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Adrienne Dellwo

More Positive Results: Low-Dose Naltrexone for Fibromyalgia

By February 8, 2013

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Research Brief

Stanford University researchers have again found that low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is a beneficial treatment for fibromyalgia.

The new study, just published in Arthritis and Rheumatism, aimed to confirm and expand Stanford's earlier research on LDN. It's small and still considered preliminary, but continued positive outcomes of this kind are necessary for moving up to larger studies.

In this study, participants taking LDN had:

  • 28% reduction in pain
  • Improved satisfaction with life
  • Improved mood
  • NO improvement in fatigue or sleep
  • NO serious side effects

Especially good news for people with fibromyalgia, who are often especially prone to side effects, is that LDN was tolerated just as well as a placebo.

LDN is an inexpensive, widely available medication with a long record of being safe and well tolerated. If positive results continue through larger trials, it could become an excellent option for people with fibromyalgia. As is, some doctors are willing to prescribe it, but many are likely to be reluctant until we have more data.

Have you tried LDN? How did it work? Has your doctor denied a request for it? Leave your comments below!

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Comments
February 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm
(1) Marti says:

Here I go again! I’ve been taking 4.5 mg LDN at bedtime for three years. I count on it to ease brain fog, somewhat improve memory, remove the all-over pain – throbbing all over, and help me sleep a bit more soundly. It is very inexpensive, with no side effects. I get 50 mg. tablets, dissolve them in distilled water, and dose with a baby oral syringe. Could not be easier or cheaper. I am very happy with my results. Note: I am 71. I still have arthritis pain, some Fibro pain, some fogginess, all of my fatigue (my strongest complaint).

Note: You cannot take opiates with this med. They will not work. Please research LDN yourself. Chances are your Dr. will never have heard of it and will not help you with it.

February 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm
(2) Marti says:

One more little thing —– Find and copy the Stanford Study. Though small,I found the word “Stanford” impressed my Rheumy and made him more helpful. I still order it from Canada, as I did in the beginning. It is much cheaper that way, but I think my Rheumy WOULD order it for me.

February 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm
(3) Laura says:

I’ve been taking this for almos two years now, at a 3.5mg dosage. There is a website that has loads of info about it. Just google low dose naltrexone and it’s the first site that comes up.
My physical medicine rehab Dr read up on it after I asked her and she willingly let me try it. I’m glad she did- no side effects, better sleep, lessened pain.
Marti is correct- no opiates while you are on this since it is an opiate blocker. I had been taking vicodin for years and no longer need it. I have other issues that cause me pain, but I’m able to use a muscle relaxant to help with that.
I get mine from a compounding pharmacy in NY and they mail it to me with no problem.

February 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm
(4) Debbie says:

So many people I know from a support group have and are still taking LDN and I have no luck whatsoever in getting anyone to listen to me about this medication. Instead I take over 18 different meds for multiple co morbid onditions, some caused by all the meds.

When will they get it together

February 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm
(5) Patrick says:

I have been on 4.5 mg LDN for 5 + years.
Like others, I have found it to be beneficial with no side effects.
I seldom have brain fog, (unlike before I started taking LDN).
The “lead like” feeling that I had in my legs is no long there.
Unfortunately, I still have muscle pain.

February 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm
(6) Leah Sullivan says:

I asked my internist to try LDN and gave her literature. She told me she checked with her physician’s insurance and they said they would drop her if she prescribed something for offlabel use and so she felt forced to deny my request. I’m so tired and easily distracted, I haven’t followed through with leads to docs who will prescribe it because I am so tired. Love the irony! Also, I don’t like having to go to someone just to get a prescription. But I need the help so I have to do it. Glad for the motivation this article provides.

February 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm
(7) Misty says:

I dont c how a opiate blocker could help with muscle pain, this stuff is made for rehab of opiate withdrawal, plus the med itself has many bad side effects

From Your Guide: Researchers believe, at low doses, it blocks certain receptors in the nervous system. It’s known to generally have few side effects, and so far in studies, they’re extremely rare at these doses. It’s actually considered a much better tolerated drug than most of the ones we’re prescribed. ~Adrienne

February 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm
(8) Diane says:

LDN has been approved at 50 mg for addiction withdrawal and has been approved by the FDA at that dose. Studies have show the medicine to be safe to take at that dose. Low dose naltrexone studies have shown that in doses between 3-4 mg (not 50mg) patients get relief from muscle aches and pains. Many MS patients are using LDN also. There are many groups (esp on Yahoo) that provide patient testimonials to the effectiveness of LDN. As I understand it, when taken just before sleep, it works while your body is sleeping by shutting down endorphins for a few hours, and once it wears off (again 3-4 hrs) the body naturally replaces those endorphins and then some, causing the patient to feel better, physically, and also creates a better mood. I myself have been taking 3.8mg LDN for fibro and it has reduced the pain tremendously, my mood is much better, and I feel more energetic than before. I had slight side effects – headache, difficulty sleeping (used a sleep aid), and a bit anxious – but all that went away after a few weeks. Most people who hang in and let the LDN work find it very beneficial – there are always exceptions as every body is different. If you want to learn more go to LDN.org, LDNers.org or go to the Yahoo LDN group.

February 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm
(9) christa says:

I’ve been taking this for a couple of years. According to my cfs specialist, it does not interfere w opiates at this dose. Has no affect on their use whatsoever. Its a very very small amount of something.g people use to deal with opiate dependence. So many of us need pain/sleep meds and its sad to see so much misinformation and people being told they need to go off meds they need to take ldn. Its helpful for body aches and fog, for me.

February 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm
(10) carol says:

I have been taking LDN for almost 2 years and I think it is the reason I can still work 10 hour days. I love it! Told everyone I know with fibro or MS to talk to their doctors about it. Another big plus is it only costs $15 a month and no side effects,at least for me.

February 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm
(11) Paula says:

Misty, you are completely wrong, and spreading misinformation without back up facts is dangerous. What side effects? Cite sources.

February 9, 2013 at 5:14 pm
(12) Deb says:

Been using for about 6 mos. Big help but feel like some symptoms getting a little worse. Pain, headaches, mood.

February 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm
(13) tina says:

I would have no life with out this amazing drug with no side effects !!!!!has helped with every autoimmune symptom!!! I was a skeptic at first ..but i have been taking it for about two years . No Problems with it!!!

February 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm
(14) ltb says:

My husband was diagnosed Dec 2012. A nurse told me about LDN and we discussed it and gave it a try. I work in a physician’s office. He’s been as close to normal as he used to be. He was not interested in trying it…..but he thanks me everyday for pushing him to give it a try. No one knows he has MS unless we tell them. I am so thankful for this drug. We have our life back and as long as he takes it at the same time we are living our lives.

February 14, 2013 at 5:23 am
(15) Justin says:

I have been taking LDN for 8 months now. I can honestly say it is the only medication I have tried that works. Itís not a cure but it has helped alleviate my symptoms. I sleep better, my stiff neck has loosened up and the tingling in my feet has lessened. Having a looser neck seems to also improve my brain fog, or via versa. I recommend everyone to at least give LDN a try.

February 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm
(16) Alikat says:

Hello, I just started LDN, through a private prescription that I sourced out in the UK (through a valid chemist based in Glasgow – so not coming from somebody’s basement and full of who knows what!). My understanding in regards to why doctors are reluctant to prescribe this isn’t because it is dangerous…far from it…it is because THERE IS NO MONEY TO BE MADE FROM IT. This med is as cheap as chips, as we say in the UK, and the big pharmaceutical companies aren’t interested in taking it on…equally, because the makers of the product are small, my understanding is that they simply do not have the resources (read infinitesimal) amounts of money to throw at research such as what Pfizer or Eli Lilley would do.

