By Chris Faubel, M.D. —
Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Feb;65(2):529-38
Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: Findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels.
Younger J, Noor N, McCue R, Mackey S.
Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get the abstract here
Summary of Study
- Small study = 31 women
- Small dose naltrexone = 4.5 mg/day
- Control = placebo
- Benefits of the naltrexone group:
- 28.8% pain reduction (naltrexone) vs 18% (placebo)
- Improved mood and general satisfaction
- NOT improved fatigue or sleep
- No serious side effects
- As we all know, patients with fibromyalgia pain are some of the most difficult to treat. Most, it seems, are resistant to trying low-impact exercise which has been shown to help. And yes, Lyrica, Savella, and Cymbalta help some patients, but having another medication (low-dose naltrexone) that is inexpensive and well-tolerated is a great thing.
ProblemSolved: Currently (Feb. 2013), a scored 50-mg naltrexone tablet is the only commercially available formulation. Acquiring a 4.5-mg pill is the biggest issue. I have contacted Dr. Jarred Younger at Stanford University to find out where they obtained their 4.5-mg pills. I was informed that they used a local compounding pharmacy (usually about $30+/month). One commercial company is apparently currently doing clinical trials with low-dose naltrexone so they can get FDA approval. Also, Skip’s Pharmacy out of Boca Raton, Florida will ship nationwide.