Low dose naltrexone (LDN) is a promising treatment for patients suffering from a variety of illnesses. Naltrexone was originally developed decades ago to treat drug addiction. However, it has been found that in very small doses it has positive effects on the body’s immune system and pain response. Instead of dosing at 50-100mg per day, the dose of 3-4.5mg per day can be given, and is commonly referred to as LDN.
Practitioners in the fields of holistic or integrative medicine have been prescribing LDN for many years. Reports abound from patients who have had clear benefits. Since it is a medication that is already available in a generic form, there has never been a big push from the pharmaceutical companies to do formal clinical trials using the lower dosage. So for the most part LDN has never gained much attention. However, things are starting to change. Patients around the world who have similar health conditions are now able to connect through the internet and share their stories. They have higher expectations now, and they would like more from their health providers than what they are currently getting, which often does not include thinking outside of the box.
There was a new summary article published this year by Stanford University researchers discussing the potential for LDN as a treatment for many inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. We have good articles published showing definite benefit from LDN in patients with Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia. One study shows improvement in quality of life for patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis. Another published article is a case report of response to LDN in patients with chronic regional pain syndrome (or RSD).
I wrote my first prescription for LDN back in 2008, long before I had considered it for more broad usage. Since then I have seen patients achieve dramatic results in a short period of time using LDN as part of a comprehensive wellness program. LDN is easily obtained by prescription from a compounding pharmacy, it is very inexpensive, and it has little to no side effects. This is great news for patients, and for doctors it is an exciting time to be practicing in the field of integrative holistic medicine.