Just in case you didn’t have the chance to read it yet, be sure to check out Part 1 of our series on Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)!
Picking up right where we left off last time, researchers have discovered that naltrexone, when given in a dose of 4.5 mg each night at bedtime, appears to work via “boosting” or “priming” the immune system. Upon the discovery that immune cells throughout the body have opioid receptors (the receptors that naltrexone bind to), it was theorized that by taking naltrexone each night at bedtime, an interesting thing might occur – it’s believed that certain elements of the immune system will be “boosted”, such as endorphins and enkephalins. These elements are critical in the regulation of pain and immune function, and are believed to be key in how low dose naltrexone may be helpful in certain conditions such as fibromyalgia. One study conducted in normal volunteers, for example, showed a marked increase in beta-endorphin blood levels in the days following taking low dose naltrexone as described above.
Given that low dose naltrexone appears to work via altering and enhancing the immune system, it would follow that it may be helpful in conditions where the immune system plays a vital role in that condition. For example, low dose naltrexone appears to help reduce some symptoms of fibromyalgia, as demonstrated in small scale clinical trials. In one trial, for example, 60% of patients reported a reduction in fibromyalgia symptoms. Encouragingly, no serious side effects were reported during the study, although a small number of participants reported vivid dreams.
Another small study in women found that low dose naltrexone improved pain scored by nearly 30%. Participants also reported improved quality of life and also improved mood as well. Participants in this study also didn’t report any serious side effects, which is great news for those that are especially sensitive to side effects of medications.
While these particular studies were small, it does indeed show that there is promise in low dose naltrexone and that it does appear to have a beneficial effect in certain conditions, such as fibromyalgia. Remember to check back soon to find out more about low dose naltrexone (LDN)!
Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels. Abstract available at : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23359310
Fibromyalgia Symptoms are reduced by low-dose naltrexone: A pilot study. Abstract available at : http://med.stanford.edu/snapl/research/ldn.html
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