“Naltrexone is effective in the treatment of spinal cord inflammation.”
Dr. Aaron Lifshitz
Dr. A. Lifshitz is one of the lead specialists in the treatment of fibromyalgia (FB – a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue). When in medical school, he himself suffered from this disease. Now he is known as the author of a reputable book on the question. One of the original approaches described in his book is the use of low dose naltrexone (LDN) for the treatment of FB.
Fibromyalgia is difficult in cure; traditional medications lack for efficacy and often have side effects which cause some patients to stop taking them.
Dr. Lifshitz’s approach combines traditional therapy (good rest, physiotherapy, dietary changes (no gluten, dairy, sugar), balancing hormones, good quality B-vitamins) with the administration of naltrexone in low doses. The latter was not properly studied before.
Low Dose Naltrexone in treating Fibromyalgia
Dr. Lifshitz advises his patients to use LDN for reducing pain in the spinal cord which is usually the start point of appearing pains in the FM patients. In many cases, the pain problems in FM are caused by brain inflammation; that is why LDN can be helpful for the pain relief. According to Dr. Lifshitz, his research showed 30 to 60% reduction of pain in two thirds of patients. This is better than the results demonstrated by any other drug. Best results were reached when combining LDN with the muscles relaxing therapy.
First results were usually registered after a week; the dose was then slowly increased, and the biggest pain relief was reported in about three weeks. The whole recommended course took up to 6 weeks. However, LDN is allowed to take for three to nine months (with rare individual exceptions), and most patients can take it as long as needed.
About Side Effects
Side-effects can sometimes be significant. Dr. Lifshitz indicates in his book that the side-effects can mostly be result of wrong dosing. In his experience, side effects are minimal when the dose grows slowly. Lifshitz recommends taking naltrexone by 1.5 mgs at night for fourteen days, and then 3 mgs at night for fourteen days. If these doses are tolerable, go to 4.5 mg long-termly. Increases in the medication should always be slow!
One of possible side effects is suppressing, by LDN, immune cells, which leads to increasing the risk of infection. For example, some patients suffer from Candida in the gut and the sinuses. Candida in the gut can cause more pain and fatigue. According Dr. Lifshitz, Candida can be checked by diet and probiotics.
Sometimes, LDN can cause sleep problems. In such cases, Dr. Lifshitz recommends taking LDN in the morning.
Summing up, Dr. Lifshitz wrote that the LDN side effects are no more dangerous than those of a common antibiotic, and they can easily be minimized by the cautious dosing of the medication.