A drug that’s helping millions of people with opioid or alcohol dependence is also being used to treat those suffering symptoms of long COVID.
Naltrexone has been around since 1984 to treat opioid or alcohol addiction. Given in high doses of 50-milligram tablets or a 380-milligram intramuscular injection, the drug works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain to block the effects—especially the urges and cravings to use—of opioids and alcohol.
Naltrexone has also been found to treat other disorders when administered in low doses. It is used off-label to treat obesity, nerve pain, anxiety, and autoimmune disorders.
“I found it very effective in my patients with rheumatoid arthritis, with Crohn’s disease, with other autoimmune processes, and chronic fatigue syndrome,” Dr. Keith Berkowitz, an internist, told The Epoch Times.
Naltrexone is given at doses of 0.5 to 4.5 milligram for patients with long COVID, along with other repurposed medications like prednisone, ivermectin, and vitamin D, according to Berkowitz. At low doses, naltrexone has a potent anti-inflammatory effect, as well as an endorphin effect.
“I would say the majority of the patients I get [with long COVID] … they weren’t believed by someone else. I would say that’s 80 percent of the people I see,” Berkowitz said.
That’s because one of the challenges with long COVID is that there is no standard clinical definition or treatment for the syndrome. This creates difficulty for health care professionals to diagnose and treat patients with symptoms.
FLCCC Alliance and other experts have recognized that long COVID may occur after an infection or receiving a COVID-19 injection.
It’s speculated that prolonged exposure to spike proteins (either from infection or an inoculation) and the lipid nanoparticle that encapsulates the messenger RNA (mRNA) produces chronic inflammation in the body, causing symptoms of long COVID.
Berkowitz says that the more exposure an individual has to the spike protein, the more symptoms they will likely experience.
“The one thing I have seen, the more exposure, the more symptomatic people often are,” Berkowitz said. “If they had COVID, then vaccines, and maybe COVID [again], that may be more problematic.”
Low Dose Naltrexone and Brain Fog
Brain fog—a term used to describe various symptoms like forgetfulness, confusion, lack of mental clarity, and poor concentration—in long COVID patients can be so debilitating that they aren't able to work.
In the FLCCC protocol, low-dose naltrexone, an immune modulator, is the main agent in treating symptoms of long COVID. It suppresses the inflammatory immune response by reducing the production of a certain protein, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and the inflammatory signaling pathway that IL-6 triggers.
An excessive amount of IL-6 that is not regulated is harmful to the body as it can cause neurological issues, cardiovascular effects, edema, build-up of amyloid proteins in organs or tissues, an increase in platelets (causing blood clots), and chronic autoimmune inflammation.
Syed, the founder of DrBeen Corp, an online medical education program, says that naltrexone has to be administered in low doses for it to be effective in long COVID patients. At a dose higher than 4.5 milligrams, the drug will lose its immune-modulating effects.