CAN TAP TALENT & Michael Smith Health Research BC Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2023 award

Health Research BC is providing matching funds for this postdoctoral fellowship, which is funded by the CAN-TAP-TALENT clinical trials training program.  


Approximately 15-20% of patients who have COVID-19 will develop long-term symptoms as part of what is now known as post-COVID-19 condition (PCC) or ‘long COVID’. Those suffering from PCC can experience debilitating fatigue that can last for over 18 months. The pattern of fatigue experienced by some PCC patients is similar to what has been experienced by patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). This subtype of PCC can be called post-COVID fatigue syndrome (PCFS). Currently there are no medications that have been proven to be helpful for fatigue in patients with PCC or ME/CFS. However, a low dose of the medication naltrexone (low dose naltrexone, LDN) has been prescribed off-label. 


In this randomized controlled trial (Principal Investigator: Dr. Luis Nacul), we will investigate whether LDN is able to reduce fatigue severity in patients with PCFS. We will recruit patients from the Post-COVID-19 Interdisciplinary Clinical Care Network (PC-ICCN) directory and REACH BC platform. We have made in-person participation optional so that patients from throughout BC (and not just Vancouver) will be able to participate. Participants will be randomized to receive LDN or placebo capsules. We will follow participants for 16 weeks and determine whether they have improvement in their fatigue severity, as well as other outcomes such as quality of life and step count. This is one of the first clinical trials for PCC in Canada, and the results could inform treatment for the millions of individuals struggling with this illness.