Chronic pain is hard to treat because it is so difficult to describe, and even more difficult to measure. For doctors, treating conditions like fibromyalgia, CRPS, lipedema and the like usually involves the prescription of opioid painkillers. Opioids are frequently prescribed because there are not many other drugs available that can relieve chronic levels of pain. For many patients, though, the risk of developing an unhealthy dependency on these drugs is greater than they are willing to take. For other patients, opiate painkillers actually prove to be ineffective at relieving their pain. When this happens, these patients are often left hopeless. After losing faith in modern medicine, many assume that there really is nothing else that could relieve their pain, except for these drugs.

Lori Pinkley, whose battle with chronic pain started when she was 15 years old, tells a story of hope for those chronic pain patients who feel hopeless. In an article published by NPR (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/09/23/741783834/in-tiny-doses-an-addiction-medication-moonlights-as-a-treatment-for-chronic-pain) she explained how opiate painkillers did not relieve her pain at all. In fact, she had grown to hate them, though she had no other options. It was not until after decades of living with her chronic pain that she discovered a treatment that allowed her to go from struggling to functioning to fully active once again. By using a low dose (5mg) of the generic drug Naltrexone, she was able to finally find relief.

Sadly, the reason that Pinkley did not find this chronic pain treatment sooner was because the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture most prescription drugs cannot make enough money from producing generics. As a result, since generic drugs are much older, many doctors and patients either forget about them, or are completely unaware of their usefulness. This also precludes any research to finding alternative applications for these drugs, as well. As the NPR article states: “(pharmaceutical) companies … are not willing to (bring drugs to market) unless they can get a patent and be the sole supplier of that drug.” Despite there being a valuable medical application, it is not significant enough to warrant any major manufacturing or marketing developments. This is especially unfair for those who struggle to function—due to the chronic nature of their condition—in everyday life.

There must be many others, like Lori, who live with chronic pain, but cannot find relief using opioid painkillers. Could Naltrexone work for them? Are there other generic chronic pain management medications that could work when opiates fail to deliver adequate relief?

Ketamine is another generic drug that has been around for almost 50 years. And, despite it being used in various applications, it was not until recently that it was also found to be very effective at relieving the symptoms of chronic pain and depression. Since ketamine has shown to be so effective at treating many treatment-resistant conditions, it has grown in popularity and earned its due recognition in medical circles around the world.

There must be a number of other generic drugs out there that modern medicine has either forgotten about or does not use, that could provide priceless benefits to people who are suffering without hope. Luckily for Lori, she found something that worked. For others who may not be as fortunate, hopefully though learning about the alternative uses of drugs like Naltrexone and ketamine, they may find a treatment that works that ends up being healthier, less risky, and equally—or even more effective—than what they were originally prescribed.

Elev8 MD Wellness Center offers a wide variety of treatments for those suffering from high stress, anxiety and depression. In addition to ketamine infusions, we also offer reiki, acupuncture, massage therapy, and IV hydration therapy, and can even help you establish a vitamin regimen to best support your mind-body needs. Contact our Charlotte, NC wellness center today and let us know how we can meet your health and wellness needs.