Alcohol dependence: Naltrexone associated with severe injection site reactions

The FDA ( Food and drug Administration ) has informed healthcare professionals of the risk of adverse injection site reactions in patients receiving Naltrexone ( Vivitrol ).

Physicians should instruct patients to monitor the injection site and contact them if they develop pain, swelling, tenderness, induration, bruising, pruritus, or redness at the injection site that does not improve or worsens within two weeks. Physicians should promptly refer patients with worsening injection site reactions to a surgeon.

FDA has received 196 reports of injection site reactions including cellulitis, induration, hematoma, abscess, sterile abscess, and necrosis. Sixteen patients required surgical intervention ranging from incision and drainage in the cases of abscesses to extensive surgical debridement in the cases that resulted in tissue necrosis.

Naltrexone is indicated for the treatment of alcohol dependence in patients who are able to abstain from alcohol in an outpatient setting prior to initiation of treatment.

Naltrexone is administered as an intramuscular gluteal injection.
Naltrexone should not be administered intravenously, subcutaneously, or inadvertently into fatty tissue.

Source: FDA, 2008


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