Low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia has changed my life. And for a lot of people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
I share about it because it is the holy grail of medicines (not a cure!). It has low side effect profile, high percentage of positive results and is lower cost.
The only problem? More doctors need to learn about it.
I have been on it for around five years. Yet, when I asked for a new prescription during lockdown (when my doctor was away) I was run around by the nurses at the clinic. One tried to explain what Naltrexone was (thank you, I probably know more than you at this point). One doctor refused to prescribe it. I eventually got it. But it was stressful. I need this medicine.
It is my mission to share what works with you so that it helps you too.
I have consumed many doctor’s interviews, research and articles about low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia. It would appear that doctors who use it in their practice find it helps around 50-65% of the time. (My estimation based on numerous resources).
You can likely imagine my excitement when my Google Alert for low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia yielded a preview of a new study. A longer study (12 months) with more participants. As much of the previous research has been short term (12 weeks or so) with few participants. Given people with fibromyalgia are a varied bunch, it is good to have this information.
PLUS the thing that is most exciting, the more they explore treatments that work, the more answers they get about fibromyalgia and its origins. It means we are getting closer to understanding it!
In brief how low dose naltrexone for Fibromyalgia works
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that works differently in the body when taken at a lower dose. Usually prescribed for alcohol and opioid addictions at doses of 50mg or more, low dose Naltrexone is usually anything from .25mg – 6mg.
At these doses it is said to temporarily block opioid receptors, causing our body to create more endorphins.
It is said to have an analgesic effect that strengthens the endogenous opioid pain inhibitory system.
I created the Low Dose Naltrexone for Fibromyalgia eBook to summarise the research, information, my experience and give a whole reading list with research and information to help you decide if you would like to try it and to give to your doctor.
Why I love LDN
Besides the fact that it works for me (it has changed my life). It has far fewer side effects than every medicine we are offered for fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Some of the medicines we are offered are downright scary. It is also inexpensive for most people.
Here in New Zealand it is not funded and we are a public system, so it does cost us more than the other medicines. However, it costs about the equivalent of one high quality multivitamins per month (and works far better for me). So I make the space in my budget for it.
Summary of some research about low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia
This study is starting in 2022 to explore Cost-utility and Physiological Effects of LDN in Patients With Fibromyalgia: “Jointly evaluating the effectiveness and cost-utility, the changes in metabolites in certain areas of the brain, and systemic inflammatory markers potentially linked to the etiopathogenesis of FM, should allow us to gain a more detailed knowledge of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of LDN in this population.”
This study introduction gives a great insight into how LDN helps: “The results of our previous dose-response study indicated that LDN has a positive influence on sleep disturbance, energy, and touch tenderness in women with FM . This is in concordance with previous trials on efficacy [14, 15]. Thus, treatment with LDN might offer several advantages to existing treatments such as new targets of action, fewer side effects, and a relatively low cost.” (my bold)
Another study, from 2014 found this: “In that double-blind, crossover, counterbalanced study, 57 % of the participants were observed to exhibit a significant (1/3) reduction of pain during LDN. At the end of the LDN treatment, half of the participants reported feeling “much improved” or “very much improved” from LDN (Fig. 1). Together, these two studies suggest that LDN is superior to placebo in reducing the pain associated with fibromyalgia.” (my bold)
The research in 2022
Dr Jarred Younger, Director of Neuroinflammation, Pain and Fatigue Laboratory at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of the researchers to watch around chronic pain. His mission is to end chronic pain. I am on board with that. Here is one of his interviews about LDN.
The research update I received indicated his team is currently looking at a bigger and longer term study into the effects of LDN for fibromyalgia. His initial studies have been very promising.
I will keep you updated as I learn more.
Tell me, have you tried LDN? Are you looking to try it this year?