Low dose naltrexone came on my radar last year and after consuming all of the research and anecdotal evidence about its impact on Fibromyalgia, I earmarked it for my major experiment post-baby (I had baby W last December).
Donna Gregory Birch, a well-known Fibromyalgia writer who explains how LDN works: “in low doses (typically 1-4.5 mg), naltrexone enhances the body’s immune system by boosting the production of endorphins, which in turn promotes healing and lessens inflammation.
Research has been showing promising results. Dr Jared Younger started with a tiny study and found positive results, approximately 65% of patients experienced clinically significant results. He’s doing a bigger study this year.
As a member of an active group about what works for Fibromyalgia and two groups about low dose naltrexone on Facebook, I have seen many testimonies from people with Fibromyalgia experiencing changes due to LDN ranging from mildly beneficial to miraculous. There are also those for whom it does not work or they do not try it for long enough – this is not a quick fix for most.
Further information on how LDN works is well explained in this article, which includes many links to research.
If I could experience a 30% (this is considered clinically significant and therefore as success) decrease in pain and fatigue, my life would change! I could be a mama, a wife, do my work and have some form of a life outside that and not pay with such significant levels of pain, fatigue and other side effects of the Fibromyalgia.
I can only share research and what works or doesn’t work for me. We are all unique and react differently. If you’re interested in LDN then read the research/information and then discuss it with your doctor.
I have been reluctant to post this update, I was waiting for something solidly quantifiable but in lieu of that I’ll give you my anecdotal evidence that it is working.
Around 8 months ago I began taking low dose naltrexone and have slowly titrated up to a dose of 4 milligrams. It took me about six months to get to 4 milligrams as previously my body couldn’t cope with that level, I experienced vivid dreams and flare ups of ulcers and cold sores each time I tried to titrate up too fast. I may try 4.5 milligrams later on.
For now the effects that I have noticed are:
slightly more stamina
slightly better sleep
slightly less fatigue and
slightly less neck pain – from an average (which changes over a day as well as the week) of 4-7/10 down to about 3-5/10
Anyone who has been following my blog for a while would know that my neck is the area I struggle with the most. With that a little more in check, the fatigue is a close second.
I don’t think my functionality has increased however the quality of my life while performing all that I do has increased. When I do overdo it or have a bad night’s sleep the pain will increase. The heatpack is still my best friend, the computer is still my neck’s nemesis and I can’t hold it for too long in one position – but it’s better than before.
I still have hope that as we edge toward the one year anniversary that I’ll experience more miraculous effects. For now it is definitely worth the $30 a month I pay for the perscription.
This combined with meditation and gentle exercise, paying attention to what I eat and trying to limit stress have been the best things I could do. I hope that when I start working I will be able to maintain half-time hours and not return too much closer to the previous pain levels.
I’d love to hear your experiences with LDN. I’ll write an update when we get closer to a year.