A Message from: Martin Avenue Pharmacy

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN): Help for Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia and more?

Research and case reports suggest that Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) in oral doses of 3.0-4.5 mg., taken once daily at bedtime, can support the immune system which may reduce various cancer-causing and inflammatory autoimmune processes. LDN may also play a role in healing and repair of tissues, social bonding, and emotional well-being; help the body to adapt to stress; and help with problems such as autism and depression.

At the 2012 Integrative Healthcare Symposium, Richard Horowitz, MD, of Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center, Hyde Park, N.Y., and President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Educational Foundation, noted that low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has helped patients with Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia. In regard to Lyme disease, he said, “Usually, the sickest patients require a combined approach using pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.” In Dr. Horowitz’s study of 500 patients with Lyme disease and Multiple Chronic Infectious Disease Syndrome (MCIDS), approximately 75% of patients experienced less fatigue, and less muscle and joint pain when their naltrexone dose was titrated to 4.5 mg at bedtime, using compounded LDN. Also, supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), glutathione, resveratrol, and curcumin helped to relieve pain, fatigue, and “brain fog”.

A placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, reported at the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s 28th Annual Meeting, reported that Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) was found to be a well-tolerated and inexpensive treatment to reduce daily pain in patients with fibromyalgia. In the study sponsored by the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, researchers from Stanford University evaluated 30 women with fibromyalgia (average age, 43 years) who completed baseline measurements and12 weeks of LDN treatment (4.5 mg daily), 4 weeks of placebo, and 4 weeks of follow up. At the end of the trial, patients reported a 43% reduction in pain during the LDN treatment when compared to the placebo treatment. The only major side effects reported more frequently during the LDN phase of treatment were vivid dreams (37% in LDN vs. 13% in placebo) and headache (16% in LDN vs. 3% in placebo).

Note: It is doubtful that large scale studies will ever be done to investigate potential indications for the much lower dose of naltrexone (LDN) as described above “because there’s no profit motive to fund research on an inexpensive drug with an expired patent.” Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN, in doses such as 4.5 mg) is not commercially available; it is a prescription medication that can be compounded by our pharmacy. Although sleep disturbances are rare, some patients using LDN have reported vivid dreams. To minimize this risk, therapy can be started with a lower dose (1.5 mg) and increased slowly over two months.

Questions about LDN or how compounding may help with problems that are resistant to traditional therapy? Ask our pharmacist!

References are available on request.

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