Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN): “Wonder Drug”!

Op-Ed by Neenah Payne

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider.

Low Dose Naltrexone has been used since the 1980s for over 200 diseases including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and a wide variety of cancers. Yet, most doctors still don’t know about LDN since it is inexpensive and not promoted by drug companies. Low Dose Naltrexone works by strengthening the immune system and is non-toxic.

Dr. Joseph Smith says in Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN): One of the RARE Drugs that Actually Helps Your Body to Heal Itself: “It is not often that I advocate the use of prescription drugs, but low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is one of those rare exceptions that may hold the promise of helping millions of people with cancer and autoimmune disease. As a pharmacologically active opioid antagonist, LDN works by blocking opioid receptors, which in turn helps activate your body’s immune system.“

Dr. David Gluck explains in Low Dose Naltrexone: a very promising drug for treating cancer and 200+ other diseases: “LDN is absolutely unique. And that’s part of its problem, in that it’s a brand new paradigm, a new way of thinking of treatment. Instead of the medication actually doing the work, LDN goes into the body and essentially tricks the body by forcing it to double and triple its output of endorphins and metenkephalin, also known as opioid growth factor (OGF). Those endorphins and metenkephalin, in turn, cause the immune system to strengthen. A nice way to think about LDN is that it is not like any other medication whatsoever. It is a way to strengthen the immune system.”

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Dr. Gluck points out in My experience with Low Dose Naltrexone: “LDN has been especially popular for a great number of people who suffer from MS because it is beneficial in a high percentage of patients and it is the antithesis of the spectrum of “approved” anti-MS medications, which are questionably effective, often painful and problematic to use, are sometimes dangerous, and are always expensive. LDN, in contrast, is almost always effective, easy to use, non-toxic, easily affordable and it has virtually no significant side effects.”

Julia Schopick, author of  Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases, says in the article Most Doctors Don’t Know About Low Dose Naltrexone for Autoimmune Diseases: “LDN is a very low dose of a drug, naltrexone, that was approved by the FDA in the mid-1980s for drug addiction, and a few years later, for alcohol addiction. At around the same time, a brilliant, Harvard-educated physician named Dr. Bernard Bihari discovered that, in very LOW doses, which he called LOW Dose Naltrexone, it raised endorphin levels and caused the immune system to act correctly. He said that LDN “modulates” or “orchestrates” the immune system.”

Schopick points out: “One in five Americans has an autoimmune disease. The prevalence and incidence of autoimmune diseases is on the rise. Low-Dose Naltrexone is a little-known but promising treatment that autoimmune disease patients need to know about.…LDN is extremely inexpensive especially when compared to many of the treatments doctors routinely prescribed for autoimmune diseases. For this reason, I believe that LDN could literally save healthcare. This is not a claim that I make lightly, and it’s one I fervently believe.”

Schopick adds: “Most conventional doctors do not know about Low Dose Naltrexone for autoimmune diseases….Luckily, tens of thousands of patients have found it for themselves and are advocating for it all over the world. Thanks to LDN patient advocates, it is relatively easy for patients to find doctors who will prescribe it and compounding pharmacists who compound it correctly.”

LDN: Cancer Game Changer

David Borenstein, MD prescribes LDN in NYC. In the one-hour audio interview linked to on his site, Dr. Borenstein stresses that an anti-inflammatory diet and healing the gut are key in treating auto-immune diseases with LDN – especially rheumatoid arthritis. He recommends stopping LDN at least a week before having a minor medical procedure that requires anesthesia and waiting at least 5 days after the last narcotic before re-starting LDN.

The 2016 video LDN & Cancer – THE GAME CHANGER interviews six doctors in various countries about their use of LDN for cancer as well as three patients and a pharmacist. Dr. Akbar Khan in Canada and the pharmacist recommend using high doses of Vitamin D with LDN — 5,000-10,000 units per day (in liquid form) or even 15,000-20,000. The pharmacist also recommends medical hemp.

There is a great deal of information available on LDN online. The LDN Story (A documentary about low dose naltrexone) interviews parents who had great success using LDN for their autistic son and a woman for whom LDN was the only thing that brought relief for her Fibromyalgia. The LDN Fact Sheet 2016 explains that LDN is available as liquid, sub-lingual drops, capsules, and a cream.

