Increasing evidence supports the use of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for a variety of conditions such as autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Crohn’s disease, other gastrointestinal symptoms, chronic inflammation, mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, and more.
Many patients who take LDN report benefits such as increased joint mobility, improved workout recovery, a general sense of well-being, improved mental clarity, regular well-formed bowel movements, and a decrease in common viruses, such as colds. Its benefits are in part due to its immune modulating activity and upregulation of opioid activity as well as other effects on brain chemistry and the gut.
Naltrexone was originally approved by the FDA at higher doses for use in treating alcohol and opiate addiction, however, when compounded into low doses (1.5-4.5 mg daily), LDN has been shown to increase endogenous opioids which then can enhance mood and modulate the immune system. Chronic inflammation is a characteristic of many chronic diseases and therefore the positive effects LDN has on inflammation may be beneficial for a vast array of conditions. Studies have shown benefit in conditions such as Crohn’s disease, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, lupus, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. LDN is also prescribed to inhibit cell growth in certain cancers. In addition, we have seen improvement in several women’s health conditions including, interstitial cystitis and vulvodynia.
Low Dose Naltrexone therapy is available by prescription only and requires a compounding pharmacy to prepare it. The side effect profile is minimal with common reports of vivid dreams and interrupted sleep during the initial adjustment. LDN is compatible with most prescription medications except for narcotics. Caution is taken with Hashimoto’s patients as LDN can lead to a prompt decrease in the autoimmune antibodies and may require a decrease in thyroid replacement medication as the body works more effectively. LDN therapy is provided by Dr. Elizabeth Jensen.