Factors associated with willingness to take extended release naltrexone among injection drug users

Keith Ahamad, M. J. Milloy, Paul Nguyen, Sasha Uhlmann, Cheyenne Johnson, Todd P. Korthuis, Thomas Kerr, Evan Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Although opioid-agonist therapy with methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone is currently the mainstay of medical treatment for opioid use disorder, these medications often are not well accepted or tolerated by patients. Recently, extended release naltrexone (XR-NTX), an opioid antagonist, has been advanced as an alternative treatment. The willingness of opioid-addicted patients to take XR-NTX has not been well described. Methods: Opioid-using persons enrolled in a community-recruited cohort in Vancouver, Canada, were asked whether or not they would be willing to take XR-NTX. Logistic regression was used to independently identify factors associated with willingness to take the medication. Results: Among the 657 participants surveyed between June 1, 2013, and November 30, 2013, 342 (52.1%) were willing to take XR-NTX. One factor positively associated with willingness was daily heroin injection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.53; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-2.31), whereas Caucasian ethnicity was negatively associated (AOR = 0.59; 95% CI = 0.43-0.82). Satisfaction with agonist therapy (13.4%) and unwillingness to stop opioids being used for pain (26.9%) were the most common reasons for being unwilling to take XR-NTX. Conclusions: A high level of willingness to take XR-NTX was observed in this setting. Interestingly, daily injection heroin use was positively associated with willingness, whereas Caucasian participants were less willing to take XR-NTX. Although explanations for unwillingness were described in this study, further research is needed to investigate real-world acceptability of XR-NTX as an additional option for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalAddiction Science and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 19 2015


  • Addiction
  • Opioid antagonist
  • Willingness to take

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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