LDN and Fibromyalgia
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
In this article, you will learn about:
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia (chronic pain, brain fog, fatigue)
Why conventional treatments don’t always work
Clinical Evidence for Why LDN can be very effective
What other practicing doctors are saying about LDN
What people with Fibromyalgia are saying about LDN
Fibromyalgia and Aging & Fibromyalgia and COVID-19
Due to the difficulty of treating these diseases, they often have a great impact on quality of life. Current treatment options for Fibromyalgia and chronic pain are not very effective and have side effects; they try to lower the pain, without addressing the root of the issue—reducing the over-sensitivity of the pain receptors and lowering inflammation.
Low Dose Naltrexone (commonly known as LDN) stands out as a very effective treatment option for Fibromyalgia/FMS as it acts on the specific pain receptors and quiets their activity. It also lowers glial cell release of inflammatory signals and thus acts as an anti-inflammatory for the central nervous system.
Clinical Evidence Behind LDN Efficacy for Fibromyalgia
LDN’s effectiveness in helping with Fibromyalgia/FMS has been demonstrated in multiple clinical studies.
To cite just some of them:
A double-blind, placebo controlled study from Stanford showed LDN is very effective in improving the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, reducing chronic pain and improving general satisfaction with life. The study investigators concluded: “We observed a significantly greater reduction of baseline pain in those taking low-dose naltrexone than in those taking placebo (28.8% reduction versus 18.0% reduction; P = 0.016). Low-dose naltrexone was also associated with improved general satisfaction with life (P = 0.045) and with improved mood (P = 0.039),” (1)
Another study showed that Low-dose naltrexone reduced fibromyalgia symptoms in the entire cohort, with a greater than 30% reduction of symptoms over placebo. Researchers concluded that: “low-dose naltrexone may be an effective, highly tolerable, and inexpensive treatment for fibromyalgia.” (2)
LDN was ranked as most effective treatment for Fibromyalgia, in a study by CureTogether, where researchers asked 1400 people suffering from Fibromyalgia to rate effectiveness of 104 different treatments. To their surprise a less known LDN was more effective than well-known fibromyalgia drugs such as Lyrica, Savella, Cymbalta, and Effexor. (5)
What Expert Doctors Are Saying About LDN for Fibromyalgia
Dr. Ginevra Liptan, one of the few clinical specialists in the world to focus solely on Fibromyalgia, and director of The Frida Center for Fibromyalgia in Portland, Oregon has to say about LDN for Fibromyalgia:
“If you have fibromyalgia there is a treatment option for chronic pain you need to know about. It is called low-dose naltrexone (LDN) ... Research has shown that inflammation around the nerves in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is the key factor in the transition from acute pain to chronic pain. And it is very hard to reduce this type of inflammation, so finding something that does it well, and is safe and inexpensive (around $40 per month cash price) like low-dose naltrexone… this could be huge!”
AgelessRx’s own Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sajad Zalzala, one of the prominent specialists knowledgeable about LDN, had this to say about LDN for Fibromyalgia:
“I have prescribed LDN to over 1,000 patients. The most common success stories with LDN are Fibromyalgia (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). These patients tend to fall through the cracks when it comes to conventional therapy, and many individuals do not respond well to the common medications prescribed. Fatigue and pain are the most commonly reported symptoms in patients with FMS and CFS diagnoses, and, in fact, these two diagnoses commonly go hand-in-hand. The vast majority of these patients experience symptom relief, and, furthermore, a good number of them have claimed life-changing experiences with LDN.”
What Real People with Fibromyalgia Who Tried LDN Are Saying
We believe seeing is believing. Check out these two interviews from patients detailing their reason for seeking LDN for Fibromyalgia treatment, and how it has helped them:
There are a plethora of additional testimonial videos and presentations by various doctors attesting to their experience with LDN for Fibromyalgia on the LDN Research Trust Youtube Channel.
How does LDN Work / LDN Mechanism of Action
There are immune system cells in the brain called microglia. Microglia are looking for inflammation and help protect the brain from damage. They usually remain dormant until triggered for action. When they get activated, microglial cells release cytokines that make people sick. For example if you get the flu, you feel really horrible and sick. That's your immune system forcing you to stay in bed so that your body can allocate all the resources to fighting off the infection.
In some people, these microglia have become chronically activated, and they release inflammatory chemicals which irritate the nerve cells around them and cause them to become hypersensitized to pain. This causes chronic inflammation and chronic pain and fatigue.
LDN acts on specific receptors on the microglial cells that essentially tell them to go back into hibernation and stop releasing inflammatory chemicals. LDN helps calm microglia down and reduce proinflammatory cytokines. This allows the nerve cells to normalize the volume of pain signals. (3, 4).
Why We Consider Fibromyalgia an Age-Related Disease
At AgelessRx, our mission is to help slow down or even reverse the onset of age-related diseases. Fibromyalgia and chronic pain are absolutely age-related. According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, between 18 and 50 years of age, the instances of Fibromyalgia go up 3-fold.
Not only does Fibromyalgia make you feel much older, it is thought that the underlying causes of it might actually accelerate the aging process. There is a lot of overlap between the underlying causes of Fibromyalgia and premature aging—and both share many of the same elements. For example, the disturbed sleep and lack of ability to do physical activity are major accelerators of aging, regardless of the underlying causes.
In addition, an increasing number of people are reporting Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue after having an acute case of COVID-19. The severity of the COVID-19 is often directly related to the age of the person, as people over 60 are 6x more likely to be hospitalized than people under 30. Fibromyalgia can also be seen after major trauma, particularly car accidents.
LDN can not only help with symptoms of FMS and CFS, but is also being studied as a potential longevity therapy for the wide benefits it offers.
To learn more about LDN, click here.
To request an LDN prescription, click here.
Study 1: Stanford Study: Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23359310/
Study 2: Stanford Study 2: Fibromyalgia Symptoms Are Reduced by Low-Dose Naltrexone: A Pilot Studypme_613 66 LINK
Dr.Liptan Blog (link)
Professor Jarred Younger Interview (link)
What Patients Say Works for Fibromyalgia (a study by CureTogether)