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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition involving widespread pain as well as an increased sensitivity to pain. Other common symptoms include extreme fatigue, muscle stiffness, problems with memory and concentration (known as “fibro-fog”), depression and difficulty sleeping.

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but may be triggered by infection or physical and emotional trauma. It may have a genetic component as well since it is not uncommon for several family members to be affected.

Fibromyalgia tends to develop between the ages of 30 and 50 and occurs in women 7 times more frequently than in men. Risk factors include family history and having other chronic inflammatory disorders.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia so symptom control is the main goal of treatment. It includes the use of analgesics, antidepressants, antiepileptic drugs (for pain control), physical and occupational therapy and counseling. It is important to reduce stress as much as possible, get sufficient rest, exercise, eat a healthy diet and limit caffeine.

Research with Low-dose Naltrexone (LDN) in Fibromyalgia

Thus far, there have been several clinical studies using LDN for the treatment of fibromyalgia as well as a retrospective chart review. All reported less pain after treatment with LDN. In some there was also a reduction in fibromyalgia-related depression and anxiety as well as improved pain tolerance and sleep quality. In those studies measuring inflammatory factors, there were reduced during LDN use. The most common side effects were vivid dreams and insomnia.

Read the studies about the use of LDN in fibromyalgia here.

Learn more about LDN’s mechanism of action here.

Interview with Dr. Jarred Younger, LDN researcher

Dr. Jarred YoungerDr. Jarred Younger

Dr. Jarred Younger is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, formerly an Assistant Professor at Stanford University who has conducted clinical trials using LDN for fibromyalgia.

In an interview with LDNscience, Dr. Younger explained that in his studies, the majority of the participants with fibromyalgia have not reacted favorably to conventional treatment options. Treatment with low-dose naltrexone, however, resulted in high satisfaction.

Dr. Younger believes that LDN has advantages in that it is easily-dosed (once at bedtime), relatively inexpensive (around $35 per month even if paying fully out-of-pocket) and very tolerable. Most individuals involved in his studies report no side effects at all, which is a large part of the high patient satisfaction. Dr. Younger stated that “the drug does not work for everyone - and we are trying to figure out how to predict who will receive benefit and who will not”.

In his studies, participant compliance has been very high, probably due to the lack of side-effects. The only side effect that his team has consistently linked with LDN is more vivid dreams, but most participants say the dreams are not nightmares, and may even be pleasurable. A reduction in dosage from 4.5 to 3.0 mg resolved the problem.

Dr. Younger feels the FDA-approved drugs currently on the market for treating fibromyalgia do work for a large number of people. He suggests that physicians have their patients try 3 approved medications before trying LDN, but believes that the main benefits of LDN are its low cost and minimal side effects.

Read Dr. Younger’s full interview here.

What People with Fibromyalgia Say About Their Experiences with LDN

Ruth EisenbergRuth Eisenberg

Fourteen months after being seriously injured in a car accident with her family including the death of her 5-month old daughter, Ruth developed fibromyalgia. She tried all the conventional drugs which were prescribed, including antidepressants. Even when a drug worked, it had intolerable side effects. She learned about LDN and received a prescription from a pain specialist.

After only one day on LDN, she describes feeling lighter in mood, more awake and less tired. Her pain level decreased and energy level increased. She started to sleep better and wake up with a feeling of “happy expectation for the day”. Ruth states that “LDN has given me a new life...not a life completely without pain and exhaustion, but a life where I can function and do my daily chores without feeling like I have to climb a mountain”. “I encourage everyone to learn as much as possible about LDN so that you have a solid foundation if any arguments arise while trying to get a prescription. Don't give up until you get it. It's so worth it!”

Mellisa MillerMellisa Miller

While working as an nurse, Mellisa was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2004 by a rheumatologist. Despite the use of various anti-inflammatories and pain medications, her symptoms continued to worsen. In 2006, she developed depression and eventually had to give up her career and remained in bed for most of the day. This led to a suicide attempt and hospitalization.

In 2009, Mellisa was referred to a pain clinic and a doctor there started her on LDN. After only a few days of treatment her symptoms began to improve and over time the intensity of her pain has decreased. Her “fibro-fog” improved as well. Mellisa says: “I would love for every fibromyalgia sufferer and chronic pain sufferer out there to know the facts about Low Dose Naltrexone and the possibilities it has for chronic pain relief.

I cannot tell you how much this one medication has made a difference in my pain relief and my LIFE. I want to spread the word about LDN so that those who don't know about it will learn from my experience. Believe me, it is so worth taking a chance!

Patient Success Stories

Fibromyalgia sufferers from around the globe have shared their positive LDN experiences with LDNscience. Most of them had tried a wide range of standard medications and either had no improvement or suffered from intolerable side effects. Some people had to give up their careers due to unmanageable symptoms and one was even on the brink of suicide.

Fortunately, all reported an improvement after taking LDN, some after only one dose! They had reductions in pain, stiffness, depression and anxiety. Here are some quotes from satisfied LDN users:

  • “Low dose naltrexone has given me a new life.”
    - Valborg Engene, Oslo
  • LDN gave me my life back, more than words can describe.”
    - Janet Kirchheimer, New Jersy
  • “We compounded 2.5 mg of LDN and within few days, I experienced "magical relief".
    - Michelle Lloyd, Australia
  • It was truly a miracle... I feel like a new person, alive, happy with all I can now do, no pain and with a sharp brain. I am so happy I finally listened to my sister. For those of you who found out what this drug can do and who are trying to make people aware, bless you all.
    - Eudice Germaine, Illinois
  • “Truly seems like a magic pill for me.”
    - Susan Reid, Tennessee
  • “I’ve tried far too many treatment protocols to count and I’m pretty cynical about the claims made for various therapies. I can honestly say that LDN has been a miracle drug for me. It’s changed my life for the better and has given me hope that someday many people will be able to benefit the way I have.”
    - Penny Houle, U.S.
  • “I feel, for the first time since 2001, that I am getting my life back! I thought I never would. I am even applying for a job!”
    - D.G., U.S.
  • “My pain is probably 85% controlled, my energy is up markedly and I am enjoying being alive again.”
    - Lauri Goodwin, North Carolina
  • “I started on LDN 4.5mg 2 months ago, and I got my life back. The morning after my first dose, I woke up refreshed and able to stretch. I knew I had experienced restorative sleep for the first time in years. That first week I was able to go out after work for the first time in 5 years. I continue to get better with each passing day.”
    - Ginny Dudek, North Carolina
  • LDN has changed my life. I am now 50 and I now have a life!! Yippee for LDN!!!”
    - Geoff Harris, Australia

Read these and more LDN user stories here.