What Is Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?
Naltrexone is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved medication used to treat alcoholism and opioid addiction. It is a mu-opioid receptor antagonist, which means it blocks one or more opioid receptors in our nervous system. This prevents the body from experiencing the “high” and sedative effects of drugs such as heroin or other opioids. Naltrexone looks to reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms and reduces the user’s craving for opioids.
While naltrexone can help treat opioid and alcohol addiction, low doses of naltrexone have also been shown to have positive effects. While working in addiction clinics, Bernard Bihari, MD, discovered how lower doses (4.5 mg) of naltrexone can have benefits. This is just under 1/10th of the standard dosage (50mg) used to treat addiction. As we know, naltrexone blocks opioid receptors by binding to them. By intermittently blocking receptors with low doses of naltrexone, the receptor sites began to restore and even increase the production of endorphins. By training the body to utilize its own natural endorphins, the body is able to naturally relieve pain, enhance sense of well-being, and regulate the immune system. Before starting low dose naltrexone (LDN), the patient must first have a full review of the current medication and supplements they are taking. Modifications may need to be made.