Is Naltrexone efficient to treat migraines?
When it comes to migraines, the treatments available are nearly countless. Many doctors have considered several kinds of drugs as staples in treating migraines, but these medications are not as effective as they once were. Of course, some newer “miracle” drugs can have pretty dramatic side effects which make any benefit hardly seem worth it. It is also difficult to treat migraines because even two people with the exact same symptoms and similar medical history can have very different treatment needs. Most migraine treatments are a long process of trial and error. In addition to effective home remedies for migraines, one medication in particular has shown some promise.
Naltrexone has been around for quite some time, originally used to treat drug addicts and alcoholics. Naltrexone is an opioid blocker, so any alcohol or drugs consumed did not have the desired effect, making addiction easier to overcome. However, it was taken in fairly large doses and also blocked the production of natural opioids (such as endorphins). Although the medication is very safe, this did cause undesirable side effects and faced resistance from patients. In the 1980s, a neurologist began experimenting with other uses for Naltrexone. He used very small doses, taken at bedtime, which only partially blocked the opioid receivers. It also stimulated an increased production of the body’s natural opioids. This low dose Naltrexone (LDN) has been used to treat HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis, which are both shown to have low levels of beta endorphin, a natural opioid. The results were remarkable- MS patients had no more attacks after initial treatment, and HIV/AIDS patients’ viral levels were so low they were undetectable.
What does this mean for migraines? Like MS and HIV/AIDS, many who suffer from migraines also have low levels of beta endorphin. Low doses of Naltrexone have been shown to completely eliminate migraines in some cases. In addition to being very safe, Naltrexone is also very inexpensive to produce. Hopefully, a few years time will make Naltrexone widely available. If you think LDN might be a good treatment for you, talk to your doctor about it. While it is still a pretty new treatment, the low level of risk and high levels of effectiveness may make this treatment worth your while.