According to some estimates, chronic pain affects up to 40% of Americans, and treating it frustrates both clinicians and patients — a frustration that’s often compounded by a hesitation to prescribe opioids for pain.
A new study from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry confirms that a low dose of a drug called naltrexone is a good option for patients with orofacial and chronic pain, without the risk of addiction, said first author Elizabeth Hatfield, a clinical lecturer in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry.
Naltrexone is a semisynthetic opioid first developed in 1963 as an oral alternative to naloxone, the nasal spray used to reverse opioid drug overdoses. When prescribed at doses of 50 to 100 milligrams, naltrexone blocks the effects of alcohol and opioids.
Low-dose naltrexone has been used off-label for years to treat chronic pain, but Hatfield said this is the first in-depth,…