The Utilization of Low Dose Naltrexone for Chronic Pain
28 July 2023
Naltrexone is a mu-opioid receptor antagonist with a long half-life compared with naloxone. Both of these drugs, along with others, were developed with the intention of reversing the effects of opioid abuse or toxicity. Evidence has also shown that naltrexone has a benefit in preventing relapse by reducing opioid cravings and reducing symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The benefits of this drug were not only shown with opioid abuse. In 1984 this drug was also approved for alcohol abuse. Naltrexone has been proven to decrease alcohol relapse by decreasing the craving. Apart from these approved indications for the use of naltrexone, with time, it has been seen that this drug has a benefit in treating chronic pain. A number of studies have shown the benefits of this drug with inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, diabetic neuropathy, and complex regional pain syndrome, among others. More studies are needed to approve this medication for specific chronic pain conditions.