By: Sajad Zalzala, MD
What is Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?
Low Dose Naltrexone more commonly known as LDN. is an oral medication scientifically-proven to reduce chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, fatigue, and chronic pain. Initially Naltrexone prescribed at doses of 50mg to 100mg or more, was used to help control cravings for alcohol and opioids. However, research has shown that Naltrexone prescribed at doses below 10mg per day, (4.5mg/day is the most common) has shown to improved fibromyalgia symptoms in some people.
As a doctor for nearly a decade, I have prescribed LDN to over 1,000 patients. The most common success stories with LDN are fibromyalgia (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). These patients tend to fall through the cracks when it comes to conventional therapy, and many individuals do not respond well to the common medications prescribed. Fatigue and pain are the most commonly reported symptoms in patients diagnosed with FM and CFS, and, in fact, these two diagnoses commonly go hand-in-hand. Many of these patients experience symptom relief, and, furthermore, a good number of them have claimed life-changing experiences with LDN.
How can LDN help reduce Fibromyalgia pain?
Research has shown that dysregulation in the Central Nervous System is a key factor in the transition from acute pain to chronic pain. Due to the difficulty of treating FM and CSF, these diseases often have a great impact on an individuals quality of life. Current treatment options for fibromyalgia and chronic pain are not very effective and many have side effects; they try to lower the pain, without addressing the root of the issue reducing the over-sensitivity of the pain receptors. LDN however, targets the specific pain receptors and quiets their activity. For individuals who also have inflammatory issues, LDN works by lowering glial cell release of inflammatory signals and, thus, acts as an anti-inflammatory.
According to a study by CureTogether, a free resource owned by 23andMe that allows people to share information about their health and treatments, reported that people who participated in their study said they found that lifestyle changes like rest, heat, and various ways of reducing stress offered the most effective relief for their fibromyalgia symptoms. Another interesting finding was that many of those surveyed said that the drug Naltrexone at a low dose worked well.
The following diagram shows the patient-reported data findings of the 2013 study where CureTogether researchers asked 1,401 people suffering fromÂ fibromyalgiaÂ to rate the effectiveness of 104 different treatments. LDN was shown to be â€œsurprisingly effectiveâ€ according to the study participants.
There are other clinical studies showing LDN as an effective option for reducing fibromyalgia pain and, as such, has incredible potential as an effective, safe, and inexpensive pain management option for those suffering with FM and CFS.
Where can I request an LDN prescription?
You should first consult with a licensed healthcare professional prior to beginning any new prescription or treatment. AgelessRx is an affordable and convenient telemedicine platform (that I co-founded) to provide access to a physician knowledgeable about LDN. After a discussion with the doctor, and if found appropriate, a prescription can be written and the medication distributed to you. To learn more about AgelessRx, and/or to request an LDN prescription, please click here.