Naltrexone is recommended as a treatment option for people who have been opioid dependent but who have stopped using opioids, and who are highly motivated to stay free from the drugs in an abstinence programme.

It should only be given to people who have been told about the problems associated with treatment, and with proper supervision. Treatment with naltrexone should be given as part of a support programme to help the person manage their opioid dependence.

Healthcare professionals should regularly review how well naltrexone is working to help people stay off opioids. If there is evidence that the person has been using the drugs again then healthcare professionals should consider stopping naltrexone treatment.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guidance represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this guidance is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the guidance to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.