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Safety and efficacy of low dose naltrexone in a long covid cohort; an interventional pre-post study

Safety and efficacy of low dose naltrexone in a long covid cohort; an interventional pre-post study
Publication Type
Journal Article
Research Type
Reported as
Clinical Trial
August 01, 2022
Brendan O'Kelly, Louise Vidal, Tina McHugh, James Woo, Gordana Avramovic, John S.Lambert
Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, University College Dublin

BACKGROUND: Up to 37.7% of patients experience symptoms beyond 12 weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2. To date care for people with long covid has centred around multidisciplinary rehabilitation, self care and self pacing. No pharmacotherapy has been shown to be beneficial.

METHODS: In this single centre interventional pre post study, the safety of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) was explored in patients with Post COVID-19 Syndrome (PCS), defined by NICE as patients with ongoing symptoms 12 or more weeks after initial infections with SARS-CoV-2 where alternative explanation for symptoms cannot be found. Patients were recruited through a Post COVID clinic, had a baseline quality of life questionnaire in symmetrical Likert format, were prescribed 2 months (1 mg month one, 2 mg month two) of LDN and repeated the same questionnaire at the end of the second month. Patients were monitored to adverse events.

FINDINGS: In total 52 patients participated of whom 40(76.9%) were female. The median age was 43.5 years(IQR 33.2–49). Healthcare workers represented the largest occupational cohort n = 16(34.8%). The median time from diagnosis of COVID-19 until enrolment was 333 days (IQR 171–396.5). Thirty-eight participants (73.1%) were known to commence LDN, two of whom (5.3%) stopped taking LDN post commencement due to new onset diarrhoea and also described fatigue. In total 36(69.2%) participants completed the questionnaire at the end of the two-month period. Improvement was seen in 6 of 7 parameters measured; recovery from COVID-19, limitation in activities of daily living, energy levels, pain levels, levels of concentration and sleep disturbance (p ≤ 0.001), improvement in mood approached but was not significant (p = 0.054).

CONCLUSIONS: LDN is safe in patients with PCS and may improve well-being and reduce symptomatology in this cohort. Randomised control trials are needed to further explore this.

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