Naltrexone for problem gambling gets support in new guidelines

The guidelines state that practitioner-delivered psychological interventions remain the preferred approach, although there was some support in the literature for using naltrexone to curb gambling cravings.

“Pharmacological interventions for the treatment of problem gambling should be applied with caution and with careful consideration of each patient’s needs,” said Professor Shane Thomas, director of the Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre (PGRTC), which developed the guidelines.

While naltrexone was not approved by the TGA for the treatment of problem gamblers, “this does not preclude the use of drugs for non-registered indications or off-label prescribing”, he said.

Commenting, Sydney psychiatrist Dr Clive Allcock said research involving problem gamblers and those with other addictions showed the “same pathways are in place, and naltrexone does affect those pathways and improve people’s ability