How do I take Low Dose Naltrexone?
Start 1 capsule at bedtime for 10 days, then increase to 2 for 10 days, then increase to 3 daily.
What is Low Dose Naltrexone’s effect on the immune system?
Naltrexone binds to opioid receptors–which are found all over the body including immune cells. In doing so, it displaces the endorphins which would normally stay bound to these receptors. By binding to the opioid receptors, it displaces the body’s naturally produced Opioid Growth Factor. When using naltrexone at a low dose (hence LDN), the binding is temporary and causes the body to then up-regulate or increase the opioid receptors, thereby restoring the endorphin system and balancing the immune system.
Can I take Low dose Naltrexone if I have a compromised immune system?
Yes! Studies have shown that LDN is not only safe to take for individuals with a compromised immune system, but that it may actually help to improve the ability of the immune system to function. Individuals with autoimmune diseases or compromised immune systems typically have lower levels of endorphins than those without autoimmunity or a lowered immune response. Due to the increase of endorphins triggered by Low Dose Naltrexone, we believe that LDN is a safe and possibly helpful therapy for these individuals.
What happens if I have a hard time tolerating LDN?
If you are having a hard time tolerating LDN, or fear you may as you begin your treatment, you may consider a slower ramp-up period or a lower daily dosage.
Is Low Dose Naltrexone safe for everyone to use?
In general, Low Dose Naltrexone should not be used by anyone taking opioids, such as Codeine, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, Meperidine, Methadone, Morphine, Oxycodone, or Oxycontin. Because Naltrexone and prescription opioids bind to the opioid receptors, they can render one another ineffective–or worse, cause opioid withdrawal syndrome. LDN should be avoided in patients with significantly impaired kidney or liver function.
If you are on thyroid medication, you may need to monitor your thyroid levels more closely as you start LDN. If you develop symptoms of hyperthyroidism while taking LDN, such as heart racing, increased anxiety, restlessness, or trouble sleeping, please stop LDN and talk to your doctor who prescribes your thyroid medication.
Other conditions that require a modified protocol or require further consideration prior to use include:
- Lyme Disease or other Chronic Infections (EBV, CMS, Bebesosis, Borellia, etc.)
- Mast Cell Activation Syndrome/Disease (MCAS/MCAD)
- Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
- Multiple chemical sensitivities or drug allergies (3 or more)
- Mold or black mold illness or exposure
- Mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia)
What do I do if I experience side effects from Low Dose Naltrexone?
Most LDN side effects can easily be remedied/minimized by simply adjusting the dose. This is largely why new LDN patients start at a lower dosage and a slow ramp up to the prescribed dose.
If, for any reason, 1.5mg still causes unwanted side effects, you do have the option of opening up the capsule and trying your best to estimate a half or a quarter of a capsule; you can either ingest the powder directly, or mix with a small amount of water and then drink it. You would need to continue to do this until you are able to tolerate a full capsule.
Another option is to take a 1.5mg capsule every other day, or every third day, and increase the frequency slowly. Changing the time of day the LDN is taken can also help; if so, you may consider taking LDN in the morning or afternoon to help reduce some common side effects, such as sleep disturbance.
What dose of Naltrexone will I receive?
The most widely studied LDN dose is 4.5mg, so the dose we commonly prescribe consists of three 1.5mg capsules per day. Our typical ramp-up process is to start with one 1.5mg capsule per day for 10 days, increase to two 1.5mg capsules per day for another 10 days, then increase to three 1.5mg capsules per day, as tolerated. However, actual dosage will be determined by a licensed medical professional after taking into account multiple factors, including medical history, drug interactions and age of patient.
What are ways I can monitor my response to Low Dose Naltrexone?
In the short term, people often notice an improvement or reduction of symptoms related to inflammation and rampant oxidative stress. These symptoms will vary from person to person, but can include chronic flatulence, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, headache, joint pain, brain fog, muscle pain, fatigue, unexplained weight gain, lower back pain, skin issues/rashes, excessive mucus production, seasonal allergies, food sensitivities, trouble falling asleep, or trouble staying asleep.
How long will I need to take Low Dose Naltrexone?
To derive the biggest benefit from LDN studies indicate it should be taken over an extended period. The longer a patient takes LDN, the better it has been shown to “push back” diseases of aging, according to several research studies in both humans and lab animals.
Some benefits from LDN, such as increased energy and sleep quality and decreased pain, are realized relatively quickly, while others, such as cancer or heart disease reduction, may never be “felt” (i.e. you won’t know that tumors or blocked arteries have been prevented if they never develop).
Is Low Dose Naltrexone approved by the FDA for longevity benefits?
The short answer is “No.”
Naltrexone is FDA approved for obesity and the treatment of opioid and alcohol addiction- also known as the on-label indication. However, like many medications, naltrexone is used off-label for conditions such as Hashimoto’s, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, PCOS, Type 2 Diabetes, Depression, anxiety, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, MCAS/MCAD, ADHD, and many symptoms and conditions. Like with any medication, once the FDA has approved a medication for one use, a medical doctor can prescribe it in any way they see fit for their patient.