Addressing Chronic Pain in HIV Patients with an Approved Addiction Treatment
Principal Investigator: Dr. Anne Marie McKenzie-Brown
Disease: HIV-related pain
Research Description: More than one million people in the United States live with HIV. In 2018, Black/African Americans made up 42% of the new HIV diagnoses, while Hispanic persons accounted for 27%. The life expectancy of HIV patients has increased with the advent of anti-retroviral agents, as has the need for therapies to treat chronic HIV-related conditions like neuropathic (nerve) pain. Chronic neuropathic pain not only negatively affects patient quality of life but also is notoriously difficult to treat, and HIV patients are often prescribed opioids for their pain. However, opioid therapy can lead to a multitude of negative side effects, including the lesser-known side effect of immune system suppression, which is particularly undesirable in HIV patients. Thus, there is a tremendous need for nonopioid therapies for neuropathic pain. Naltrexone is FDA approved for alcohol and opioid addiction, and low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is used off-label to treat chronic neuropathic pain in fibromyalgia and other conditions. This study will repurpose LDN in a clinical trial to treat pain in and improve symptoms for HIV patients. LDN has the potential to greatly enhance patient quality of life, which is particularly meaningful given the healthcare disparities often associated with HIV.
Funding Partners: Cures Within Reach
CWR funding role: Primary funder