Low-threshold extended-release naltrexone for high utilizers of public services with severe alcohol use disorder: A pilot study

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2018 Feb;85:109-115. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2017.11.005. Epub 2017 Nov 8.


Extended-release naltrexone (XRNTX) is an effective treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD). We sought to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of XRNTX delivered as a stand-alone service to persons with severe AUD who are high utilizers of multiple urgent and emergency medical services (HUMS). Of 15 HUMS persons with severe AUD selected based on chart review, 11 agreed to participate. Participants received a mean of 4.5 injections (range 2-7). Modest benefits from XRNTX were observed in terms of patients' Urge-to-Drink Score and the costs of emergency medical services utilized. Though limited by a small sample size, costs including client utilization and study related expenses during the post-enrollment period were less than client utilization costs in the pre-enrollment period. We also observed non-significant improvements in the number of drinking days, but no change in quality of life as measured by the EQ-5D. Eighty-eight percent of participants perceived XRNTX as helping with their drinking. Findings need to be replicated in a larger study, however if replicated, the cost savings could be substantial.

Keywords: Alcohol intoxication; Alcohol use disorder; Naltrexone; Public health; XRNTX.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Deterrents / administration & dosage*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Naltrexone / administration & dosage*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life


  • Alcohol Deterrents
  • Naltrexone