The Sinclair Method vs Daily Naltrexone: What's the Difference?Aug 23, 2022
Sometimes there can be confusion when someone starts on naltrexone treatment following The Sinclair Method with regards to WHEN to take naltrexone. ⏰
Here are the three most common questions we get at Thrive on this topic:
- Do I take it every day?
- What time of day do I take it?
- Should I only take it when I plan to drink?
The short answer is this: If you're following The Sinclair Method protocol (which has been clinically-proven to be the most effective way to take naltrexone for alcohol use disorder), then the medicine is taken in a targeted dose one hour before drinking.
- The medicine is only taken before you drink
- It is not taken on alcohol-free days
There's A LOT I could say as to why the medication works best when taken this way (we explain all of this in our video courses).
Basically, it's because it allows you to use the medication to 1️⃣ block the reward reinforcement only from alcohol when you drink, then 2️⃣ on alcohol-free days without the medicine in your system, you can experience the reward reinforcement from other things like exercise, food or spending time with friends.
☝️ This is CRUCIAL to habit change over time.
Another benefit of targeted naltrexone is that over time you take less medication since most people are drinking less often through this method.
If you're not working with a knowledgable provider, naltrexone may be prescribed daily because that's the "on-label" way to prescribe the medicine. However, The Sinclair Method is an "off-label" way to use naltrexone. Any doctor can prescribe a medication "off-label" however some may be unaware of the targeted dose approach.
Daily naltrexone may be beneficial for some people in the beginning of The Sinclair Method, for example if they struggle with medication adherence (the Golden Rule of the method) or if they are daily drinkers. But over time, many people prefer the "targeted" use of naltrexone so they are only using the medication when they drink alcohol.
Alternatively, some research has also shown that naltrexone may help reduce alcohol cravings in people who are abstinent (I've heard this from individuals as well), however, in Dr Sinclair's research, the results with this approach were not very promising.
I hope this helps you better understand the difference between targeted naltrexone following The Sinclair Method verses daily naltrexone.
And of course, if you'd like to join us in The Alcohol Freedom Program where we provide you with everything you'll need to succeed on this method in one place, you can visit here to learn more.
PS, Of course, this is not medical advice. Please chat with your doctor about how you should take naltrexone. Inside Thrive, we've partnered with telemedicine doctors across the country who specialize in naltrexone treatment for alcohol use disorder.