Low dose Naltrexone (LDN) for chronic pain and autoimmunity

Outsmart Your Pain | Lisa Barr MDLDN is currently being studied in patients with various types of chronic pain including migraines, fibromyalgia, neuropathy as well as many other chronic pain states, various types of cancers, and autoimmune related disorders. While these studies are underway, LDN is being used widely in the U.S. for a variety of pain related disorders and autoimmune conditions.

Current studies show that LDN is a safe, cost effective yet effective treatment for chronic pain and autoimmunity. It is believed that LDN works in the brain by reducing pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are known to inflame and sensitize various tissues that can cause pain. By down regulating inflammation in the nervous system, LDN reduces pain, improves fatigue, sleep, and mood as well as physical function.

LDN as opposed to high dose Naltrexone is still considered investigational with the FDA. High dose Naltrexone (50 mg), on the other hand, has been FDA approved for the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse/addiction and withdrawal for many years. LDN is generic and is a cost effective TX. LDN does have to be compounded at a special pharmacy as it is currently only available at regular pharmacies in the 50 mg dose. While higher dose Naltrexone has been used for many years to treat various forms of addiction, there is currently no stigma of addiction associated with the use of LDN. The quoted price of compounded LDN runs around $50  per month.

LDN has also been shown in various cancer studies to possibly effect immune function by impacting gene expression. It has also been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of brain and nervous system disorders including MS, ALS, and Parkinson’s. LDN is a prescription medication but is not addicting. It should be used with caution in patients currently taking opioids,  including Tramadol. LDN blocks opioid receptors throughout the body for three to four to five hours. To avoid drug interactions, opioid pain RX should be discontinued or reduced approximately one week before starting LDN. This will be assessed on an individual basis.

The starting dose is 0.5 to 1.0 mg at bedtime. LDN is gradually increased up to a target dose of 4.0  – 4.5 mg at bedtime. You will be started on 1.0 mg at bedtime and every thirty days you will increase by 1.0 mg until you feel relief up to a maximum dose 4.0 mg nightly.

Side effects of LDN are very rare. People sometimes report having vivid dreams in the first week or two of treatment. Very rare side effects include fatigue, anxiety, and dizziness. Side effects are much more common at the higher doses (greater than 10 times the LDN dose) used to treat addiction and are rarely seen with typical LDN dosages. People with organ transplants and those who are immunosuppressive drugs may want to avoid LDN. Additionally, people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis should also use LDN with caution as they may have to adjust their thyroid supplement often in the early stage of treatment.

Compounding Pharmacies:

  1. Pharmacy Innovations (757) 934-0533
  2. Hague Pharmacy at CHKD (757) 622-0222
  3. Lawerence Pharmacy is Chesapeake (757) 487-3458
By |2020-08-21T10:00:13-04:00July 28th, 2020|Categories: Outsmart Your Pain|Tags: |0 Comments