Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Julie Solberg


Naltrexone; Crohn’s Disease; Fibromyalgia; Analgesia; Immunomodulatory; Treatment; Adjunct; Therapy


The United States has experienced a dramatic increase in opioid abuse and overdoses, leading to a national epidemic. Contributing to this epidemic is the use of opioid therapy for complex chronic inflammatory and neuropathic conditions that remain difficult to treat. Many traditional treatments are ineffective or have intolerable side effects, forcing providers to utilize opioid therapy as a last resort. Recently, there is increased interest in the use of partial opioid antagonist naltrexone to treat Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia. Previous research suggests the potential for naltrexone to provide analgesic effects when administered in low doses via its unique interaction with opioid receptors located throughout the body. A literature review was performed using a comprehensive electronic search of scientific databases, applying search criteria that included the mesh term naltrexone and keywords Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia. Preliminary research on the use of low-dose naltrexone (LDN) in fibromyalgia demonstrates mixed results. Some studies show the potential for LDN to improve pain symptoms and quality of life, while others exhibit statistically insignificant results. Current research on LDN use in Crohn’s disease demonstrates that it can improve pain, mucosal healing, and quality of life without adverse effects. The high safety profile and effectiveness of LDN seen in preliminary studies support the need for larger, randomized controlled trials to investigate LDN’s efficacy in the treatment of Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia.