to stop drinking all together. I still get mild cravings but they are dismissed immediately. It's like you just go "meh..." and move on. Even the thought of drinking is "blah". I tested it out - Even with drink in hand, I just don't feel like drinking to alter myself anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love beer and bourbon. But now I can enjoy ONE beer with a steak or ONE bourbon with a cigar, if I even choose to. It's amazing. Prior to starting this, even the sound of a corked bottle being opened or a new beer being cracked would have me craving like crazy. Now, nothing.

On another note, my desire to smoke cannabis is also gone. I was a daily smoker for years until I started taking this. Now my dealer is going broke. I have no desire to alter my mind at all. It's so odd... and confounding... and awesome!

I didn't get any weird side effects. I take one 50mg tablet in the morning and I'm set.

If you're on the fence about this for help with alcohol cessation, I would recommend giving it a try. 

Edited by Bazillions

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I was just telling my GF about this.  If I would of known about this before (and actually requested it from my dr) I don't believe alcohol would of become such a problem for me.  I honestly believe if I would of tried this before my "stop button" quit working, I'd still be able to drink without completely losing control.

 

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On 9/26/2016 at 7:29 AM, Bazillions said:

Any follow-up stories? Been thinking of giving this a try

It worked great while my meds were controlling my MI. But I went off meds and became symptomatic again, and it hasn't worked since (I've been unable to reign in my MI). I tried acamprosate too, and both at the same time. No dice. Anyway, if your MI is not subdued and naltrexone doesn't work, you might try it again when you get things sorted out. 

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