Low dose naltrexone is a truly intriguing and unique medication that represents a new frontier in the management of a whole array of medical conditions. The citizens of the US are facing an almost exponential rise in the diagnosis of a widespread range of autoimmune diseases, leading to a health care crisis of almost unmanageable levels. There is no clear understanding for this rising occurrence, and no successful approach to effectively address and treat all these conditions.
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) may be an answer for many of these people suffering from the effects of these immune system disorders. LDN has shown tremendous promise as a treatment strategy for those individuals suffering from the associated pain, inflammatory, gastrointestinal, dermatologic, neurologic, and mental health issues.
The unique clinical action of LDN is unlike the vast majority of todays medications, that are prescribed to treat a symptom. LDN’s actions in the body essentially influences the underlying circumstances that have become imbalanced, it is not treating any particular disorder. The main actions of LDN occur by substantially increasing the levels of endorphins and enkephalins in the body. The resultant increased effect of these two powerful mediators helps to positively modulate the immune system, increasing anti-inflammatory mediators in the body, and favorably influencing the endocrine system balance of thyroid, adrenal, sex hormones.
The discovery of the effects of low dose naltrexone is an interesting story, like many scientific breakthroughs it really was an accidental finding. The higher regular dose of naltrexone is in the 50 to 150mg daily range. A Dr. Bernard Bihari, a New York City physician working with HIV patients in the early 1980’s discovered that naltrexone at doses 10 to 100 times less than traditional strengths has completely different physiologic actions in the body than the standard dosing
Within this widespread range of clinical applications and every expanding base of physicians prescribing; newer dosing strategies are evolving resulting in even more successful clinical outcomes with broader understanding of LDN’s actions in the body.
As is always true, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that is effective for all people. It is very evident that tailoring the LDN dose to the individual person achieves the most favorable clinical outcomes. Our pharmacists, working together with your practitioner, will explore whatever means necessary to assist an individual in finding their most effective LDN dose.
Finding the perfect or near perfect dose of LDN can lead to life changing health benefits.
It is the general belief of leading LDN researchers/practitioners that LDN, because of its far reaching implications on the immune system, there is legitimate rationale for it being prescribed for nearly all medical conditions; particularly considering its inexpensive cost and general lack of adverse effects .
Used for autoimmune conditions, inflammation, pain, mental health and overall wellness, the use of this old medication is expanding with incredible results.
FAQ About Low Dose Naltrexone
- LDN has very unique and far reaching clinical actions; unlike the vast majority of todays medications that are prescribed to manage symptoms. As mentioned prior, LDN has positive autoimmune, pain, anti-inflammatory, dermatologic, gastro-intestinal, and mental health effects.
- The beneficial broad range of effects that LDN creates in the body is essentially due to the downstream effects of its partial opioid receptor blockade. This blockade substantially elevates the bodies own endogenous endorphin and enkephalin levels.
- It is both of these neurotransmitters/messengers that have significant and far reaching effects on leveling pain, the immune system and managing inflammation, and enhancing some communications with the endocrine system, and brain/mental health.
- blocks toll-like receptor 4, which are found on macrophages such as microganglia
- therefore LDN suppresses the inflammatory compounds , tumor necrosis -alpha and IL-6, that are contained in the macrophages
- reduces glial cell activation
- which down regulates and reduces inflammatory cytokine release
- promotes reduction of neuro-inflammation
- down regulates oncogene expression
- modulates T & B Lymphocyte production (gastrointestinal inflammation)
- reduces a range of inflammatory cytokines ; including IL-6, Il-12, Tumor necrosis factor -alpha
- suppresses tumor growth factor – NF-kB
- serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter effects
As with almost all medications, there is not a one-size-fits-all dose. The most successful dosing strategies and protocols of LDN for individual patients are those that can be tailored by working with knowledgeable practitioners and compounding pharmacists. There is new, evolving knowledge and understanding of different effects of LDN at different dosing levels.
Typically the side effects experienced with LDN are very minimal and temporary, due to the initial effects of LDN on the immune system. Some may notice a little nausea or queasiness and some may have their sleep disturbed or have vivid dreams. These effects can be lessened by starting with lower doses, and normally are short lived and subside fairly early during treatment.
Some patients may experience negative effects later on during LDN therapy with a dosage increase; when the practitioner is attempting to achieve a better outcome than the current dose. This typically is indicator that the dosage adjustment is excessive at this point in the therapy, and a lower dose should be used.
As the most successful dosing for an individual person can vary, the duration of LDN therapy necessary for positive results has many variables and can vary from literally just days to many months. Achieving the proper dosage is the most significant factor in the successful clinical outcomes for any patient for any health condition.
Once again, a knowledgeable and experienced practitioner and compounding pharmacist can work together with each individual person to find their most successful path to improving their health.
We can share our experience for a couple of clinical conditions. Follow ups with current patients have revealed what we feel are pretty remarkable results; within one month roughly 70+% of those starting at lower doses of LDN are noting positive improvements in mental health (mood, anxiety) and energy.
Some individuals begin to experience some improvements in pain and inflammation within the first month or two. Achieving a greater relief in symptoms may be an element of further dosage adjustments and/or time.
Some literature has shown that conditions of chronic pain, gastrointestinal (crohns or ulcerative colitis), and dermatology may require 4 to 6 months of therapy or more, up to even a year, for more significant effects. Some noticeable positive changes in condition could gradually start occurring earlier in therapy.
- Vitamin D 5,000- 10,000U Units daily
- Probiotics, broad spectrum multi-strain
- Omega 3 Fish Oil
Additional (depending on condition):
- CBD Oil
- Vitamin C
Many prescribing practitioners and LDN researchers firmly believe that broad range of beneficial actions of LDN on the immune system and inflammation would warrant using LDN as a preventative measure. Particularly as most of the disease states that afflict our population today have an underlying inflammatory component. The thought process being “why wait” until the inflammatory process progresses to a problematic state and only then begin fighting the uphill battle in attempt to reverse it.
Currently there are over 1200 PubMed studies/research articles emphasizing the use of LDN in over 150 clinical conditions, with new research being published monthly. A couple of good websites containing links to much of this data include www.ldnresearchtrust.org and www.ldnscience.org
Even with the successes that many of these studies have proven, their successful outcomes are limited in scope as the scientific protocols for medication studies require a single dose for all participants in the study to compare to the placebo control group. This limits the potential positive outcomes for many of the participants in the study as the dosage strength utilized may not be their effective dose.