Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
FDA-approved naltrexone, in a low dose, can normalize the immune system — helping those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and central nervous system disorders.
- Low-dose naltrexone holds great promise for the millions of people worldwide with autoimmune diseases or central nervous system disorders or who face deadly cancer.
- In the developing world, LDN could provide the first low-cost, easy to administer, and side-effect-free therapy for HIV/AIDS.
Naltrexone itself was approved by the FDA in 1984 in a 50mg dose for the purpose of helping heroin or opium addicts, by blocking the effect of such drugs. By blocking opioid receptors, naltrexone also blocks the reception of the opioid hormones that our brain and adrenal glands produce: beta-endorphin and metenkephalin. Many body tissues have receptors for these endorphins and enkephalins, including virtually every cell of the body’s immune system.
In 1985, Bernard Bihari, MD, a physician with a clinical practice in New York City, discovered the effects of a much smaller dose of naltrexone (approximately 3mg once a day) on the body’s immune system. He found that this low dose, taken at bedtime, was able to enhance a patient’s response to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. [Note: Subsequently, the optimal adult dosage of LDN has been found to be 4.5mg.]
In the mid-1990’s, Dr. Bihari found that patients in his practice with cancer (such as lymphoma or pancreatic cancer) could benefit, in some cases dramatically, from LDN. In addition, people who had an autoimmune disease (such as lupus) often showed prompt control of disease activity while taking LDN.
Keep reading to find how LDN works, what diseases it has been effective with, and how to find a reliable compounding pharmacy for LDN.
When will Low Dose Naltrexone be FDA Approved?
Although naltrexone itself is an FDA-approved drug, the varied uses of LDN still await application to the FDA after related scientific clinical trials.
The FDA approved naltrexone at the 50mg dosage in 1984. LDN (in the 3mg or 4.5mg dosage) has not yet been submitted for approval because the prospective clinical trials that are required for FDA approval need to be funded at the cost of many millions of dollars.
The successful results of the first US medical center research on LDN, an open-label trial that tested the use of LDN in Crohn’s disease (details here), was presented in May 2006 by Professor Jill Smith of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. The National Institutes of Health has granted $500,000 for Dr. Smith’s group to continue the study as a larger placebo-controlled scientific trial of LDN in Crohn’s disease.
All physicians understand that appropriate off-label use of an already FDA-approved medication such as naltrexone is perfectly ethical and legal. Because naltrexone itself has already passed animal toxicity studies, one could expect that once testing is able to begin, LDN could complete its clinical trials in humans and receive FDA approval for one or more uses within two to four years.
Because LDN blocks opioid receptors throughout the body for three or four hours, people using medicine that is an opioid agonist, i.e. narcotic medication — such as Ultram (tramadol), morphine, dextromethorphan, Percocet, Duragesic patch or codeine-containing medication — should not take LDN until such medicine is completely out of one’s system. Patients who have become dependant on the daily use of narcotic-containing pain medication may require 10 days to 2 weeks of slowly weaning off of such drugs entirely (while first substituting full doses of non-narcotic pain medications) before being able to begin LDN safely.
Those patients who are taking thyroid hormone replacement for a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with hypothyroidism ought to begin LDN at the lowest range (1.5mg for an adult). Be aware that LDN may lead to a prompt decrease in the autoimmune disorder, which then may require a rapid reduction in the dose of thyroid hormone replacement in order to avoid symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Full-dose naltrexone (50mg) carries a cautionary warning against its use in those with liver disease. This warning was placed because of adverse liver effects that were found in experiments involving 300mg daily. The 50mg dose does not apparently produce impairment of liver function nor, of course, do the much smaller 3mg and 4.5mg doses.
People who have received organ transplants and who therefore are taking immunosuppressive medication on a permanent basis are cautioned against the use of LDN because it may act to counter the effect of those medications.
What can you do?
- If you are suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, or an autoimmune disease, LDN could help. In AIDS and cancer therapy, LDN is often used in conjunction with other medications.
- Anyone with cancer or a pre-cancerous condition should consider LDN. Many use LDN as a preventive treatment. Post-treatment, others have been using LDN to prevent a recurrence of their cancer. LDN has been shown in many cases to work with virtually incurable cancers such as neuroblastoma, multiple myeloma, and pancreatic cancer.
- As an AIDS drug, LDN leads to far fewer side effects than the standard “AIDS cocktail.” When used in conjunction with HAART therapies, LDN can boost T-cell populations, prevent disfiguring lipodystrophy, and lower rates of treatment failure.
- Do not be afraid to approach your doctors — physicians today are increasingly open to learning about new therapies in development. Tell your doctors about this website, or print out and hand them the information, and let them weigh the evidence.
Contact us to speak to our team about Low Dose Naltrexone and to help you find a physician in your area to see if this is right for you.
Conditions Low Dose Naltrexone Has Been Effective For:
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Polio Syndrome
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS)
- Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
- Transverse Myelitis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Behcet’s Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- CREST syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
- Nephrotic Syndrome
- Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS)
- Systemic Lupus (SLE)
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Wegener’s Granulomatosis
- Bladder Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Colon & Rectal Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell)
- Lymphocytic Leukemia (chronic)
- Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s)
- Malignant Melanoma
- Multiple Myeloma
- Ovarian Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Prostate Cancer (untreated)
- Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Throat Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
- Common Colds (URI’s)
- Emphysema (COPD)
- Depression (Major; and Bipolar)
- Lyme Disease (LATE Stage)