Low Dose Naltrexone

Have you heard of low dose naltrexone? Are you interested in learning more about how this prescription drug could help you manage your health condition? If so, contact your doctor to determine whether low dose naltrexone is a good option for you.

Years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of naltrexone to help aid in the recovery of opioid addiction. These days, low doses of naltrexone can be used to help regulate dysfunctions in the immune system and treat certain medical conditions. 

Compounding pharmacies are able to produce compounded dosages of low dose naltrexone to treat a wide variety of conditions. If you are interested in learning more about whether low dose naltrexone could benefit you, contact your physician to discuss your options. 

What Is Low Dose Naltrexone and How Does It Work?

LDN works by boosting endorphins, the peptides produced in the brain and adrenal glands that relieve pain. It modulates the immune system and enhances the sense of well-being. Research has shown that when LDN is taken at bedtime, it attaches to opioid receptors, temporarily blocking endorphin attachment. This signals the body to increase endorphin production, which helps orchestrate the activity of stem cells, macrophages and other immune cells. This leads researchers to believe that LDN may be critical in helping the body fight disease.

In these lower doses, LDN can bind to your brain’s endorphin receptors and last for up to six hours before wearing off. There is a wide range of different conditions that can be treated with low dose naltrexone, including any of the following:

  • Autoimmune cardiomyopathy
  • Diabetic myopathy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Eczema 
  • Psoriasis
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Diabetes mellitus type 1
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Epstein Barr virus
  • Vitiligo
  • HIV
  • Lyme disease
  • Certain types of cancers
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Kawasaki’s disease
  • Autism
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Lupus
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Emphysema
  • POEMS syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vasculitis
  • Endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injuries

These are just a few of the most common types of conditions that can be treated with low dose naltrexone. There are many other conditions that may benefit from naltrexone in low doses. You can speak with your physician about your medical issues to determine whether low dose naltrexone could improve your quality of life. 

Who Is a Good Candidate for Low Dose Naltrexone?

Patients suffering from mental health conditions, chronic pain, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and more may benefit from the use of low dose naltrexone. But that doesn’t mean everyone suffering from these conditions is a good candidate for LDN. 

For example, patients suffering from hepatitis or liver failure would not be good candidates for low dose naltrexone treatment. Individuals taking Wellbutrin, Suboxone, hydrocodone, morphine, Cymbalta, ibuprofen, or Methadone may also not be good candidates for LDN due to the high-risk drug interactions.

Low dose naltrexone can only be taken if prescribed by your physician. So if you are interested in learning more about whether you are a good candidate for LDN treatment, you can speak with your doctor or contact The Healthy Choice compounding pharmacy to discuss your needs.

Why Use Low Dose Naltrexone? 

Opioids are effective in reducing pain, but their use comes with a very high price for the patient: drug dependence. The opioid addiction crisis made global headlines as doctors scrambled to find an alternative to these harmful drugs. That’s where low dose Naltrexone comes to the rescue. 

LDN is not addictive like opioids and is not a steroid like prednisone either. Prednisone helps with inflammation, but steroid medications shut down your immune system and leave you vulnerable to infection, which can be very dangerous for anyone who already has an immune disorder.

In comparison, LDN works by balancing the immune system rather than suppressing it. LDN inhibits T Cell Growth Factor, which is responsible for increasing the T cell count, and thus inflammation, in the body. 

It’s the increased amount of T cells that leads to inflammation in people with a disorder like arthritis, which is why LDN has such a high success rate among the arthritic population. Plus, in addition to taking it orally, you can break open capsules and apply the contents directly to areas of pain, making low dose Naltrexone easy to use and area-specific.

LDN is also being investigated as a potential treatment for migraine headaches. People who suffer from migraines often exacerbate their symptoms by overusing medications and end up with a medication overuse headache, a painful cycle of migraines, over-medicating, then having an MOH repeatedly.

Incredibly, very small doses of LDN are needed to treat the pain. Lower doses work better than higher doses, hence, the term “low dose” Naltrexone. It can be compounded for customized dosing according to your doctor’s prescription at a special kind of pharmacy that provides a drug compounding service.

Compounding Pharmacies and Low Dose Naltrexone

The FDA has not approved low dose naltrexone treatment for anything other than substance abuse, including opioid addiction and alcoholism. But in lower doses, naltrexone could beneficial to patients suffering from many different medical conditions. 

Because the FDA has not approved naltrexone for off-label uses, the only way to obtain naltrexone in low doses is to get your prescription filled through a compounding pharmacy such as The Healthy Choice. Compounding pharmacies differ from standard pharmacies in that we have the ability to develop drugs that are designed to meet your specific needs. 

