Substance use disorders, including alcohol use disorder, are a public health concern that affect more than 150 million people globally. The opioid antagonist naltrexone is being increasingly prescribed to treat opioid use disorder, alcohol use disorder, and chronic pain. Perioperative management of patients on naltrexone is inconsistent and remains a controversial topic, with mismanagement posing a significant risk to the long-term health of these patients. This scoping review was conducted to identify human studies in which the perioperative management of naltrexone was described. This review includes a systematic literature search involving Medline, Medline In-Process, Embase, PsycINFO, and Web of Science. Seventeen articles that describe perioperative naltrexone management strategies were included, including thirteen guidelines, one case report, and three randomized trials. Despite its use in patients with alcohol use disorder and chronic pain, no clinical studies, case reports, or guidelines addressed naltrexone use in these clinical populations. All of the guideline documents recommended the preoperative cessation of naltrexone, irrespective of dose, indication, or route of administration. None of these guideline documents were designed on the basis of a systematic literature search or a Delphi protocol. As described by the primary studies, perioperative pain relief varied depending on naltrexone dose and route of administration, time since last naltrexone administration, and underlying substance use disorder. None of the studies commented on the maintenance of recovery for the patient’s substance use disorder in the context of perioperative naltrexone management. The current understanding of the risks and benefits of continuing or stopping naltrexone perioperatively is limited by a lack of high-quality evidence. In patients with risk factors for return to use of opioids or alcohol, the discontinuation of naltrexone should have a strong rationale. Future studies and guidelines should seek to address both acute pain management and maintaining recovery when discussing perioperative naltrexone management strategies.

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