Could Low Dose Naltrexone Help Relieve Chronic Pain?

In 1963, researchers synthesized a medication called Naltrexone in response to a global opioid addiction crisis. Sold under names that include Vivitrol and ReVia, the medication is an opioid antagonist that acts on opioid receptors. Since 1965, when it was introduced to the public, Naltrexone has been used to reduce drug dependence. However, more recent studies have found that, given in low doses, it has anti-inflammatory benefits that could help patients with inflammatory disorders.

Naltrexone May Offer Pain Relief

Patients who are given full doses of Naltrexone can experience pain as the medication blocks opioid receptors. As a result, Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), which is 1/10 of the typical dose, has become a common alternative. Patients still receive help with their dependency while the drug reduces pain and offers anti-inflammatory benefits. That has been a critical finding since scientific research shows that inflammation is linked to pain in the body. Scientists class LDN as one of several glial cell modulators that could be effective in treating chronic, painful conditions.

Inflammatory Disease Patients Could Benefit

Research shows that LDN might offer relief to patients suffering from chronic disorders. For example, there is scientific support for the theory that patients with Crohn’s disease experience less pain when taking LDN. Reports indicate that the treatment reduces the severity of the disease, as documented in endoscopic evaluations. Studies also indicate that LDN may be effective in treating multiple sclerosis, an inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. MS patients taking the medication reported improved mental health and less spasticity. There is some evidence suggesting that LDN could help those suffering from complex regional pain syndrome.

LDN Offers Several Benefits

Because research is still ongoing and LDN is considered experimental, it is not being routinely recommended for chronic pain management. However, studies continue because it is a very affordable option that produces few side effects. There is also very little potential for abuse.

In recent years, the scientific community has been studying LDN, an opioid abuse treatment, as a possible pain management tool. Although still in the experimental stages, research indicates that it would offer an affordable option that produces few side effects and might be effective in treating a number of inflammatory disorders.