For example, if you were prescribed 2 mg of low dose naltrexone, you would need a compounding pharmacy to develop that specific dose of the drug, as naltrexone is normally available only in 50 mg tablets. Additionally, if you are unable to take pills orally, there are other options that may be available to you. 

We may be able to develop your LDN into sublingual drops, eye drops, creams, topical lotions, tablets, or even liquid form in addition to the traditional capsules. The price can vary, depending on the delivery method of your low dose naltrexone, but you can speak with your compounding pharmacist to determine which one is the best fit for you. 

Low Dose Naltrexone FAQ

The uses, benefits, and mechanisms of low dose naltrexone can be confusing. We understand there are specific questions you might have about how LDN could affect you, among other concerns. 

Below, we have answered some of the most common questions patients have had in regards to low dose naltrexone. You can also contact our compounding pharmacy directly to further discuss your individual needs. 

What are the side effects of low dose naltrexone?

The types of side effects you might experience when taking low dose naltrexone will vary depending on the type of health condition you are attempting to treat. However, some of the most common side effects of naltrexone include headache, loss of appetite, fatigue, constipation, and vivid dreams.

How does low dose naltrexone make you feel?

One of the benefits of low dose naltrexone is the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones of the body, and as your body produces more endorphins, your mood and quality of life can improve.

When you feel good, you may notice that symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress decrease. As a whole, low dose naltrexone should make you feel better on a day-to-day basis. 

How effective is low dose naltrexone?

An interventional pain management practice conducted a 16-patient study spanning up to 6 months and categorized patients into groups according to their level of response. A patient was considered an LDN responder, or LDN-R, if they reported pain relief of 50% or more. Remarkably, for those patients that did respond to LDN treatment, pain relief of about 77% was achieved, leading some to call low dose naltrexone “miraculous.”

While it appears to produce variable results in different people, medical researchers at Stanford published information on a study that focused on LDN’s effects on fibromyalgia patients. The researchers found that 60% in a placebo-controlled, blinded trial reported pain reductions of 30% or more. For those in debilitating pain, LDN does provide measurable pain relief and a drastic increase in patients’ quality of life.

Opioids are produced by different sites in the body, including the hypothalamus, adrenal gland, and pituitary gland. LDN acts as a modulator for the endogenous opioid hormonal system and has, therefore, been proven time and again to be very effective at treating opioid addiction.

Furthermore, using a data set that spanned over 10 years, Swedish researchers found that low dose naltrexone is effective in significantly reducing hospitalizations for patients with alcohol use disorder, whether it’s used by itself or alongside other drugs like Acamprosate or Disulfiram.

How long will I need to take low dose naltrexone before I see results? 

The effects of low dose Naltrexone can be felt almost immediately after taking it, and it has been reported that within two hours of taking the drug there is often a reduction in pain or other symptoms that have been plaguing the patient.

There is no set minimum or maximum time to take LDN. It may take a few days to a few weeks before the benefits of taking the drug begin, but this will depend on the individual, what is being treated, and how much is being taken, according to the National Institute of Health’s website.

So, if you are taking LDN for an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis or other conditions that create severe inflammation, it can take a month or longer before you experience any changes in your condition. 

However, for those taking LDN for conditions like Crohn’s Disease, patients usually report that they start to feel better after just a few days. Fatigue is reported in some patients, but most report the resulting pain reduction after taking LDN is worth the mild tiredness it sometimes creates.

What if my dosage is too low or too high? 

When you first start taking naltrexone, you won’t know how much of the medication you’ll need to take every day. The best thing to do is to keep track of how much you’re taking and, working with a qualified health professional, start with a dosing schedule that starts out low and gradually increases over time as your dose builds up and you feel positive effects.

The problem is, unlike most medications, there are no clinical trials that have set the standard for the right dosage of LDN for a clinician to prescribe. So it is impossible to know if you are taking the right amount or if you should take more except by the process of trial and error. 

For those using LDN for depression, start with the smallest dose possible and then gradually work your way up until you feel less depressed. Be honest with yourself about your condition and stop at the appropriate level, knowing this drug tends to work best at very small dosage levels.

Most experts agree with the patient consensus that each person is different and you have to experiment to find your optimal dose. To go through this process and finally discover what worked best for you, it’s suggested to start with 8.5 mg, try 10mg the next day, and then 12.5 mg the day after that, increasing in increments of 0.5 mg per day each time until you find the optimal amount.

Get in Touch with a Compounding Pharmacy Offering LDN

Do you think low dose naltrexone could help alleviate the symptoms of your health condition? If so, discuss your health concerns with your physician to determine whether you could benefit from the use of LDN. 

When you are ready to fill your prescription, contact The Healthy Choice compounding pharmacy to have your low dose naltrexone personalized to meet your needs. We can be reached by phone at 914-238-1700 or through the quick contact form at the bottom of this page.