Narcotic antagonists such as naltrexone (NTX) have shown some efficiency in the treatment of both opiate addiction and alcohol dependence. A few review articles have focused on clinical findings and pharmacogenetics of NTX, advantages and limitations of sustained release systems as well as pharmacological studies of NTX depot formulations for the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependency. To date, three NTX implant systems have been developed and tested in humans. In this review, we summarize the latest clinical data on commercially available injectable and implantable NTX-sustained release systems and discuss their safety and tolerability aspects. Emphasis is also laid on recent developments in the area of nanodrug delivery such as NTX-loaded micelles and nanogels as well as related research avenues. Due to their ability to increase the therapeutic index and to improve the selectivity of drugs (targeted delivery), nanodrug delivery systems are considered as promising sustainable drug carriers for NTX in addressing opiate and alcohol dependence. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.