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Low-Dose Naltrexone in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Retrospective Analysis

Low-Dose Naltrexone in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Retrospective Analysis
Publication Type
Research Type
Reported as
Case Report/Series/Restrospective Study
April 01, 2019
Jordan Wulz
Ascension Wisconsin Center for Pain Management, Concordia University Wisconsin

The first scientific reference of fibromyalgia as a medical disorder occurred in 1981. Since then, pain management experts have continuously debated diagnosis criteria, potential pathologies, and viable treatment options due to the complex nature of the disease. For both patient and clinician, the efficacy of current pharmacologic treatments can be frustrating. The clinical benefit of medications is often modest at best. In fact, the 2016 European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) guideline for managing fibromyalgia could only endorse a 'weak for' recommendation for medication management based on currently available evidence. Additionally, patients may have allergies, contraindications, or previous adverse drug effects precluding the use of available pharmacotherapy. For this reason, and in the context of the opioid crisis, it is important to continue research on practical pharmacotherapy options for fibromyalgia. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia. This study is a retrospective analysis comparing adapted Brief Pain Inventory scores both pre-, and post- a low-dose naltrexone medication trial (primary outcome). Additional data to be collected includes age, sex, previous/current fibromyalgia pharmacotherapy, participation in non-pharmacologic therapy (i.e. physical therapy, exercise, pain psychology), and adverse drug reactions attributed to low-dose naltrexone. Inclusion criteria is broad and includes all adults diagnosed with fibromyalgia and prescribed low-dose naltrexone from January 2018-January 2019 in the Ascension Wisconsin Center for Pain Management clinics. Results and conclusion are pending IRB approval. (Macfarlane et al, Ann Rheum Dis, 2016).