Is this drug the missing link in fibromyalgia treatment?

December 31, 2012
Volume 2    |   Issue 103
Ruth Ann struggles with pain every day. Some days she can get up and have a fairly normal day. But many days she spends in bed completely debilitated from the pain. Ruth Ann has fibromyalgia.

For years, doctors told her the pain was just in her head. They thought she was crazy. That's because it took a long time for conventional medicine to accept that fibromyalgia was a legitimate condition. Now they know better. And there's been a race among the drug companies to find a drug that effectively treats this sometimes horrific pain.

The latest drug to show promise for fibromyalgia pain is a low dose of the opioid antagonist naltrexone. Two recent studies say this drug significantly reduces the daily pain of fibromyalgia.

A group of researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine conducted both studies. The second study confirmed the results of the first study, which was a pilot study to see if the drug would work.

The second study was a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized, crossover study that followed 27 women with fibromyalgia. The researchers gave the women low-dose naltrexone (4.5 mg daily) for 12 weeks. Then they gave the participants a placebo for four weeks. They asked the patients to record their daily pain and symptoms on a handheld computer for the duration of the study.

The results of the study showed a significant reduction in pain for the women while on naltrexone. The participants also said the naltrexone was as tolerable as a placebo on a 100-point tolerability scale (89.2 vs 89.4). The only adverse side effects they experienced were vivid dreams and headaches.

Two consecutive studies showing similar results is promising. The fact that it uses a common and inexpensive drug is even more exciting. But there are a few problems with naltrexone. The first is that this is a very short study. We've seen that some drugs don't cause substantive side effects until you've used them for an extended period of time. The fact that these women experienced vivid dreams and headaches could spell trouble down the road if used for a long time.

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Second, naltrexone doesn't come in a 4.5 mg dose. The standard dose is 50 mg. So you might have trouble finding a pharmacy that can supply the low dose. They will likely have to compound it specifically for you. One of the researchers said, "That's a big problem," as most pharmacies don't have the ability to do this.

The third problem is that naltrexone doesn't treat the cause of the fibromyalgia, just the symptoms. When it comes to pain relief, this isn't always a bad thing. And finding the cause of fibromyalgia can be difficult. So taking the drug while you look for the cause isn't out of the question. However, there might be a safer way to treat the pain.

Naltrexone works by desensitizing microglia. Microglia are your immune systems mediators for inflammation. With fibromyalgia, they are overactive and cause the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. So the naltrexone helps keep inflammation under control.

As I've mentioned before, you can keep inflammation under control safely by using the nutrients and herbs in Reduloxin. You may have to take it for a month or two before you notice a substantive difference. And the relief can come so gradually you may not even notice it until you stop taking the supplement. So give it some time. And you may find the relief you desire without any side effects.

I hope you have a very safe and Happy New Year!

Your insider for better health,

Steve Kroening

Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.


American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 28th Annual Meeting: Abstract 251. Presented February 24, 2012.

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