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Changes in the consumption of antiepileptics and psychotropic medicines after starting low dose naltrexone: A nation-wide register-based controlled before-after study

Abstract

In this controlled before-after study based on data from the Norwegian Prescription Database, we examine whether starting off-label use of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is followed by changes in the consumption of psychotropic medicines including antiepileptics. 

Patients that collected LDN for the first time in 2013 (N = 11247) were included and stratified into three groups based on LDN exposure. We compared differences in means of cumulative number of defined daily doses (DDD) as well as changes in the number of users one year before and one year after starting LDN. There was a dose-response association between increasing LDN exposure and reductions in the number of users of antiepileptics, antipsychotics and antidepressants. There were significant difference-in-differences in DDDs between the groups with the lowest and highest LDN exposure of antipsychotics (1.4 DDD, 95% CI 0.4 to 2.3, p = 0.007), and in number of users of antiepileptics (3.1% points, 95% CI 1.6% to 4.6%, p < 0.001), antipsychotics (2.1% points, 95% CI 1.2% to 3%, p < 0.001), and antidepressants (2.8% points, 95% CI 1.1% to 4.4%, p = 0.001). The findings show an association between the initiation of persistent LDN use and reduced consumption of several psychotropic medicines and antiepileptics. Beneficial effects of LDN in the treatment of psychiatric diseases cannot be ruled out.

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