What is Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?
Naltrexone is a medicine that is used sometimes to treat people with narcotic addiction and alcoholism. In very low doses, however (less than 10% of a usual dose), naltrexone is believed to help regulate people's immune systems, thereby helping with several different disease processes.
History of LDN Therapy
In the 1980's the drug naltrexone was developed as a medicine to help people who were heroin addicts. The action of the drug is to block opiate medicines to prevent people getting high while taking heroin. Dr Bihari, the researcher testing the lowest dose of the medicine, found that at the low dose it didn't help the addiction, but did prevent his AIDS patients from getting sick. Since then this therapy has been used successfully not only for HIV but for many other diseases / conditions.
How Does It Work?
At the regular dose Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors in the body for a full 24 hours. At a very low dose, however, it blocks them for a much shorter time (usually 2-4 hours), during which time your body makes more endorphins (the natural morphines in the body). When the medicine wears off, you body now has more of the endorphins than it had before, which can help cut down on chronic pain. Endorphins also help modulate the immune system, allowing your body to better fight the things it should be fighting and not fight the things it shouldn't.
Diseases LDN is Effective For
(per the Low Dose Naltrexone website)
ALS, Alzheimer's, Autism, MS, Parkinson's, PTSD, etc
AS, Behcet's, Celiac, Chronic Fatigue, Crohn's, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto's, IBS, MG, Pemphigoid, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, etc.
Bladder, Brest, Carcinoid, Colon/Rectal, Liver, Lung, Melanoma, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Prostate, etc.
Common Colds (URI's), Emphysema (COPD), HIV/AIDS, Depression (Major; and Bipolar)
How Do I Get It?
Because LDN is a low dose, it needs to be made at a compounding pharmacy (you can only get the "regular dose" at most pharmacies). The fact that the dose is low brings the cost down significantly, but the need for custom compounding brings it up to a medium price range. Each patient has their own particular dose that works best for them - it's definitely not a "one size fits all."
LDN is usually taken at night time just before going to bed. Occasionally patients take it in the morning. Most people tolerate the medicine very well, with the only common side effects of:
- decreased sleep for the first couple of nights, (after that patients often sleep better than they've slept in years).
- vivid, "funky" dreams (not nightmares). These may go away after a while or continue but are typically not bothersome to patients.