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Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

What Is Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?

Typical dosages of naltrexone help treat alcoholism and opioid addiction. When taken at a much smaller dose, naltrexone can provide different healing effects. Low-dose naltrexone can help with conditions such as:
  • Mental health
  • Pain
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Dermatology
  • PCOS

Naltrexone is a mu-opioid receptor antagonist. It negates the sedative effects of drugs such as heroin or other opioids by blocking one or more opioid receptors in the nervous system. Naltrexone also reduces the impact of withdrawal symptoms and reduces the user’s craving for opioids.

Commercially, naltrexone is available in 50 mg tablets. A compounding pharmacy must provide custom dosage amounts for lower doses. Compounding pharmacists have specialized training and will work with medical professionals to guide dosing protocols for various conditions.

History of Low-Dose Naltrexone

While working in addiction clinics, Bernard Bihari, MD, discovered how lower doses (4.5 mg) of naltrexone can have benefits. This dose is just under 1/10th of the standard dosage (50mg) used to treat addiction.

He found that by intermittently blocking receptors with low doses of naltrexone, the receptor sites began to restore and even increase the production of endorphins. Training the body to utilize its natural endorphins can naturally relieve pain, enhance the sense of well-being, assist with weight loss, and regulate the immune system.

LDN Compounded Forms

Capsules

Compounded in appropriate doses for titration and maintenance. They are easy to swallow and do not have a taste.

Capsules are usually fast-acting and easy to absorb.

Liquid

Allows for slow titration to optimal dose.

A liquid form of medicine is physically easier to swallow and taste.

Sublingual Drops

For patients with swallowing difficulties or GI side effects from liquid medication forms.

These drops are taken beneath the tongue.

Topical Cream

Can be helpful when administering to children.

We have applicators that will dispense the exact amount of cream needed.

Side Effects of Low Dose Naltrexone

LDN can take some time to show results, but most patients can tolerate LDN well. Before starting LDN, the patient must first review the current medication and supplements they are taking. A doctor will help make the proper modifications.

Side effects are usually short-term and do not stick around for too long. Some common side effects may include:
  • Sleep disturbances/vivid dreams
  • Gastrointestinal upset, nausea
  • Mild headache
  • Mild agitation

Titrating doses over time will help avoid side effects. 

How Does LDN Help Mental Health?

Preliminary studies have shown LDN to positively affect various mental health conditions.

Though more studies are necessary, the early findings regarding LDN and mental health are promising. Here are a few conditions LDN may help with.

LDN for Depression

LDN functions as a dopaminergic drug. It can stimulate the body into releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine and create a more positive mental feeling. Participants in studies see reduced scores in various depression measuring scales. 

In a study following 12 subjects with depression, LDN reduced their scores on various depression measuring scales.

LDN for Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

LDN’s ability to block opioid receptors may reduce dissociative symptoms in patients with PTSD.

Patients taking 2-6 mg of naltrexone per day can experience positive and lasting effects. This helps mitigate dissociative episodes in the patient.

LDN for Borderline Personality Disorder

People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) may struggle to function in society due to their self-image and difficulty managing emotions and behaviors.

Naltrexone is associated with improvement in BPD in a dose-dependent manner. Some patients may require differing dosages to see results. By regulating the body’s opioid system, LDN can reduce BPD symptoms.

Does LDN Help with Pain?

Pain symptoms can be debilitating to patients. Those who have experienced bodily injuries due to accidents or illness may need additional help to manage their pain. Opioids are often used to reduce extreme pain, but they can potentially lead to addiction.

LDN is a nonopioid alternative that actually blocks mu-opioid receptors in the body. By doing so, LDN keeps patients from developing an addiction.

LDN for Chronic Pain

Glial cells help hold nerve cells in place and aid their everyday functions. When irritated, glial cells can trigger inflammation. Neurons are exposed to this inflammation and can be damaged or destroyed.

LDN works as an inhibitor of glial cells. LDN acts as an anti-inflammatory agent by deactivating glial cells and reducing pain.

LDN for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a whole-body pain disorder commonly referred to as “central sensitivity syndrome.” People who suffer from this illness may have a difficult time finding relief. 

For many patients, LDN alleviates the pain symptoms. LDN reduces pain in people with fibromyalgia by reducing inflammation and increasing endorphins.

Does LDN Help with Autoimmune Conditions?

Autoimmune disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis, can cause the body to hurt itself. When the immune system is triggered, the antibodies it sends begin to attack and damage its own tissue rather than fight off disease.

Clinical reports state that LDN reduces fatigue and improves overall health with few side effects. This benefits patients with autoimmune conditions greatly. 

LDN for Crohn’s disease

The endogenous opioid system plays a role in inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease.

By inhibiting opioid receptors, LDN can relieve and reduce the symptoms of this disease. Additionally, LDN may pose anti-inflammatory benefits for symptoms in the bowel.

LDN for Weight Loss

Weight loss is a function of many aspects of the body, including:

  • Calorie intake
  • Calorie burning
  • Hormones
  • Metabolism
  • And more

LDN can assist patients in their weight loss journey. However, it is not a miracle solution for weight loss. Patients will still need to exercise and eat the appropriate amounts.

LDN helps by suppressing appetite, increasing endorphins, and reducing inflammation.

LDN for Dermatology

Opioid receptors are also found on the skin. They play a role in cell proliferation, migration, and adhesion. As a mu-opioid antagonist, LDN may be able to affect the skin. 

Naltrexone affects inflammation, cell adhesion, and keratinocyte proliferation and migration. This could give LDN a place in dermatology treatment regimens.

Though more research is needed, current data suggest that naltrexone can be a part of treatment plans for inflammatory and acantholytic skin diseases that are not responding to other treatments.

LDN for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Women who suffer from PCOS may struggle to find success with typical medications. Studies have shown LDN may be a possible option.

Increased levels of insulin are associated with PCOS in women. Naltrexone reduces appetite and modulates the release of insulinThis may help with symptoms deriving from PCOS.

Is LDN Right for You?

LDN has many uses for pain, mental health, and autoimmune diseases. For lower doses of naltrexone, a compounding pharmacy is necessary.

ClearSpring Pharmacy is a local community pharmacy capable of compounding the exact dosages of naltrexone needed. We can help you navigate the proper use of naltrexone to meet your needs. 

Call our Littleton or Denver location today. Or fill out our contact form, and we will get back to you with a prompt response!

You can also send us a text:
Littleton: 303-707-1500
Cherry Creek: 303-333-2010

Whether you send a message or give us a call, we make it easy to get in touch!

Low-Dose Naltrexone

 

Naltrexone is a pure mu receptor antagonist, competing with synthetic opioid medications as well as endogenous endorphins to bind to MU opioid receptors. Naltrexone was approved by the FDA to treat alcohol and opiate dependence. It is also formulated in combination with some opiates to deter abuse of pain medications. Standard daily dosages for these approved uses range from 50 to 100mg daily.

 

There are countless uses for Low-Dose Naltrexone: ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Crohn’s Disease, CREST syndrome, Liver Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Breast Cancer and many more.  Please ask our pharmacist for more details!

 

Gelatin capsules are the best formulation to deliver Low-Dose Naltrexone

-preservative free

-dye free

-plant-derived filler

-vegetable-based capsules available

 

We are happy to provide more info on Low-Dose Naltrexone and how it might help you. You’re welcome to come into our Cherry Creek and Highlands Ranch location and chat with our pharmacists at any time!