This systematic review summarises evidence of the effectiveness of naltrexone (NTX) and the added value of psychosocial treatment in the maintenance treatment of opioid and alcohol dependence. Studies were selected through a literature search conducted in March 2004. Seven opioid and seventeen alcohol studies were identified. When possible, meta-(regression) analyses were performed. There is lack of evidence about the effectiveness of NTX in the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence. There is evidence for the effectiveness and applicability of NTX in the management of alcohol dependence. The opioid studies combined NTX with a variety of psychosocial interventions, which plagued the evaluation of their value. Concomitant psychosocial interventions used in the alcohol studies were mainly cognitive behavioural, which seems to be more effective than NTX combined with supportive therapy. Available data do not allow firm conclusions regarding the added effect of psychosocial interventions. However, the data suggest that a combination of naltrexone with cognitive behavioural relapse prevention therapy is beneficial in alcohol dependent patients. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP.