The Risks of Buying Naltrexone Online Without a Prescription

Medically reviewed by John Mendelson, M.D. on

Table of Contents

Naltrexone is one of the most popular medications for alcohol use disorder because when taken correctly it reduces your craving to drink. This makes it ideal for people who want to cut back or gradually quit drinking. However, there is only one safe way to take naltrexone – with a prescription and under the guidance of a medical professional. Specialized telemedicine programs like Ria Health can provide both.

Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals like naltrexone, and other anti-alcoholism drugs, aren’t always easy to access in the United States. One reason for this is that many doctors are simply unaware of the benefits of naltrexone, and other medications for treating alcohol use disorder (AUD).

This means that some patients may be denied a prescription for these potentially life-saving medications. As a result, they may turn to ordering them online from foreign countries.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center estimates that nearly 2 million Americans buy their medications online. However, there are many serious risks to be aware of with purchasing medications this way.

The Risks of Ordering Naltrexone Online

Perhaps you’ve heard horror stories about unsuspecting people buying drugs online without a prescription. This shortcut can be very dangerous and should not be taken lightly.

It is imperative to work with a physician or reputable telemedicine program like Ria Health to make sure you are a good candidate for the medication and are receiving the necessary recovery coaching.

Here are five things to consider before you become tempted to buy naltrexone online.  

1. Non-Prescription Naltrexone May Contain Harmful Ingredients

If you don’t buy your drugs from a reputable provider, you have no way of knowing what’s in that bottle. Many rogue pharmacies around the world operate under questionable conditions, standards, and circumstances. Their products may contain too much or too little of the active ingredients, or they may contain extra “mystery ingredients” that could damage your health (including, believe it or not, rat poison).

“You need to take it seriously,” warns Dr. John Mendelson, Ria Health’s chief medical officer. “Would you take chemotherapy that you bought online from India?”

help with alcohol addiction ria health
Need Help or Have Questions?

Schedule a private call with a Ria Health team member and we can help you get started.

2. Buying Naltrexone Online Can Be More Expensive

If you think that you’ll automatically save lots of money by purchasing your medication through “alternative” sources, think again. The truth is that many drugs ordered through rogue pharmacies come at a higher price than you’d have paid from an FDA-approved source, despite the providers’ promises. This is especially true if you’re having them shipped from halfway around the globe.

3. Your Naltrexone Order May Be Delayed

Many online medications come from abroad. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) routinely intercepts inbound international pharmaceutical shipments, routing them to the FDA for inspection and examination. This process can take up to 35 or even 60 days. That’s over a month that you could have spent recovering. Even then, there’s a very good chance that CBP will prohibit the importation of your drug—meaning that you’ll never get it at all.

4. There is No Medical Guidance With Your Naltrexone Online Order

Buy naltrexone online without prescription risks 2
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

You won’t know whether naltrexone for alcoholism use is safe for you (everyone’s needs are different) or how to take it the correct way without professional support. There are very specific instructions as to how and when the medication is to be taken.

Naltrexone can also cause problems if you have kidney or liver disease, a history of mental illness, or allergies to certain substances. It can also interact with a variety of other medications—especially opiates. Obtaining and using your medication under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner can help prevent tragic errors.

5. Your Medication Won’t Include a Recovery Plan or Coaching 

Naltrexone and related drugs can reduce your physical craving for alcohol, but they’re more effective when administered as a part of a larger, holistic treatment plan. For the best results and lasting benefits, it is essential to explore the root causes of your drinking, the effects drinking is having on your life, the habits you want to change, and much more. 

“It’s not just the medicine, it’s the management,” notes Dr. Mendelson. “This is not a do-it-yourself problem. Some people do fine handling prescription treatment on their own, but most people need expert treatment.” If you’re taking the drugs without also receiving the benefit of our professional recovery coaching, guidance, and supervision, you’re only taking the first step in a longer journey.

Can You Buy Naltrexone Over the Counter?

Naltrexone is not available over-the-counter in the U.S. Some additional risks of buying naltrexone without a prescription include: 

  • Using naltrexone can lead to withdrawal if alcohol or opioids are in your system
  • Because naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids, some people may take increased quantities of opioids, risking overdose, coma, serious injury, and death.
  • Use can cause dangerous side effects
  • Dosing needs are specific to individuals and need to be determined under the care of a trained medical professional. 

How to Get Naltrexone Prescribed

If you want to get a prescription for naltrexone you will need to reach out to a qualified medical professional to obtain one. As mentioned earlier, many physicians have limited knowledge about naltrexone, so a program such as Ria Health that specializes in addiction recovery is a great alternative. 

Advice About Naltrexone From a Ria Health Recovery Coach

Whether or not you buy naltrexone through our Ria Health telemedicine program, at least make sure you obtain it from a legitimate, trustworthy source. You’ll thank yourself later. Ria Health Certified Recovery Coach Sara Miller offers the following pair of anecdotes:

I had one client who had been taking naltrexone for about six months from a Southeast Asian pharmacy and wasn’t able to stop drinking daily. He gave up for a few months until he found Ria Health and the C Three Foundation. After the first month on FDA-approved naltrexone, he had cut his drinking in half. Another client would buy naltrexone from the internet without a prescription. The pills she got worked pretty well, but they gave her intense headaches. She switched to the prescribed naltrexone, and the headaches went away.

The easiest way to boost your odds of success is to let Ria Health manage your alcohol moderation plan, including your use of naltrexone and other medications. We can help you stop binging and control your drinking in a safe, reliable, and effective way.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with a member of our team today.

Have questions about online alcohol treatment?

or call (800) 504-5360

Written By:
Lisa Keeley
Lisa Keeley is a freelance writer who believes in the uplifting power of words. She especially enjoys writing about health, relationships, employment, and living one’s best life. Lisa has a Master’s in Education and previously worked in vocational and educational services. Her articles can be found on Your Tango, Thrive Global, Heart to Heart, Medium, Muck Rack, and on various professional websites.
Reviewed By:
Ria Health Team
Ria Health’s editorial team is a group of experienced copywriters, researchers, and healthcare professionals dedicated to removing stigma and improving public knowledge around alcohol use disorder. Articles written by the “Ria Team” are collaborative works completed by several members of our writing team, fact-checked and edited to a high standard of empathy and accuracy.
Is My Drinking Normal?

Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol.