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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Can Low-Dose Naltrexone Relieve Pain and Inflammation?

Oct 01, 2022 12:00AM ● By Natural Awakenings Milwaukee
Naltrexone is classified as an opiate antagonist which is indicated for the treatment of alcohol dependence, opioid dependence cessation, and rapid detoxification from opiate overdose.

Low-dose Naltrexone (LDN) is indicated for off-label use for the treatment of inflammation and pain in chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease.

Scientific evidence shows that low and high dosage regimens have different physiological impacts:
  • Low-dose Naltrexone (LDN) (up to 4.5 mg) blocks glial cells (non-opioid receptors) which exerts its anti-inflammatory effect.
  • LDN exhibits an increase in endorphin release to moderate the immune system and decrease inflammation.
  • Normal dose (50 to 100 mg) Naltrexone contributes to blocking opioid receptors for the treatment of opioid addiction.
  • Chronic pain treatment does not require complete blockage of opioid receptors, and that is why chronic pain treatment requires only low doses.

Chronic Pain

Low-dose Naltrexone’s mechanism of action differs from the normal dose’s action, as only a small dose of Naltrexone is needed to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects on microglial cells in the central nervous system. This doesn’t occur with the higher doses.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease affecting the body from mouth to anus. It contributes to the swelling of the digestive tract, malnutrition, diarrhea, weight loss and abdominal pain.

Clinical data suggest that LDN may be beneficial for adults with active Crohn’s disease. Two randomized controlled studies of 46 adults and 12 children with active Crohn’s disease found that when administered LDN (4.5 mg) for 12 weeks:

  • LDN reduced severity of Crohn’s disease symptoms including: inflammation of the digestive system, chronic pain and inflammatory markers.
  • A low number of the participants observed side effects of fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite and headache.
  • LDN therapy in active Crohn’s disease requires more randomized controlled trials to observe its efficacy and safety due to fewer available clinical trials.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the nervous system. LDN effects on quality of life have been tested in placebo-controlled, double-blinded crossover studies, and randomized studies have shown that LDN reduces the severity of symptoms and spasticity and improves mental health.

LDN supporters by an American fund study found effective improvements on quality of life.

Another retrospective study for MS long-term treatment found that LDN therapy prevented the symptoms of disease without adverse effects on the quality of life.

Another study from Iran found no significant result on patients receiving LDN daily.

In a retrospective study of 215 participants who took LDN due to fatigue, 75% reported improved quality of life after LDN therapy, and 60% had a reduction in fatigue. Only 4 participants reported that LDN increased their fatigue and the rest of participants reported no significant change in energy levels.

Many studies have addressed the efficacy and safety of LDN in MS for the management of symptoms and improvement of physical health; however, for the progression of the disease, the evidence is limited to animal studies.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder of the central nervous system resulting in mechanical stimulation disorder and skeletal muscle pain. The immune-modulation effect of LDN results in reduced inflammation peripherally and centrally which is beneficial for people with fibromyalgia.

A crossover study focusing on fibromyalgia-associated pain and symptoms of eight women over 10 weeks found that pro-inflammatory markers were reduced compared to baseline after eight weeks of LDN therapy, and significantly less pain and fewer symptoms were reported without any side effects.

LDN results in more than 30% reduction of fibromyalgia symptoms and showed a significant improvement in pain disorders with minimum side effects of insomnia.

Accordingly, we conclude that LDN’s low cost and tolerability is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia.

How Do You Get Low-Dose Naltrexone?

Low-dose Naltrexone is a custom-made compounded drug with many benefits to patients with chronic health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel syndrome, and with a very low side-effects profile compared to most drugs.

Low-dose Naltrexone is affordable for the majority of patients and requires a prescription. Contact Welltopia Pharmacy and we will recommend your healthcare provider to prescribe it if necessary.

For more information, call Welltopia Pharmacy at 262-429-9429 or visit