It is produced as a hydrochloride salt, naltrexone hydrochloride, and sold as Revia and Depade. It is also available, using the trade name Vivitrol in monthly injectable form. Naltrexone can be made into microcapsules that can be injected or implanted, and the clinical effect of these can be designed to last from 30 days up to several months (Volpicelli. and Fenton 2006). Vivitrol, manufactured by Alkermes, is given as an intramuscular injection, whereas Depotrex, manufactured by Biotek is in the form of a subcutaneous injection. These naltrexone implants, which are embedded subcutaneously, were developed and used in both the United Kingdom and Australia (Volpicelli and Fenton, 2006, p.391).
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) may well be the most important therapeutic breakthrough in over fifty years. It provides a new, safe and inexpensive method of medical treatment by mobilizing the natural defenses of one’s own immune system.
Gorman is speaking not just about addiction, but a much wider range of conditions, including Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and scleroderma, in all of which the use of this drug can enable the body’s immune system to normalize. Originally synthesized in 1963, it was put under patent in 1967 as “Endo 1639A” (US patent no. 3332950) by Endo Laboratories of Long Island (The Corporate, Political and Scientific History of Naltrexone, 2005). President Nixon created the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP) in 1971. The first director of SAODAP, Dr. Jerome Taffe, was eager to improve access to drug abuse treatment programs by moving services from prisons and hospitals into services based in communities. He is quoted by The Corporate, Political and Scientific History of Naltrexone (2005) as having said at the time:
I regarded the development of naltrexone as one of my high priorities.
In 1973 the first clinical trials took place for naltrexone being used as a treatment for heroin addiction.