Naloxone is an opiate-receptor blocker that is thought to improve spinal blood flow in SCI patients (Flamm et al. 1985). Animal models of acute SCI have shown that naloxone effectively reduces ischemia and promotes neurological recovery (Faden et al. 1981a1981bYoung et al. 1981). One early phase-one clinical trial deemed naloxone to be safe when administered to patients with acute SCI (Flamm et al. 1985).


The only study since 1990 that has investigated the neuroprotective effectiveness of naloxone in acute SCI was conducted by Bracken et al. (1990). Overall, the authors found no significant differences between individuals who received naloxone and those in the placebo group in terms of motor recovery, sensory recovery and medical complications.


There is level 1b evidence (from one RCT: Bracken et al. 1990) that naloxone is not effective for the promotion of neurological recovery in acute SCI individuals.