Low Dose Naltrexone

Low dose naltrexone (LDN) is a safe and effective treatment option for many diseases and symptoms, but remains underutilized by the medical community.

Naltrexone is an FDA approved treatment for opioid and alcohol use disorder by blocking opioid receptor sites (opioid antagonist). This can be achieved with standard (high) dosing of about 50 mg daily.

At lower doses, naltrexone has been shown to modulate the immune system, resulting in improvement in the management of various diseases.

LDN, doses under 10 mg daily, has been in use since the 80s to help with infection and chronic disease management, including autoimmune diseases and cancer. 

There are many pilot (preliminary) studies and case reports available showing the benefits of LDN use. However, FDA approval for LDN is still pending, so LDN use is considered off label. 

How does LDN work (the basics)?

LDN helps to regulate the immune system by transiently binding to and blocking endorphin receptors, which are located on most cells. This facilitates a rebound effect, increasing endorphin production and sensitivity. The end result is an optimization in immune function, because low endorphin levels have been found in abnormal immune system behavior. This immune augmentation has been beneficial in controlling many disease processes. 

LDN should be not be used in a long-acting or extended-release formulation, because the rapid clearing of the drug is an important part of its effectiveness.

Why use LDN?

Impaired immune function plays a crucial role in most, if not all, diseases. Optimizing the immune system can help control the inflammatory response, which is a major factor in healing and disease recovery. You can experience improvement of most symptoms including chronic and acute pain, fatigue, sleep difficulties, mental clarity and focus, mood, and hormonal and gut symptoms with LDN use. Naltrexone is also used as an effective weight loss adjunct, as it is one of the ingredients in Contrave.

Benefits may be seen as early as 1 week or may require longer use, such as 6-12 months, for more aggressive and chronic issues. Dose escalation over time or drug holidays may help to improve symptom management and effectiveness of LDN.

Who can use LDN?

Anyone that is not actively on opioid therapy can use LDN to help with managing various diseases or symptoms that have been unresponsive to other therapies. If you are on opioid therapy, LDN will interfere with opioid effectiveness. 

LDN may also need to be held temporarily for surgery, so you should inform the surgical team of its use.

Diseases that have been shown to benefit from LDN use include autoimmune diseases, such as IBD, neurodegenerative disorders, and fibromyalgia, thyroid disease, chronic pain, psychiatric disorders, and many cancers. Nonspecific symptoms, which may be due to low levels of inflammation in the body, may benefit as well.

The side effect profile is considered to be mild. Vivid dreams is the most commonly reported side effect during initial use.

How do I get LDN?

LDN is considered off label, so it is not available at retail pharmacies in these low doses. If you are interested in trying LDN, a prescription can be obtained through VNPS. We order short-acting LDN from trusted compounding pharmacies and the medication is mailed directly to you.  

Schedule an appointment with VNPS to get started.

Latest Post