How did a drug used to treat opioid addiction become a potential breakthrough medication for managing symptoms of over 15 different conditions? Read on for the interesting story and everything else you need to know about low-dose naltrexone (LDN).
What is Naltrexone and What Makes Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) So Special?
Originally, naltrexone came to market as a drug used to treat heroin and opioid addiction. Naltrexone works by blocking opioid receptors throughout the body so that heroin and other opioids can’t latch onto them. Without making contact with the opioid receptors, opioids can’t produce the feeling of getting “high.”
Naltrexone has been around for decades. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved naltrexone back in 1984.
Not until years later did a doctor discover that a much lower dose of naltrexone (~1/10th the typical treatment dose) had even more potential benefits for patients with HIV, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
What are the Potential Benefits of Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?
Both patients and health care providers are excited about the potential uses of LDN. Based on what experts know so far, these are a few of the benefits of LDN:
LDN has anti-inflammatory effects.
At very low dosages, naltrexone can relieve pain and inflammation. LDN has been used to treat chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
LDN is relatively low cost.
LDN is relatively inexpensive. This is great for patients since insurance companies do not cover the cost of LDN.
LDN causes minimal side effects.
In general, side effects from LDN are mild, and severe side effects are uncommon. In research studies, one of most common side effects reported was vivid dreams. Other side effects may include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, and/or fatigue. Usually side effects disappear quickly, but rarely, they may last several weeks to months.
LDN has no known abuse potential.
Unlike some other anti-abuse drugs, health care providers have not seen dependence, tolerance, misuse, or abuse of LDN so far. Also, it seems that when LDN therapy is stopped, withdrawal is not a concern.
What are the Risks of Low-Dose Naltrexone?
There are several advantages to LDN therapy, but LDN therapy presents a few challenges also.
It can be tricky to find the best dose.
Because clinical studies are still ongoing, the best LDN dose for treating certain conditions isn’t known yet. This means your health care provider may have to experiment with different doses until he or she finds the best dose for you.
There isn’t a lot of evidence about long-term safety.
Experts know a lot about full-dose naltrexone, but not as much about LDN. This is because large, long-lasting studies have not been conducted yet. Even though smaller studies and real-world experience suggest LDN is well-tolerated, the long-term safety is yet to be determined. To date, no serious concerns have been reported.
Patients may inappropriately create their own dosage forms.
Because LDN is not an FDA-approved dosage form, some patients try to “create” the low dose by splitting 50 mg naltrexone tablets into very small pieces. This leads to very inconsistent dosing and increases the risk of unintentional overdoses, side effects, and serious complications.
LDN should only be compounded by trained health care professionals like the knowledgeable pharmacists at The Compounding Center in Leesburg, VA!
What conditions can LDN be used to treat?
Experts don’t know everything about LDN yet since LDN research in still ongoing. However, LDN has been used in patients for years. These are just a few of the conditions for which LDN use has been tested in clinical trials:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Various types of cancer
- Lyme disease
- Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Dissociative disorder
How can I try Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?
While the knowledgeable pharmacists at The Compounding Center do our best to share with you the most accurate scientific information, we also understand that first-hand accounts from actual patients are also valuable.
On the LDN Research Trust website, you will find accounts of patients’ experiences LDN to manage their conditions. We encourage you to talk to your doctor about whether LDN might be appropriate for you to try.
If you live in any of the states we’re licensed in, our trained pharmacy staff will compound your specific LDN dose with a prescription from your doctor.
The Compounding Center in Leesburg prepares LDN as immediate-release capsule with no fillers or binders to interfere with the drug’s absorption. Plus, you can be sure we take your allergies and dietary concerns into consideration. We make sure our compounded LDN capsules are free of common allergens like gluten, lactose, and dyes.
We’ll even ship it to you if you can’t get to the store!
Give us a call to get a quote.
The Compounding Center
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