February 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm
(17) alikat says:

I started LDN on my own doing a month ago, as my doctor refused to prescribe it for me (because she felt that there wasn’t satisfactory information). Well, let me tell you, I am on 42 pills a day, and would seriously love to reduce these…my main issue is sleep, and the lack thereof due to pain and inability to relax. Well…the past week (you up the dose every week till you get to 4.5ml and I just started onto 3ml yesterday), anyways, I HAVE SLEPT! I am talking REAL sleep. Now, I know that they say that LDN has no bearing on sleep, but perhaps the pain was reduced enough for me to be able to sleep to begin with? I don’t know. Believe me, the pain I experience in my neck is far from being gone…But my hips definitely do feel a bit better – and in regards to the neck pain, it is arthritis (and fibro) so there is degeneration going on there as well…Anyways, all I can say folks is DO YOUR RESEARCH about LDN – find out the REAL reason why it isn’t being openly prescribed (money!) and if you are interested, find a quality resource to provide you with your medication. Considering it doesn’t seem to have any contraindications with other meds (other than opiates – HOWEVER – I was advised I still can take the opiates, just need to wait 4 hours before taking the ldn and 4 hours afterwards in order for it to be effective – but certainly not have bad side effects). Anyways, it seems to be a very low risk thing to try, is reasonably cheap and can help! At least that is how I see it!

February 15, 2013 at 4:49 pm
(18) Marsha says:

I have had very good results with LDN 4.5 mg for fibro. The morning after I took my first dose, I had an overwhelming sense of wellbeing. No side effects and I have been on it now for about a year. I am so glad my doctor suggested this, I do have less pain. I am active and practice yoga which also helps but I am able to be more active because of the LDN. Thank goodness for this drug.

February 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm
(19) Marti says:

The people who say you can take opiates the same day you take LDN are correct. LDN doesn’t stay in the body long. It is just suggested that you don’t take SLOW RELEASE opiates, as they might overlap with your LDN.

Misty, there is another drug with a similar name that has side effects, but it has nothing to do with LDN.

You are welcome to wait to find a Dr. who knows about LDN, and will Rx it for you. But why wait? I took it upon myself to do the research and order it from Canada (River Pharmacy). A very reputable pharmacy.

The very best thing it did for me was take away my migraines on day one! I was sitting up and crying in a recliner at night! I have found what specialists know about alternative or new discoveries to be very disappointing. Even more disappointing is that so many seem not to WANT to know. We each have to look out for ourselves!!

February 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm
(20) C says:

I’ve not tried it. I’ve had so many bad reactions to certain meds that I’m apprehensive to try a lot of medication unless I really need it and think it will do the trick. Doctors seem to have mixed views when it comes to my meds. Some think what I take is dead on right, some think I should be taking different kinds of addictive pain killers and sleeping meds and others don’t even believe in Chronic Fatigue and hardly believe in Fibromyalgia. I’ve had too many bad experiences that have brought my health down so low. Docs just don’t like ‘being told’ what to do. …frustrating.

February 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm
(21) Annette says:

Naltrexone did not help me. I became very ill after 7 days usage. I have FMS and CFIDS.

February 17, 2013 at 12:11 pm
(22) eva says:

I’ve been taking 4.5 mg for about 8 months now. It does help with sleep. I read about LDN for fibro about 3 years ago, but every dr. I asked said it was for heroin or else they never heard of using it for fibro. My new-er dr. brought it up to me last summer after she read an article. Naturally, I knew all about it. I get it from a compounding pharmacy. It’s not all that cheap, but cheaper than Lyrica (which was horrible). I’m paying $110 for a 3-month supply.

I can’t say it’s helped with all the fibro symptoms, but the sleep part helps big time, so I’m not even considering going off of it. My dr. has talked about increasing the dosage. Does anyone take a high dose?

February 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm
(23) suelee says:

I have been using LDN for several months.Would love to help others with it.Not too computer savvy,not on facebk,etc. Imay need to be contacted through Jess

February 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm
(24) Mary says:

I have been on low dose Naltrexone and have found an amazing difference. I still have pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Pain.
I used to have severe pain in my thighs every day and night to the point it was unbearable and no matter how much narcotics I took nothing helped but LDN took that completely away.

