Low-Dose Naltrexone for long COVID Symptoms: A possible cure

A new research suggests that a low-cost and widely available drug called naltrexone could offer some relief for long COVID sufferers. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the effects of opioids in the brain. It is usually used to treat addiction to alcohol or opioids, but it has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties.

What is Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?

Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is a term used to describe the use of naltrexone at doses much lower than those typically prescribed for addiction treatment. LDN is usually taken at doses of 1 to 5 milligrams per day, compared to 50 to 100 milligrams for addiction. LDN is not approved by the FDA for any condition, but it is prescribed off-label by some doctors for various chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and cancer.

The exact mechanism of action of LDN is not fully understood, but it is believed to work by modulating the activity of microglia, which are immune cells in the brain that can become overactive and cause inflammation and neurodegeneration. By blocking the opioid receptors on microglia, LDN may reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, thus restoring the balance of the immune system and protecting the brain from damage.

How Low-Dose Naltrexone may help Long COVID Patients?

There is growing evidence that long COVID is caused by a dysregulated immune response that leads to chronic inflammation and tissue damage, especially in the brain. Some researchers have proposed that long COVID is a form of autoimmune encephalitis, which is a condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the brain. This could explain why many long COVID patients experience neurological and psychiatric symptoms, such as memory loss, anxiety, and mood swings.

LDN could potentially help long COVID patients by reducing the inflammation and restoring the immune function in the brain. LDN could also improve the symptoms of long COVID by enhancing the production of endorphins, which are natural opioids that have analgesic, anti-depressant, and anti-stress effects.

What is the Evidence for LDN and Long COVID?

The evidence for LDN and long COVID is still preliminary and based on anecdotal reports and small studies. However, some of these reports are promising and suggest that LDN could be a safe and effective option for long COVID patients.

One of the first reports of LDN and long COVID came from Dr. Jarred Younger, a neuroscientist and LDN researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Younger contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 and developed long COVID symptoms that lasted for months. He decided to try LDN and noticed a significant improvement in his symptoms within a few days. He then shared his experience with other long COVID patients and found that many of them also benefited from LDN.

Dr. Younger is now conducting a clinical trial to test the efficacy and safety of LDN for long COVID patients. The trial is expected to enroll 100 participants and last for 12 weeks. The participants will be randomly assigned to receive either LDN or a placebo and will be monitored for changes in their symptoms and quality of life. The results of the trial are expected to be available by the end of 2023.

Another report of LDN and long COVID came from Dr. David Reilly, a physician and homeopath in Scotland. Dr. Reilly contracted COVID-19 in April 2020 and developed long COVID symptoms that persisted for more than a year. He tried various treatments, including steroids, antivirals, and supplements, but none of them helped. He then decided to try LDN and noticed a dramatic improvement in his symptoms within a week. He was able to resume his normal activities and felt like he had recovered from long COVID.

Dr. Reilly has since treated more than 50 long COVID patients with LDN and reported that most of them experienced significant relief from their symptoms. He also observed that LDN seemed to work better for patients who had more severe and longer-lasting symptoms. He speculated that LDN could be more effective for patients who have a higher level of inflammation and immune dysregulation.

Risks and Side Effects of Low-Dose Naltrexone

LDN is generally considered to be a safe and well-tolerated drug, with few and mild side effects. The most common side effects of LDN are insomnia, vivid dreams, headache, nausea, and fatigue. These side effects usually subside within a few days or weeks of starting LDN and can be minimized by taking LDN at night and starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it.

However, LDN is not suitable for everyone and should be used with caution and under medical supervision. Some of the contraindications and precautions for LDN are:

– LDN should not be used by people who are taking opioid medications, such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone, or fentanyl, as LDN could block their effects and cause withdrawal symptoms.

– LDN should not be used by people who have a history of opioid addiction or dependence, as LDN could trigger cravings and relapse.

– LDN should not be used by people who have liver disease, kidney disease, or thyroid problems, as LDN could affect their metabolism and function.

– LDN should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as LDN could cross the placenta and breast milk and affect the fetus or infant.

– LDN should be used with caution by people who have autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or type 1 diabetes, as LDN could alter their immune response and affect their disease activity and medication dosage.

– LDN should be used with caution by people who are taking other medications or supplements, as LDN could interact with them and cause adverse effects or reduce their efficacy.

How to Get LDN?

LDN is not commercially available in most countries and has to be obtained from a compounding pharmacy or online source. LDN requires a prescription from a doctor who is familiar with LDN and willing to prescribe it off-label. LDN is usually prescribed in capsule or liquid form and has to be taken orally once a day, preferably at night.

The optimal dose of LDN for long COVID is not known and may vary from person to person. The usual starting dose of LDN is 1.5 milligrams per day, which can be increased by 0.5 milligrams every week until the desired effect is achieved or the maximum dose of 4.5 milligrams per day is reached. Some people may need higher doses of LDN, up to 10 milligrams per day, to see benefits.

LDN is relatively inexpensive and costs about $30 to $60 per month, depending on the dose and source. However, LDN is not covered by most insurance plans and has to be paid out of pocket.


LDN is a cheap and widely available drug that could help millions of long COVID sufferers by reducing their inflammation and improving their symptoms. LDN has a good safety profile and few side effects, but it is not approved by the FDA for any condition and has to be prescribed off-label by a doctor who is knowledgeable about LDN. LDN is not a cure for long COVID, but it could be a valuable adjunct to other treatments and therapies. LDN could also have potential benefits for other chronic diseases that involve inflammation and immune dysregulation. More research is needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of LDN for long COVID and other conditions.

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