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The development of naltrexone was the result of pharmaceutical research conducted within the Dupont pharmaceutical group in the 1960s and 1970s that produced a series of opiate antagonists including naloxone, nalmefene, nalorphine and naltrexone. Applications in veterinary medicine began after its patent expired in the early 1990s.
Wildlife Pharmaceuticals began research and FDA registration for naltrexone in 1992. Initially naloxone, a similar antagonist, was in development concurrently with carfentanil by Wildlife Pharmaceuticals but was eventually replaced by naltrexone as the antagonist of choice. [Allen 1996, J Zoo Wildl Med 27: 496-500] Commercial production of naltrexone under the trade name Trexonil ceased in 2003. It is now available as a pharmacy compounded product by prescription only.