Behavioral naltrexone therapy: An integrated treatment for opiate dependence

Jami L. Rothenberg, Maria A. Sullivan, Sarah H. Church, Angela Seracini, Eric Collins, Herbert D. Kleber, Edward V. Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Treatment of opiate dependence with naltrexone has been limited by poor compliance. Behavioral Naltrexone Therapy (BNT) was developed to promote adherence to naltrexone and lifestyle changes supportive of abstinence, by incorporating components from empirically validated treatments, including Network Therapy with a significant other to monitor medication compliance, the Community Reinforcement Approach, and voucher incentives. An overview is presented of the BNT treatment manual. In an uncontrolled Stage I trial (N = 47), 19% completed the 6-month course of treatment. Retention was especially poor in the subsample of patients who were using methadone at baseline (N = 18; 39% completed 1 month, none completed 6 months), and more encouraging among heroin-dependent patients (N = 29; 65% completed 1 month, 31% completed 6 months). Thus, attrition continues to be a serious problem for naltrexone maintenance, although further efforts to develop interventions such as BNT are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-360
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior therapy
  • Heroin
  • Naltrexone
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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