You may have heard of naltrexone as a medication to help people recover from drug dependence. It blocks receptors in the brain for the most addictive drugs, known as opioids. Naltrexone helps to reduce cravings and lowers the risk of relapse, without a negative impact on mood. Naltrexone is safe to use because it is not habit forming.
So what does this drug have to do with fatigue or fibromyalgia relief?
Very low doses of naltrexone have been found to be very helpful to people who are struggling to cope with chronic pain and fatigue, and fibromyalgia.
Low dose naltrexone, or LDN, enables many to find pain relief for symptoms without unwanted side effects. It requires a physician’s prescription. Typically it comes in tablet form that patients usually take at bedtime.
How LDN Works
LDN has been found to impact the production of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones. Doctors believe that this medication blocks the brain’s receptors for endorphins, and this stimulates the body to compensate and make more of them.
Endorphins are one of the body’s natural and most powerful anti-depressants and pain relievers. The brain and other parts of the nervous system naturally produce endorphins. Endorphins may boost the immune system, and are known to trigger positive moods and reduce the perception of pain.
Some medical professionals believe that fibromyalgia symptoms are linked to problems with the body’s stress response system controlled by the HPA axis. This part of the brain regulates the body’s response to stress and sensation of pain. The HPA axis is the complex interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the adrenal glands.
The HPA axis also produces endorphins. When this area is not functioning properly, many medical professionals believe it throws the body’s hormone chemistry out of balance, and impairs the body’s pain regulation systems.
There is some controversy about how much the HPA axis and endorphins impact fibromyalgia pain. But evidence has made it clear that LDN helps many people who suffer fibromyalgia pain to find lasting relief.
Results of Treatments with LDN
In my practice, I see patients make remarkable improvement with LDN. Instead of having to rely on strong painkillers with undesirable side effects, patients find that low doses of naltrexone allow them to reduce or eliminate their use of other drugs. While a small amount of pain may still exist, it is mild when compared to the excruciating levels that people with fibromyalgia can suffer without effective treatment.
LDN allows many patients to sleep better, manage lower levels of pain much more easily, and feel more positive about life.
LDN therapy for fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue is not a simple cure. It is part of a treatment plan that you and your doctor create together. Treatment plans vary for each individual, and may include other changes that keep your symptoms in check.
At the Optimal Wellness Center, we find the best results combine therapies including acupuncture, hormone balancing treatments, and healthy life habits such as getting enough sleep, exercise, and choosing nutritious foods and supplements wisely.
If you are in the Ridgewood, New Jersey area , and want to see if LDN could work for you, speak to Dr. Keller at 201-485-7930 or request an appointment online.
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