Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) refers to daily dosages of naltrexone that are approximately 10% or less of the typical opioid addiction treatment dosage, commonly up to 5mg. These dosages are compounded at compounding pharmacies and require a prescription. At the low dosage level, naltrexone exhibits paradoxical properties, including analgesia and anti-inflammatory actions, which have not been reported at larger dosages. Studies have shown that it can be beneficial for people with conditions marked by immune system dysfunction.
LDN is known to be safe and well-tolerated and this is one exciting aspect of LDN. The side effect profile is minimal with most common reports of vivid dreams and interrupted sleep during the initial adjustment they develop rapidly and decrease over time. LDN is compatible with most prescription medications except for narcotics. Low-dose naltrexone blocks the effects of narcotics and could cause withdrawal symptoms, so it should be started only after those drugs are completely out of your system.
Low dose naltrexone may be beneficial for the treatment of various conditions including chronic pain and autoimmune illnesses. Naltrexone is typically used to treat opioid use disorder and alcohol abuse disorder. It is classified as an opioid antagonist blocking the effects of exogenously administered opioids. Naltrexone at low doses (0.5mg - 6mg) has been prescribed for its possible analgesia and anti-inflammatory effects, which have not been observed at higher doses.
However, this is naltrexone at regular strength. Studies have shown that lower doses of naltrexone have a variety of uses. Many people take low dose naltrexone for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and autoimmune diseases.
There is only one way to get low dose naltrexone: with a prescription. Low dose naltrexone is also not available through a traditional pharmacy. Large pharmaceutical companies do not produce naltrexone at lower doses. The regular dosage size used for addiction is around 50-100 mg. In order to get lower doses, your prescription must go to a compounding pharmacy. Compounding pharmacies can develop naltrexone at any dose necessary. Lower doses are usually around 2-5 mg depending on the needs of the patient. Your pharmacist can work with your doctor to determine the optimal dosage size.
Your doctor can give you more information about low dose naltrexone. If you were considering taking this medication for depression, pain, or autoimmune diseases, it may be worth while to bring it up to your provider. They will help you weigh the pros and cons.
However, while naltrexone at regular strength is accepted by the FDA, naltrexone at low doses continues to be studied. Because of this, some doctors may not be as informed about the recent success it has shown helping patients. If your provider is not comfortable with low dose naltrexone, it is possible to seek a second opinion. Functional medicine doctors usually have more experience with and are more open to prescribing low-dose naltrexone.
Before taking any medication, it is a good idea to become informed on the topic. Talking to your provider as well as your pharmacist can give you a good outlook on the benefits and drawbacks of low dose naltrexone. Additionally, there are support groups, both online and in-person, that can give perspective from people with 1st hand experience with the drug.
Naltrexone was approved by the FDA in the USA in the 1980s for the treatment of opioid addiction, used at the standard dose of 50 mg to 100 mg per day. It is a pure antagonist at various opioid receptors, Delta Kappa, Mu, and Opioid Growth Factor (OGF) receptors. LDN is not controlled medicine, narcotic, or an opioid.
Often times, medications are designed and developed for one purpose then by accident, or research, find another purpose altogether. This is what happened with the drug Naltrexone. Approved by the FDA in 1984 as an aid to block the effects of opium in the body. Low dose naltrexone works on many body systems as opioid receptors are found on almost every cell in the body. Low dose naltrexone has been found to most importantly work on the immune system to modulate its actions.
Although LDN can be compounded in any dose needed, our standard prescription strengths are 1.5mg, 3mg or 4.5mg. Moreover, we are able to compound LDN in a solution, Sublingual drops, and topical cream.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that was originally developed in the 1960s and approved for medical use by the FDA in the 1980s. It has been used clinically to treat opioid and alcohol addictions (1). More recently, low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has been promoted for off-label use as a safe and inexpensive option to treat myriad conditions including pain, inflammation, immune dysfunction, gastrointestinal, neurological, and psychological conditions, and even cancer. However, studies are quite limited.
The phenomenon of paradoxical hyperalgesia discovered with morphine in animal studies, where the opposite effect occurs at about one-tenth of the dose used to relieve pain has been proposed as the mechanism by which LDN may actually reduce pain (11). Anti-inflammatory effects have been attributed to additional antagonist effects on toll-like receptor 4, nonopioid receptors found on macrophages such as microglial cells (11) (12).
CYP450 substrates: Preclinical data show that naltrexone can interact with several CYP enzymes, and particularly 2C9 and 2D6 (14). Clinical relevance, including for low doses, has yet to be determined.
Naltrexone is a drug that was approved by the FDA in 1984 in a 50mg dose for the purpose of helping heroin or opium overdose by blocking the effects of such drugs. Naltrexone is a competitive antagonist at M-opioid and K-opioid receptors, blocking the effect of exogenous opioids.
Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) was initially introduced into clinical practice in the 1980s by Dr. Bernard Bihari, demonstrating the effectiveness of LDN in a dose range of 1.5 mg to 3 mg, as an alternative option, for a wide range of autoimmune disorders.11 Over the ensuing decades, there has been increasing attention and use of LDN as an adjunct treatment modality for FM.12,13 As a result, there has been a noticeable rise in available literature evidence from a variety of investigative sources purporting the benefits of LDN in FM management.
Developed in the early 1980s, Naltrexone was approved by the FDA in 1984 for use in the treatment of opioid addiction at standard doses ranging from 50mg to 100mg per day. It is used to treat patients addicted to heroin as well as other opium products and remains a pure antagonist at various opioid receptors, Delta Kappa, Mu, and Opioid Growth Factor (OGF) receptors.
As a safe, inexpensive option to augment or complement treatments for issues attacking or affecting the immune system, low dose naltrexone is gaining more trust from patients for its benefits in managing troubling symptoms.
Retired GP Dr Monica Bolton shares her experience of low dose naltrexone (LDN), and reviews the evidence, having recently returned to university to investigate research about M.E. and LDN. 781b155fdc