LOW DOSE NALTREXONE (LDN)
The statements below have not been evaluated by the FDA.
What is Low Dose Naltrexone?
Naltrexone was first synthesized in 1963 and was initially developed to treat addiction to opioids and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of addiction to drugs such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone in 1984 as a 50mg dose.
In 1985, Bernard Bihari, MD, a physician with a clinical practice in New York City, discovered the effects of a much lower dose of naltrexone-1.5mg-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 Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). In addition, people who had an autoimmune disease (such as lupus) often showed prompt control of disease activity while taking LDN.
Frequently Asked Questions About Low Dose Naltrexone
Naltrexone or Naltrexone HCL is available in 50 mg doses – however, low-dose naltrexone (LDN) usually comes in 4.5 mg or lower. Pharmacists compound naltrexone powder depending on the prescription.
LDN comes in tablets, capsules, troches or lozenges, transdermal creams, oral liquids, and more.
How Do I Find a Doctor Who is Knowledgeable about LDN?
Who Can Benefit from Low Dose Naltrexone?
Today, when we discuss low dose naltrexone we mean doses that are a 10th or less of the standard dose of Naltrexone. Most of the research studies have used 4.5mg per day. Doses range from 0.001mg – 16mg in clinical practice.
As the off-label use of LDN has gained popularity, it has been widely accepted as an alternative medicine option and is used to treat various medical conditions. These off-label conditions include:
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
LDN is well tolerated in most patients.
Anecdotal side effects have been reported and include:
Common: Sleep disturbances, Mild headache, Mild agitation, Nausea/GI effects , Hyperthyroidism in Hashimoto’s patients
Uncommon: Flu-like symptoms, Rash, Herxheimer reactions (elevated temperature), Dizziness, Increased fatigue or spasticity (Parkinson’s)
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, 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 dependent on 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.
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