Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)- For Autoimmune Diseases
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Immune regulator for
+ Cancer, AIDS, COPD, CFS, Fibromyalgia and the common cold
What is LDN?
What diseases has LDN been useful for?
How does LDN work?
Cautionary Warnings /Side effects of LDN
What is Low Dose Naltrexone
Prescribed “off-label”, Naltrexone
is a prescription
given at unconventionally low doses
showing great promise in treating autoimmune diseases - including central nervous system disorders, cancer and HIV/AIDS.
Naltrexone is a
pharmacologically active opioid
antagonist usually used to treat drug and alcohol addictions –
an FDA approved drug for over two decades, it
is normally used at doses of 50 -300mg.
At low doses
(3 - 4.5 mg)
researchers found Naltrexone has immuno-modulating
properties - that may be able to successfully treat cancer malignancies and a range
of autoimmune diseases E.g. R.A., M.S.,
Parkinson’s, Alzheimer's and Crohn’s disease. and
also certain syndromes, E.g. fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Dr. Jacquelyn McCandless
even found LDN to have a positive effect on autistic children.
free of detrimental side effects
Few physicians are aware of this usage of LDN –
and at a price of ~$15-45 / month, it is not
backed by big Pharma.
What diseases has LDN been useful for?
Bernard Bihari, MD, as well as other physicians and researchers, have
described beneficial effects of LDN on a variety of diseases:
Colon & Rectal Cancer
Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell)
Lymphocytic Leukemia (chronic)
Lymphoma (Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's)
Prostate Cancer (untreated)
Renal Cell Carcinoma
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS)
Other Autoimmune Diseases:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS)
Systemic Lupus (SLE)
Clinical Studies on Safety and Benefits of LDN for Autoimmune Diseases -
A couple of examples follow, but a complete list of past and
current research is at the
LDN for Multiple Sclerosis
Dr. Maira Gironi, an Italian neurological researcher, treated
40 patients affected with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) with LDN
for six months, concluding that LDN was not only safe
and well-tolerated, but halted the
progression of the disease in all but one patient.
Results published in the journal
Multiple Sclerosis .
LDN for Crohn’s Disease –
in a pilot study
involving 17 Crohn’s disease patients,
Low-Dose Naltrexone Therapy
Improves Active Crohn’s Disease,
Smith J. et al, Apr. 2007,American
Journal of Gastroenterology
impressive two-thirds of the patients in her pilot study went into remission,
and 89% responded to LDN treatment to some degree.
How does LDN work?
LDN effects on Immune System
LDN benefits the immune system in many ways –
studies indicate that LDN has several attributes:
LDN reduces inflammation /oxidative stress
LDN reduces apoptosis of oligodendrocytes
LDN down regulates but doesn’t eliminate
LDN facilitates tissue repair and wound
LDN targets microglial cells
(small non-neural cells that collect waste
products of CNS nerve tissue) and neuropeptides
(endogenous protein molecules that influence
neural activity by carrying information directly to the cells and tissues.
Included are VP, CCK, substance P, enkephalins, and endorphins).
LDN stimulates the release of neurotrophic factor
(family of substances with roles in neuron
maintenance and survival) from astroglia (neuron support cells)
LDN restores CD4 levels in HIV infection
LDN increases levels of natural killer
LDN increases beta endorphin levels -
research is finding that natural endorphins play a part in the body’s immune
"Opioid-Induced Immune Modulation: .... Preclinical evidence indicates
overwhelmingly that opioids alter the development, differentiation, and function
of immune cells, and that both innate and adaptive systems are affected.
Bone marrow progenitor cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, immature
thymocytes and T cells, and B cells are all involved.
The relatively recent identification of opioid-related receptors on immune
cells makes it even more likely that opioids have direct effects on the immune
Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain, Feb 2004
NE J. of Med:
states that taking LDN
at bedtime improves immune
function – by
marginally blocking your opioid
receptors for a few hours in the middle of the night, which
is believed to up-regulate vital elements of your immune system by
increasing your body’s production of metenkephalin and endorphins (your natural
opioids), hence improving immune function.
