What is Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?
Naltrexone is a drug introduced in 1984 to reverse the effects of an opioid drug overdose.
50-100mg dosages were used to rescue patients in an overdose or drug abuse situation.
In the 1990s, doctors began using much lower doses (1.5-4.5mg) for the purposes of normalizing the Immune System, Inflammatory, and Neurological disorders.
What conditions are normally treated with LDN?
Doctors from all over the world have been reporting extremely positive responses for patients with a variety of medical problems.
This list represents just a few of the most commonly treated conditions:
- Long COVID-19
- Chronic Fatigue
- Irritable Bowel
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Hashimoto’s and Graves Auto-immune Thyroiditis
- Inflammatory Diseases of joints and of the Nervous System
- Brain Inflammation (neuro-inflammation)
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Chronic Pain Syndromes
How does LDN work?
LDN Therapy has several mechanisms of action which work together to produce benefits for patients. As a result, most experts see significant improvement in over 80% of treated patients.
- LDN increases the secretion of naturally occurring Endorphins (“feel good, runner’s high”). Endorphins relieve pain, give a happy feeling, and reduce inflammation.
- LDN increases the release of the Opioid Growth Factor, which works powerfully to reduce inflammation, auto-immune responses, and tumor cell growth.
- LDN reduces inflammatory immune cell signaling (Toll-like Receptor-4). When these immune “lookout cells” get excited, they signal the immune system to get overly busy, which can cause or worsen auto-immune and inflammatory responses. These “lookout cells” are located all over the body, including the gut and the brain.
- LDN calms glial cells in the nervous system. Glial cells make up over 70% of the immune system and can either protect nerve pathways or cause inflammation of nerves. So we want our glial cells to remain in a calm and protective mode!
- LDN increases dopamine levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and rewarded, gives us energy, and helps our brain solve problems. Conversely, when dopamine is low, we feel depressed.
What are the side effects of LDN?
- We expect very few side effects from this therapy. However, some patients will experience vivid dreams during the first few days of LDN.
- A few patients have reported a single-day episode of headaches or body aches, but these are not expected.
- LDN therapy frequently causes thyroid medication to work more effectively in the body. Therefore, we have our thyroid patients watch for the development of symptoms of high thyroid. Then, if needed, they work with their providers to reduce their daily thyroid dosage to a more appropriate level.
- If a patient is on opioid medications for chronic pain, ultra-low-dose naltrexone options will need to be discussed.
- Parkinson’s patients may rarely require a medication dosage adjustment after a few months of LDN.
How long does it take to see desired effects?
The response time of patients on LDN therapy varies by individual and type of medical condition. Most of our patients see significant improvement within the first two months. However, experts agree that around 3 to 6 months is average, and some have reported up to 7 to 12 months of therapy may be required to see maximum benefit.
What is the recommended dosage?
Experienced providers recommend starting doses ranging from 0.5mg-1.5mg, then increase the daily dose in small weekly increments. When an optimal response is achieved, patients are instructed to consider that as a maintenance dose, usually between 2.5 and 4.5mg/day.
What else can I do to help LDN therapy work well?
Many factors are known to contribute to the development of auto-immune and inflammatory diseases.