Low dose naltrexone (LDN) is a medication. Some researchers believe LDN can help with autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis.
For this reason, some scientists have looked into the potential efficacy of LDN in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA occurs due to joint inflammation occurring due to issues with the immune system.
Although there is
This article explores the connection between RA and LDN. After providing some background on this type of arthritis, it discusses the effects that LDN might have on the condition. It also outlines the adverse effects of LDN and other treatment options for RA.
Arthritis may cause a range of symptoms, including:
- joint pain
- joint stiffness
- reduced range of joint motion
- joint deformities
RA is a chronic form of arthritis that affects around
The immune system usually acts to detect and damage harmful pathogens. These might include certain fungi, bacteria, or viruses. However, like any other system in the human body, the immune system does not always function as it should.
In people with RA, the immune system mistakes the healthy cells within the joints for pathogens. It reacts to this by attacking those cells, causing inflammation and damage to a person’s joints.
LDN is a medication that some researchers claim is effective in treating a variety of autoimmune diseases. There is some evidence that
Since RA is also an autoimmune condition, researchers have wondered whether LDN might benefit a person who has this form of arthritis.
For instance, a 2019 study investigated patterns of medication usage in people with RA. The researchers found that, among the individuals who began regularly using LDN, there was a significant reduction in the use of mainstream arthritis medications. These medications include:
- analgesics, which are pain-relieving drugs
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
However, this study had some limitations. For example, there was no control group, meaning the researchers did not compare people who used LDN with those who did not. Instead, the study compared the use of arthritis medications before and after using LDN.
According to a
Additionally, it is important to note that naltrexone does not have approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating any conditions other than alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder.
It is currently unclear whether LDN can help people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, research has shown that
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) lists some of these as follows:
- nausea and vomiting
- vivid dreams
- abdominal pain
- decreased appetite
Naltrexone may also cause liver damage, but this is more common at high doses. The NMSS recommends that a person reports serious side effects to a healthcare professional. These side effects include:
- blurred vision
- severe vomiting or diarrhea
Future research may prove that LDN is a suitable treatment for RA. However, at present, there is no conclusive evidence to support this. Furthermore, there is no evidence that LDN can replace DMARDs to prevent joint damage.
There is currently a range of effective therapies available for RA. As a
Contrastingly, other medications do not aim to stop the inflammation but help manage RA symptoms. A variety of medications can help with painful joints. A doctor will prescribe medication depending on a person’s medical history and any other medications they are taking to prevent drug interactions.
LDN is a drug that may help with a variety of autoimmune diseases. However, it is not entirely clear whether it can positively impact people with RA. This is because there is a lack of conclusive research on the topic.
Despite this, healthcare professionals already have a good range of RA medications to choose from. A person can speak with a doctor if they think they may have RA or wish to find out more about RA treatment options.