Low-Dose Naltrexone and Chronic Pain
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy
Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has been used to treat a variety of illnesses including cancer, certain gastrointestinal conditions, AIDS, autism, and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis. Can LDN also be helpful in treating chronic pain? A small study that investigated the effect LDN has on fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder, yielded promising results: LDN reduced symptoms in the entire group of ten women by more than 30%, as compared to the placebo.
How does LDN work? LDN blocks endorphin receptors for a short period of time. When the effects wear off, the body responds by producing more endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory substances.
LDN may also enhance the pain-relieving effect of acupuncture. Information about these and other LDN studies can be accessed at lowdosenaltrexone.org. LDN is available from Women’s International Pharmacy.
- Moore EA. The Promise of Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy: Potential Benefits in Cancer, Autoimmune, Neurological and Infectious Disorders. McFarland and Company, Inc.; Jefferson, NC; 2009.
- Younger J, Mackey S. Fibromyalgia symptoms are reduced by low-dose naltrexone: a pilot study. Pain Med. 2009 May-Jun;10(4):663-72; Epub 2009 Apr 22.
- Hesselink JM, Kopsky DJ. Enhancing acupuncture by low dose naltrexone. Acupunct Med. 2011 Jun;29(2):127-30. doi: 10.1136/aim.2010.003566. Epub 2011 Mar 17.
- LowDoseNaltrxone.org. Low Dose Naltrexone. https://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org. Last accessed: April 2018.