Efficacy of Low-Dose Naltrexone and Predictors of Treatment Success or Discontinuation in Fibromyalgia and Other Chronic Pain Conditions: A Fourteen-Year, Enterprise-Wide Retrospective Analysis
As revised 23 March 2023
Current pharmacologic treatments may provide limited analgesia in fibromyalgia and other chronic pain disorders. Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has emerged as a potential analgesic option that has been minimally explored. This study aims to describe current real-world prescribing practices of LDN, to investigate if patients have a perceived benefit of LDN in treating pain symptoms and to identify predictors associated with a perceived benefit or discontinuation of LDN. We evaluated all outpatient prescriptions for LDN prescribed for any pain indication in the Mayo Clinic Enterprise from 1 January 2009 to 10 September 2022. A total of 115 patients were included in the final analysis. The patients were 86% female, had a mean age of 48 ± 16 years, and 61% of prescriptions were for fibromyalgia-related pain. The final daily dose of oral LDN ranged from 0.8 to 9.0 mg, while the most common dose was 4.5 mg once daily. Of patients who reported follow-up data, 65% reported benefit in their pain symptoms while taking LDN. Adverse effects were reported in 11 (11%) patients and 36% discontinued taking LDN by the most recent follow-up. Concomitant analgesic medications were used by 60% of patients and were not associated with perceived benefit nor discontinuation of LDN, including concomitant opioids. LDN is a relatively safe pharmacologic option that may benefit patients with chronic pain conditions and warrants further investigation in a prospective, controlled, and well-powered randomized clinical trial.
Keywords: naltrexone; chronic pain; fibromyalgia