March 10, 2013 at 10:19 am
(25) Elizabeth Rand says:

I tried ldn for 6 wks. I do not have fibromyalga but severedisabling fatigue. It did not touch the fatigue. The side effects were mild. A little
insomnia and mild constipation.

March 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm
(26) Kem Tillford says:

I’ve used it for about 5 years now. What a difference in fibro pain. I don’t know how anyone with fibro wouldn’t use it. Not addictive, I can take it for a couple of weeks and go off for a week or so without having the pain return. This is the best thing since sliced bread.

March 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm
(27) AG says:

I am a Stanford patient and I have been given naltrexone as a result of the study. Yes, naltrexone definitely helps with fibro and arthritis pain. But it is not side-effect free. You will have to work out for yourself what the optimum dose is, as well as the dosing schedule.
I give this medication a solid “B” as a rating.
As it knocks out opiate receptors, you may feel depressed when you take it. I added elavil successfully. You can’t drink or take opiate painkillers with it; the drug also doesn’t mix well with antibiotics.
My MD praised naltrexone to the skies and said that I couldn’t be having side-effects with the small dose I was taking. The pharmacist thinks I am taking it to overcome heroin addiciton (!), which is one of its uses, and I had a hard time getting the pharmacy to take off its info (and its wrong assumptions) about this medication. As i was also treated for lyme disease, and had some hefty stuff I took at one point, I guess the big name, big chain pharmacy thought I was involved in something else!

March 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm
(28) Patient says:

I just started it two days ago for Fibro. I’m on 2 mg in the a.m. Pain reduction was immediate. I’m astonished. I was having trigeminal neuralgia-type pain and arthritic knee pain and other pain. My energy level seems up due to the lack of pain. I’m also taking 35 mg nortriptylene in pm. I hope this keeps up.

July 28, 2013 at 9:08 am
(29) Flavio M P Souza Souza says:

LDN has help me with the pain and now even knowing it is not all gone , the pain , I feel more comfortable , better mood . I am on 1.5 ml will increase 0.75 tonight that will cost me a feel night with disturbing sleep and speelessness but I know it will easy off besides being CFS I am a veteran on the subject . Best thing I’ve tried for my illnesses so far but, know that I still need something for energy , flu like symptoms etc .

August 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm
(30) Lendia says:

I took ldn over 20 years ago for debilitating fibromyalgia symptoms. It was Rx’d to me by a terrific dr who was way ahead of his time. My symptoms subsided enough that I was able to lead a normal life and I began to live again. This same dr encouraged me to research the reasons I had developed fibro along with other health issues I had suffered for many years. I did. After the years of research and gaining a much greater understanding of how our immune system responds to our environment I was able to be completely healed of fibro as well as lose 95 pounds and completely turned my life around. I would encourage everyone to find out WHAT is causing your symptoms as this is the bodies way of telling us there is something that needs fixing. Taking meds is just putting a bandage on something festering in our cells. Gluten and simple sugars were a main factor in the symptoms I was experiencing. Please don’t put your health care completely in the hands of dr’s that have no idea of what you eat, breathe or the stressors you live with everyday. Our bodies are a temple and it’s up to us to take care of them. The internet is FULL of information and sources to help you in your journey to good health. Up to you what your quality of life will be.

August 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm
(31) Debbie Phillips says:

I have been taking Naltrexone for 2 1/2 years, along with Norco for back pain. I’ve never had any problems with using both. Recently my Dr. and insurance put their heads together and decided I could not take both meds, I had to choose one to stop taking. I chose the Naltrexone, thinking it wasn’t doing much to help me. I was so wrong!! All my pain and fatigue came back with a vengence. I couldn’t get out of bed, I stopped walking every morning with my friend, the house was a distaster. After 2 weeks I went back to taking it and now feel much more “normal”. I guess I’m going to have to find somewhere else to get the Naltrexone as my Dr. will no longer prescribe it as long as I also need the Norco.

