Volume 34, Issue 1, March 2023

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Mediterr J Rheumatol 2023;34(1):1-6
Low-Dose Naltrexone in Rheumatological Diseases
Authors Information

1Núcleo de Pesquisa em Doenças Crônicas não Transmissíveis (NUPEN), School of Nutrition from the Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

2Unit of Rheumatology, Hospital Evangélico Mackenzie, Curitiba, PR, Brazil


Background: Naltrexone has been approved for alcohol and opioid abuse by the FDA. At low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has been used in several diseases including chronic pain and autoimmune conditions, including rheumatic disorders. Aim: To review the use of LDN in rheumatic diseases: systemic sclerosis (SSc), dermatomyositis (DM), Sjögren’s syndrome (SS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and fibromyalgia (FM). Methods:  PubMed and Embase databases were searched for articles on LDN and rheumatic diseases between 1966 and August 2022.  Results: Seven studies in FM have been identified: in this disease LDN has showed beneficial effects on pain and well-being. In SS, two articles with 3 cases description showed that LDN may be of help in the pain treatment. LDN relieved pruritus in scleroderma (a case description with a series of 3 patients) and dermatomyositis (description of 3 patients in two articles). In RA a study using Norwegian Prescription Database showed that LDN was associated to reduction in the use of analgesic and DMARDs. No serious side effects were detected. Conclusion:  This review shows that LDN is a promising and safe therapy to be used in some rheumatic disease. However, the data is limited and needs to be reproduced in larger studies. 

Cite this article as: de Carvalho JF, Skare T. Low-Dose Naltrexone in Rheumatological Diseases. Mediterr J Rheumatol 2023;34(1):1-6.

Article Submitted: 7 Dec 2022; Revised Form: 14 Jan 2023; Article Accepted: 19 Jan 2023; Available Online: 31 Mar 2023


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©2023 The Author(s).