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Naltrexone implants halted in addiction treatment

THE Ministry of Health has ordered drug addiction treatment facilities to stop sub-dermal implants of naltrexone as it has only authorized the medication to be taken orally.
The ministry circulated the notice nationwide after receiving public reports that many medical facilities have charged high fees for sub-dermal implants of naltrexone hydrochloride to help patients overcome their drug addiction, the Shanghai Morning Post reported today.
During the procedure, doctors make a small incision on the belly and insert a patch of the drug under the skin and then stitch up the patient. The implants are effective over a much longer period of time compared to taking naltrexone orally. Some facilities use the implant in combination with traditional Chinese medicine.
According to the notice, naltrexone works by blocking receptors in the nervous system for drugs like heroin and cocaine. Thus users taking a drug such as heroin would not feel the pleasurable effect if on naltrexone. The synthetic drug is used primarily to treat drug and alcohol addiction.


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