Saturday, October 3, 2009

Low Dose Naltrexone

The miracle drug...or so it has been called. Low Dose Naltrexone.

I waited for a while before posting about LDN because I didn't feel comfortable saying anything until I knew that the success rate for this drug was over 20%. (Which in a lot of studies is surprisingly rare for the medication some of us are taking in reference to effectiveness for Fibromyalgia treatment.)

Treatment vs. Pain Relieving.

Treating the symptoms of a condition is much different than taking a pain med and masking the symptoms. If you take a pain pill hides the pain your body is feeling. A treatment attacks and tries to fix a little deeper than that, going after the cause of the condition.

I wanted to clarify since I'm often told that "pain meds work the best for me". Yes, me too. And most of that is because of my inability to tolerate most drugs. Anti-seizure, anti-depressants, muscle relaxers...all of them make me feel funky, give me brain starts at night and one nearly made me commit suicide. No thanks!

So, I'm screwed right?

Perhaps not. Low Dose Naltrexone did really well with its Stanford pilot study.

(taken from

Publication Details

Fibromyalgia symptoms are reduced by low-dose naltrexone: a pilot study.

Younger J, Mackey S. Pain Med. 2009 May-Jun; 10 (4): 663-72

OBJECTIVE: Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that is characterized by diffuse musculoskeletal pain and sensitivity to mechanical stimulation. In this pilot clinical trial, we tested the effectiveness of low-dose naltrexone in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

DESIGN: Participants completed a single-blind, crossover trial with the following time line: baseline (2 weeks), placebo (2 weeks), drug (8 weeks), and washout (2 weeks).

PATIENTS: Ten women meeting criteria for fibromyalgia and not taking an opioid medication.

INTERVENTIONS: Naltrexone, in addition to antagonizing opioid receptors on neurons, also inhibits microglia activity in the central nervous system. At low doses (4.5 mg), naltrexone may inhibit the activity of microglia and reverse central and peripheral inflammation.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants completed reports of symptom severity everyday, using a handheld computer. In addition, participants visited the lab every 2 weeks for tests of mechanical, heat, and cold pain sensitivity.

RESULTS: Low-dose naltrexone reduced fibromyalgia symptoms in the entire cohort, with a greater than 30% reduction of symptoms over placebo. In addition, laboratory visits showed that mechanical and heat pain thresholds were improved by the drug. Side effects (including insomnia and vivid dreams) were rare, and described as minor and transient. Baseline erythrocyte sedimentation rate predicted over 80% of the variance in drug response. Individuals with higher sedimentation rates (indicating general inflammatory processes) had the greatest reduction of symptoms in response to low-dose naltrexone.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that low-dose naltrexone may be an effective, highly tolerable, and inexpensive treatment for fibromyalgia.
PubMedID: 19453963

Highly Tolerable!! Well if that doesn't spark my interest nothing will.

The drug is only needed in light doses to be effective.

It isn't a miracle drug but it is proven helpful and considering all the flops of medications I've dealt with in the past and all of the side effects?

I'll be trying this if my Fibromyalgia worsens.

My friends, my readers, my Fibro Mates, I would love to hear your stories if and when you try this medication. Good and bad because in truth this study is a "pilot study". I've been told there is a bigger study that is ongoing but I'm not sure when the results will be posted. I tried to wait but most of the emails I get these days asking things that I haven't already covered, is about LDN. So I caved under the pressure. LOL

So...until I hear anything bad, I'm going to endorse Low Dose Naltrexone based on this pilot study which was NOT ENDORSED OR FUNDED by pharmaceutical companies. Even better!

Any information and questions should be sent to my email at

I hope you are all keeping in shape, keeping positive and having 98% pain free days!


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