The two drugs Naltrexone and Naloxone have similar names, often leaving people confusing one for the other. Let’s attempt to dissect these. Both of them are opiate antagonists. This means that they act against the opiate drugs and stop them from affecting the brain through cellular procedures. Opiates include illegal drugs like heroin as well as medically prescribed drugs like oxycontin, codeine, morphine and Vicodin.
The problem with opiates is that many people are prescribed these for pain relief and other diseases. It becomes necessary to use them in the long term and a lot of patients come off as addicted to these drugs. As a result of this, they turn to heroin and other illegal opiates for addiction. This causes serious issues. The effects of overdose and addiction can include vomiting, limpness, coordination issues, difficult breathing, sleep issues, passing out and other such issues to name a few. Thankfully, opiate antagonists can help.
These two medicines, Naloxone and Naltrexone can actually assist in helping patients deal with their addictions. They act differently and have their own purposes. The difference is more in the effect that they have rather than their chemical structures.
So, what is the difference between naltrexone and naloxone?
Naloxone vs. Naltrexone
The major difference between Naloxone and Naltrexoneis the fact that the former is a fast-acting drug, also called Narcon. It takes around one to two hours to act as it speedily goes into the space in the head that is for opiate drugs, thus blocking them successfully. This is also used more for long term and is quite strong and may at times have some effect on the neurons, while blocking the opiate drugs.
On the other hand, Naltrexone is a slower drug. It is generally also used for emergency treatments of overdose and can stop critical brain damage. It has a similar structure to the former but is used for a shorter term. This is generally used as an antigen against opiate overdose. It is also different in the sense that it prevents relapses. However, unlike the former it cannot actually control any withdrawal symptoms.
It is important that as informed individuals you get as much information as possible about these usages. There are various sources of information, for example the Naloxone Podcast.
Notably, the Naloxone podcast and other such informative audits can help you learn and understand the usages, differences as well as harms of the world of these drugs.