LDN effects against cancer
Increased endorphin production and other related
factors linked to anti-cancer mechanisms -
Bihari, who first discovered LDN as a therapeutic agent for AIDS, in 1985,
believes LDNs anti-cancer mechanism is likely due to an increase in:
Number and density of
opiate receptors on the tumor cell membranes -
making them more responsive to the
growth-inhibiting effects of the already present levels of endorphins, which in
turn induces apoptosis (cell death) in the cancer cells
The absolute numbers of
circulating cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells - as well as killer cell activity
Dr. Bihari reports promising results in
treating 450+ cancer patients with LDN , including cancers of the bladder,
breast, liver, lung, lymph nodes, colon, and rectum.
According to Dr. Bihari, nearly a
quarter of his patients had at least a 75 percent reduction in tumor size, and
nearly 60 percent of his patients demonstrated disease stability.
LDN should be obtained by prescription –
under medical approval if deemed appropriate;
it can also be
obtained OTC cheaply, but admittedly with questionable reliability (E.g.
Toronto Drug Store
/works out to ~$25/mth at
If purchased in 50mg tablets,
they can be ground up and repackaged as 4.5 mg capsules or
made into 4.5
mg liquid doses at home
Ideally obtain LDN from a reliable pharmacy –
a list of such is given at
LDN capsules should
not contain calcium carbonate as a filler –
since it has been found to interfere with absorption of LDN capsule
DO NOT get LDN in
therapeutic range is 1.5 mg –
4.5 mg every night. Lower doses have no
effect and higher doses likely block
endorphins for too long, interfering with effectiveness
Usual adult dosage is 4.5mg taken once daily at
night - to
avoid interfering with rhythms of the body's production of master hormones, LDN
is best taken between 9pm and 3am. Most patients take it at bedtime.
With multiple sclerosis that has led to muscle
spasms - use only 3mg daily and to maintain
For those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with
hypothyroidism who are taking thyroid
hormone replacement medication - please read
about intial dosage of LDN in Cautionary Warnings below.
for more details
Cautionary warnings / Side-effects
Adverse events reported in clinical studies -
temporary insomnia and vivid dreaming in some patients.
Cautionary warnings – according to
precautions are required if any of the following situations apply:
If you use opioid
agonists, do not take LDN until such medicine is completely out of your system - i.e. narcotic medications such as Ultram (tramadol), morphine,
Percocet, Duragesic patch or codeine-containing medication;
Patients taking thyroid
hormone replacement for a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with
hypothyroidism need to begin LDN at the very lowest range (1.5mg for an adult) - as LDN may lead to a prompt decrease in the
autoimmune disorder, which then may require a rapid reduction in the dose of
thyroid hormone replacement in order to avoid symptoms of
People who have received
organ transplants -
and who therefore are taking immunosuppressive medication on a
permanent basis are cautioned against the use of LDN because it may act to
counter the effect of those medications.
Good online references for LDN
How to Make 4.5 mg Liquid Doses
from 50 mg Naltrexone tablets
• 50 mg tabs of naltrexone
• 5 ml syringe or graduated baby medicine
• 4 oz amber glass jar with a tight fitting lid
• Distilled water
Fill a graduated cylinder with 50 ml of distilled water
then pour into a 4oz glass
Drop in one 50mg Naltrexone tablet.
The tablet will mostly
dissolve in about 2 hours -
Note that not
all of the tablet is soluble in water so instead of yielding a clear
solution, the result will be a cloudy suspension.
One ml of the SHAKEN suspension will contain one mg of Naltrexone
Use a graduated baby medicine dropper or 5-ml syringe to measure out
the dose you need.
Since liquid form has a dramatically decrease shelf life, do not
make more than 50 ml of liquid Naltrexone at one time, store it in
the refrigerator, and do not keep it for more than 2 months.
Be sure to shake the liquid LDN well before using and keep from direct
exposure to sunlight.