Low-Dose-Naltrexone (LDN) has been demonstrated to reduce symptoms in many conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease and complex regional pain syndrome. LDN also operates as a novel anti-inflammatory agent on the central nervous system with actions on the microglial cells. This is a separate function than the better known activity of naltrexone on opioid receptors.
Naltrexone used in very low doses has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. It also have a positive effect on the immune system that may explain its benefit in autoimmune and cancer treatment protocols.
Naltrexone was first synthesized in 1963 as a drug that would compete for opioid receptors. While structurally and functionally similar to the opioid antagonist naloxone it has greater oral bioavailability and a longer half-life. Naltrexone was FDA approved in 1984 for treatment of opioid addiction. Much higher doses are used for this type of treatment; however along the way lower doses were shown to help patients in many other ways. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) refers to a daily dose that is approximately 1/10th of the typical opioid addition treatment dose. At these lower doses naltrexone exhibits a paradoxical analgesic and anti-inflammatory action.
Naltrexone exerts its effects via two distinct receptor mechanisms, one being the mu-opioid receptor and the other a Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) receptor. The TLR4 are found on macrophages. Microglia cells have these receptors on neural tissue. By suppressing microglia activation, LDN reduces the production of reactive oxygen species (Free Radicals) and other neuro-excitatory and neurotoxic chemicals. This in turn suppresses TNF-alpha, IL-6, MCP-1 and other inflammatory agents in peripheral macrophages. There are many beneficial uses of LDN in the treatment of human disease spanning the spectrum of autoimmune, chronic pain states, cancer, and even weigh loss (obesity).
There is growing recognition in the scientific community that autoimmune (AI) diseases result from immunodeficiency and a dysfunctional immune system, which disturbs the ability of the immune system to distinguish "self" from "non-self". There are several causes or triggers for AI. There are many conventional treatments depending on the “particular diagnosis you get”. But non-conventional healthcare providers are quickly realizing the umbrella disorder of autoimmune holds many different ‘’diseases’’ such as Rheumatism, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and many others. The normalization of the immune system induced by low dose naltrexone (LDN) makes it an obvious candidate for a treatment plan in many of these diseases.
Patients over the recent years with diagnoses such as systemic lupus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Behcet's syndrome, Wegener's granulomatosis, bullous pemphigoid, psoriasis, and Crohn's disease have all benefited by the use of LDN in their treatment protocols.
Because LDN clearly halts progression in multiple sclerosis, its use has been more recently extended to other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) whose etiology remains unknown but for which there is suggestive evidence of a possible autoimmune mechanism.
In addition, people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (FMCFS) have made marked improvement using naltrexone. Hashimoto patient have noticed their anti-TPO titers have dropped while on LDN. There are many reasons to implement LDN from immune enhancement, to cancer fighting protocols to weight loss and weight management protocols. It has even shown benefit in chronic Lyme disease disorders. The low cost of this therapy and the ease of tolerance with very low side-effect profiles make this an ideal choice in therapy that has a very safe track record and is a very good alternative to other therapies costing thousands of dollars more per year.
The providers and the pharmacists at Carolina Holistic Medicine and Carolina Compounding Pharmacy and Health Center are expert at administration and monitoring of LDN therapy.