Naltrexone was originally made in 1984 to treat opioid overdoses – heroin and opioid pain medications – at doses of 50 – 100mg. Dr Bihari of New York discovered that naltrexone at much lower doses (less than 5mg) had beneficial effects for those with autoimmunity, cancer, and HIV.
How it Works
LDN works by blocking opioid receptors. Endorphins are like the body’s opioids. By taking LDN at night it blocks the opioid receptors and the body then tries to overcome this blockade by producing more endorphins. This causes the body to have an increase in endorphins overall which thus acts to strengthen the immune system. It is not know how endorphins modulate the immune system or why they are decreased in patients with autoimmunity, but studies have shown anti-inflammatory benefits and a decrease in Chrons’, Multiple Sclerosis, and fibromyalgia symptoms in patients who were treated with LDN.
LDN has had success in treating the following conditions:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 2. rheumatoid arthritis 3. lupus 4. Chron’s 5. Ulcerative Colitis 6. Multiple Sclerosis 7. Fibromyalgia 8. Chronic fatigue syndrome 9. celiac 10. psoriasis 11. Sjogren’s 12. autism 13. scleroderma
How to Take Low-Dose Naltrexone
The therapeutic dose of low-dose Naltrexone for autoimmune conditions is typically somewhere between 1.5mg – 4.5mg. I start patients on a dose of 1.5 mg to take for two weeks, then increase the dose to 3 mg, and after another two weeks we increase the dose to 4.5 mg.
It is best if you take LDN at 9pm. The idea is that taking it at this time allows for the medication to reach peak effectiveness at 4am, right when your endorphin levels should be highest. The
LDN will then partially block your opioid receptors all at one time very quickly, and then release. This allows for a surge in endorphins, and subsequent modulation of your immune system.
LDN is not yet approved by the FDA for autoimmune diseases, so it is not commercially available. For that reason, you will need to have a compounding pharmacy fill your prescription. It is best to work with a compounding pharmacy who is familiar with making LDN to ensure that they are not compounding a slow release formula, and that they do not add calcium carbonate as a filler (which can slow the absorption of the medication).