Low-Dose Naltrexone and Pain
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy
Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has been used to treat a variety of medical 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.
- The Promise of Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy: Potential Benefits in Cancer, Autoimmune, Neurological and Infectious Disorders by E.A. Moore and S. Wilkinson; McFarland and Company, Inc.; Jefferson, NC; 2009.
- Fibromyalgia symptoms are reduced by low-dose naltrexone: a pilot study” by J. Younger and S. Mackey; Pain Medicine, 2009 May-Jun;10(4):663-72; Epub 2009 Apr 22.
- “Enhancing acupuncture by low dose naltrexone” by J.M. Hesselink and D.J. Kopsky; Acupuncture in Medicine, 2011;29(2):127-30; Epub 2011 Mar 17.