Naltrexone Implants

Naltrexone, a potent opioid antagonist works by blocking the effects , and therefore euphoria and central nervous system depression, of opioids including heroin, morphine and methadone. While the use of oral naltrexone tablets has been approved in Australia for the treatment of opioid dependance, the use of depo and implant naltrexone has yet to be approved by the Australian Governments health product regulatory agency the TGA.

Even though these implantable preparations are only officially approved for use in the treatment of opioid dependance in Russia, this has not stopped them being used by a handful of  treatment providers in Australia over the past 10 years.

The interest in naltrexone implants has  been consitent over the years, however very little independant and robust research has been undertaken in the Australian context. While most professionals agree that naltrexone and naltrexone implants may have a place in the variety of treatment choices available for people with opioid dependance, most disagree with the current unregulated and haphazard way they are currently utilised. This has again been brought into the spotlight in October 2012 by a NSW Coronial Inquiry into the deaths of  three people after being treated with Naltrexone  Implants at a well known NSW treatment clinic.

The following reports, position papers, articles and submission show the wide ranging views about the use of Naltrexone Implants and the potential positive and negative outcomes.

For further information regarding AIVL’s work in this area please contact info@aivl.org.au.