AABP Integrative Pain Care

Low Dose Naltrexone for Pain: An Under-utilized Therapy for Pain!

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LDN is a medication that was initially developed to treat opioid addiction. It works by blocking the effects of opioids in the body. It has been discovered that when taken at lower doses than typically used for addiction treatment, LDN can alleviate pain.

Low Dose Naltrexone for Pain: A Comprehensive Guide

Unlocking the Potential of Low Dose Naltrexone to Manage Chronic Pain


Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Traditional pain management approaches often involve the use of opioids, which come with a range of potential side effects and risks. However, there is a growing interest in alternative treatments, such as Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), for pain relief. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of LDN and its role in managing chronic pain.

AABP Pain Physicians are expereinced with Low Dose Naltrexone.  Schedule a consultation to find out if LDN is right for you!

What is Low Dose Naltrexone for Pain?

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN): An Overview

LDN is a medication that was initially developed to treat opioid addiction. It works by blocking the effects of opioids in the body. However, researchers have discovered that when taken at lower doses than typically used for addiction treatment, LDN can have profound effects on the immune system and provide relief for various conditions, including chronic pain.

How Does LDN Work for Pain Management?

LDN works by modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation in the body. It is believed that LDN activates certain receptors in the brain and blocks others, leading to a rebalancing of the immune system and a decrease in pain signaling. Additionally, LDN has been shown to increase the circulating levels of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving substances in the body.

Understanding Chronic Pain

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for three months or longer. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, illness, or an underlying medical condition. Chronic pain can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life, leading to physical limitations, emotional distress, and reduced productivity.

Common Causes of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can have various causes, including:

  1. Musculoskeletal Conditions: Conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and back pain are common causes of chronic pain.
  2. Neuropathic Conditions: Nerve damage or dysfunction can result in chronic pain, such as diabetic neuropathy or post-herpetic neuralgia.
  3. Inflammatory Conditions: Chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease can lead to persistent pain.
  4. Central Sensitization: Some individuals may develop a condition known as central sensitization, where the nervous system becomes hypersensitive, amplifying pain signals.

The Role of Low Dose Naltrexone in Pain Management

Benefits of Low Dose Naltrexone for Pain

LDN has gained attention in the medical community for its potential benefits in managing chronic pain. Some of the key advantages of using LDN for pain management include:

  1. Reduced Inflammation: LDN has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help alleviate pain associated with inflammatory conditions.
  2. Improved Immune Function: LDN modulates the immune system, leading to a rebalancing of immune responses. This can be beneficial for individuals with autoimmune conditions that contribute to their chronic pain.
  3. Enhanced Endorphin Release: LDN promotes the availability of endorphins, which are the body's natural pain-relieving chemicals. This can provide a natural and sustained relief for individuals with chronic pain.
  4. Fewer Side Effects: Compared to traditional pain medications, LDN has a favorable side effect profile. It is generally well-tolerated and does not have the same addictive potential as opioids.

Conditions That Can Benefit from LDN

LDN has shown promise in managing various chronic pain conditions, including:

  1. Fibromyalgia: LDN may help reduce pain, fatigue, and improve sleep quality in individuals with fibromyalgia.
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: LDN has been studied as an adjunctive treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, potentially providing additional pain relief and improving disease management.
  3. Multiple Sclerosis: Some studies suggest that LDN may alleviate pain and improve quality of life in individuals with multiple sclerosis.
  4. Chronic Back Pain: LDN may offer an alternative treatment option for individuals with chronic back pain, especially those who are looking to avoid opioids.

Combining LDN with Other Therapies

While LDN shows promise as a standalone treatment, it can also be used in combination with other therapies to enhance its effectiveness. For example, integrating LDN with physical therapy, acupuncture, or mindfulness-based techniques may provide a holistic approach to pain management.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Is LDN safe for long-term use? A1: LDN is generally considered safe for long-term use. It has a low risk of side effects and does not lead to physical dependence or addiction.

Q2: Can LDN be used alongside other pain medications? A2: LDN can often be used alongside other pain medications, but it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure there are no potential interactions.

Q3: How long does it take for LDN to start working? A3: The effects of LDN can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience a reduction in pain within a few weeks, while others may require several months to notice significant improvements.

Q4: Are there any contraindications for using LDN? A4: LDN should be used with caution in individuals with liver disease or compromised liver function. It is important to discuss any pre-existing conditions with a healthcare provider before starting LDN.  Patients should not take LDN with an opiate medication.

Q5: Can LDN be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding? A5: The use of LDN during pregnancy or while breastfeeding is not well-studied, and its safety in these situations is uncertain. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.

Q6: Are there any known side effects of LDN? A6: The most commonly reported side effects of LDN include vivid dreams, insomnia, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. These side effects are generally mild and transient.


Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) holds promise as an alternative treatment for chronic pain. By modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation, LDN can provide relief for individuals suffering from various pain conditions. Its favorable side effect profile and potential to enhance endorphin release make it an attractive option for those seeking safer alternatives to traditional pain medications. However, as with any medical treatment, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if LDN is suitable for your specific situation.

For more information, schedule a consultation with one of our AABP Pain physicians.