The ABCs of Low Dose Naltrexone

Naltrexone is a medicine or drug that assists in managing alcohol and opioid dependence by limiting the “high” induced by the mentioned substances. Although physicians also utilize Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) to approach various health states, which is specifically identified as off-label use. The prescribed dose of LDN is usually prepared by a compounding pharmacy.

Action mechanisms of low dose naltrexone

About 10 years of investigation sums up that LDN acts because:

  • Levo-Naltrexone acts as an inhibitor of the endorphin receptors
  • This increases the endorphin release
  • Elevated endorphins alter the immune response
  • This decreases the rate of undesired cell growth.
  • Antagonises TLR suppressing cytokine modulated immune system
  • Antagonises production of NF-kB mediated by TLR – decreasing inflammation, possibly downregulating oncogenes

Using Naltrexone in higher doses of 50-300mg appears to nullify the immunomodulatory effect by flooding the receptors. So, for the immunomodulatory effect to work, the Naltrexone dosage must remain within the limit of 0.5-10mg, normally a maximum of 4.5mg is used in clinical experience.

Common uses

  • multiple sclerosis
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • fibromyalgia
  • pain
  • myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • chronic fatigue syndrome

Types of low-dose naltrexone:

  • Capsules – It is important to acknowledge that Low Dose Naltrexone must not be given in the slow-release form. These capsules also need to be containing a neutral, inactive filler like avicel or lactose.
  • Cream – Low Dose Naltrexone can be prescribed in a dose of 0.5 mg per ml as a cream to be applied on the skin. This form is most suitable for children and patients having sensitivities to excipients, coloring agents, or flavorings used in other dosage forms of Low Dose Naltrexone.
  • Sublingual Drops – Infrequently, the medicine in dose 1 mg/ml, dispensed in a medicine dropper, as a solution in distilled water will need to be purchased. The solution requires to be refrigerated.

Side effects

Full-dose naltrexone usually produces these side effects:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain
  • decreased appetite
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • anxiety

It additionally brings a black box warning for liver toxicity and can lead to lasting liver impairment. A black box warning means a critical warning given by the FDA to notify individuals about hazardous side effects. This chance might be moderate while taking a lesser dose for treating MS.

Low Dose Naltrexone might raise your risk for thrombocytopenia. You need to call your physician right away in case you observe frequent bruising or uncontrolled bleeding.

You need to avoid taking LDN if you:

  • use opioid medications
  • are undergoing acute opiate withdrawal
  • are having liver problems

Never attempt to divide naltrexone tablets by yourself to create LDN. Your consultant can assist you to locate a compounding pharmacy, such as Harbor Compounding Pharmacy, which prepares Low Dose Naltrexone.

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