Low-Dose Naltrexone for Chronic Pain: Update and Systemic Review

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2020 Aug 26;24(10):64. doi: 10.1007/s11916-020-00898-0.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to evaluate and explain our current understanding of the clinical use of low-dose naltrexone in the treatment of chronic pain.

Recent findings: Recent pre-clinical uses and clinical studies further elucidate the use of low-dose naltrexone in the treatment of chronic pain. Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has shown promise to reduce symptoms related to chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel conditions, and multiple sclerosis. The mechanism of LDN appears to be modulation of neuro-inflammation, specifically, the modulation of the glial cells and release of inflammatory chemicals in the central nervous system. These effects appear to unique at low dosage compared to dosage for food and drug administration approved use for alcohol and opioid dependence. We review the evidence that LDN has shown more than promise and should be further investigated in clinical practice.

Keywords: Chronic pain; Fibromyalgia; Naltrexone; Neuroinflammation.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Fibromyalgia / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Naltrexone / administration & dosage
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Naltrexone