August 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm
(32) Mary Ann says:

HELP! I just began LDN for fibromyalgia and joint problems with weak leg muscles. Three weeks 1.5mg, now in 5th week progressed to 3mg… This is the only thing I have noticed … my body seems to have MORE pain … I am often so tired I am nodding off at the comptuer!
Been told by those who take LDN, sometimes it takes months before any improvement… but, do things get WORSE before they get better?
I need some advice.

October 3, 2013 at 6:24 am
(33) V says:

Thanks, Marti, for naming your pharmacy! I will try to get LDN for my fibro myself. (I had to pay 300 euros for a diagnosis in Germany while on vacay because my local doctor – a well-known specialist! – just refused to think my pain was anything but bursitis. I have seen in print that he offers LDN for rheuma, but I’m not paying him anymore just to ask for LDN for a disease he wasn’t able to diagnose though I’ve been complaining of my pain to him for quite some time.)

October 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm
(34) Esther says:

I have been on LDN for 3 mnths… Has helped slightly, however I have been told by my consultant it can take up to 6 mnths. I order it from Dicksons Chemist in Glasgow & it very affordable. Your Doctor or Consultant has to send a script over to the chemist before they can post it.

October 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm
(35) Kristin says:

LDN is a miracle, NO it won’t cure you, but it will help to make your condition much more tolerable. I use this medication for MS and I can’t even begin to explain the change in my overall quality of life. This medication works to treat/reduce chronic pain. Please explore if you are interested, this was the best thing I ever did for myself! Good Luck!

November 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm
(36) Julia says:

I’ve just started on LDN this week and so far haven’t had any major improvement but neither have I had any side effects which is great. I’m extremely sensitive to any and all meds usually prescribed for fibromyalgia. My family doctor was also reluctant to prescribe it for me and I had to find another doctor who was willing to prescribe what is a relatively new drug for fibromyalgia. My compounding pharmacy in Toronto (Smith’s) is very well informed and has a lot of current data on LDN and its uses for fibromyalgia. It really feels like it is up to us, the patients and sufferers of fibromyalgia to once again educate our health care practitioners that are lag gin way behind on this research. When I pointed out the recent Stanford study to my doc she said that she hadn’t read it but that she still wouldn’t advise taking LDN because it is an opiate. This makes absolutely no sense and just illustrates how uninformed she and many other doctors are. It is a long slow uphill battle but eventually we will get there. Spread the word!

November 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm
(37) Julia says:

It’s really up to us to educate our health-care practitioners about LDN. If it’s working for you tell your doctor, especially if they were sceptical in the beginning or wouldn’t prescribe it at all. I’m trying it now and so far haven’t noticed any improvement but I’m keeping notes. No side effects which is a great relief. Here’s hopingÖ

December 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm
(38) Danielle says:

I am from Ca. I was just prescribed 4 mg. of the LDN. The RX here wants $50.00 for 30 pills.
Carol #10 on this blog mentioned she pad. $15.00 !!? Where are you from?
I would like to know if anyone knows where to get this compounding med. for a” GOOD price’…….. Do I have to get it from Canada??
I have just heard about it LDN. 12/2013 & I have had fibromyalgia & CFS. for (34 yrs). I even have seen a Infectious Disease Dr.Chia for this and he did not mention it. Just prescribed pain meds.
I heard threw a ND.Cody Long in Torrance,ca. (southern Ca.)
I enjoyed this blog,thanks:) Be well everyone!!

December 29, 2013 at 10:23 pm
(39) patty says:

Try Skip’s Pharmacy in Florida!

April 7, 2014 at 7:00 am
(40) Jodi says:

I have been on LDN for almost a year and it has been great for the all-over hurt that I have experienced for years now. I did have to be bumped to a 6mg dosage up fom 4.5 but I swear by it…You have absolutely nothing to lose by trying it as it really is virtually side effect free..

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