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.