Dr. Joseph Smith explains in his article Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN): One of the RARE Drugs that Actually Helps Your Body to Heal Itself:

“In 1985, Dr. Bernard Bihari discovered LDN enhanced patients’ response to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Years later, he found that his patients with cancer and autoimmune disease also benefited from LDN. Dr. Bihari has reportedly treated more than 450 cancer patients with LDN with promising results, 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.”

Dr. Smith adds:

“Says Dr. Burton M. Berkson, MD, who has attested to achieving phenomenal results with low-dose naltrexone in both cancer patients and those with autoimmune diseases: ‘It is difficult for many to believe that one drug can accomplish so many tasks. But LDN does not treat symptoms as most drugs do. It actually works way “upstream” to modulate the basic mechanisms that result in the disease state.'”

Low Dose Naltrexone must be prescribed. However, doctors who are not familiar with LDN may be reluctant to prescribe it for off label uses since the FDA approved LDN only for drug and alcohol addiction. Some MDs may dismiss success in using LDN for other illnesses as “anecdotal” because they are not backed by (expensive) placebo-controlled, double-blind studies which are the gold standard of medicine. Since LDN is now a generic drug, there is no incentive for drug companies to invest millions of dollars in studies to get FDA approval for other uses of LDN.

Ordering LDN

However, in Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases, Julia Schopick introduces the concept of “Patient-Evidence-Based Treatments”. Schopick demonstrates why these remedies must now be taken seriously. David Brownstein, MD says: “Honest Medicine should be required reading for all physicians and patients searching for safe and effective therapies.

For patients whose doctors are not familiar with LDN and may be unwilling to prescribe it, the site at: https://www.ldnscience.org/patients/find-a-doctor lists doctors who prescribe LDN in over 20 countries.

In the LDN Coaching section of her Honest Medicine site, Schopick offers help in convincing your doctor to prescribe this medicine for you. LDN is not available from local pharmacies and must be purchased from a compounding pharmacy. Several are available, but the most recommended is Skip’s Pharmacy which will ship the pills to you in the dosage you request.

Skip’s Pharmacy links to the Mary Boyle Bradley site: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mary-boyle-bradley which provides a wealth of information on LDN.

In the article Low Dose Naltrexone and chronic pain, Dr. Pradeep Chopra points out: “Naltrexone is manufactured as 50mg pills. Compounding pharmacies can prepare Low Dose Naltrexone to any dose specified. Because of differences in compounding pharmacies and the fillers, it’s suggested that patients use a compounding pharmacy that has experience with LDN. The pharmacy must produce LDN in an instant release formulation and not as timed release or slow release. The LDN must not be released in to the body slowly.

Compounding pharmacies can prepare the drug as capsules, tablets, liquid or topical cream.  In preparing LDN, pharmacies can change the inactive ingredients (fillers) especially if a reaction is suspected. They can also make it in a gluten-free filler. For ultra low doses of naltrexone, it is prepared as a liquid suspension. The dose recommended by Dr. Bihari was 1.5mg to 4.5 mg taken at bedtime. However studies show that taking LDN at night is not necessary. If side effects occur then lowering the dose is recommended, or taking it in the morning in case of insomnia.”

No Opiates Bracelet

LDN for Parkinson’s Disease: Low Dose Naltrexone recommends the $12 DVD of the presentation by Lexie Washington (aka Marlene Lindstrom) on LDN for Parkinson’s. The DVD is called Heal Your Immune System: Heal Your Parkinson’s Disease” Low Dose Naltrexone – “a Modern Wonder Drug?”.  Marlene has gotten off all her Parkinson’s medications except one and has no signs of Parkinson’s now. The DVD includes not only Marlene’s testimonial but that of another Parkinson’s patient who has had great success using LDN. Marlene warns that anyone who is using LDN MUST also wear a “No Opiates” bracelet because LDN blocks opiate pain medicine.

Dr. Chopra explains the article Low Dose Naltrexone and chronic pain: “LDN can be taken with other medications or supplements as long as they do not contain opiates or synthetic narcotics, examples of which include fentanyl, meperidine (Demerol, Pethidine), tramadol, morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors. Therefore pain medications will be blocked from working and could lead to withdrawal problems. Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure that none of your medications are contraindicated. They can also advise you on stopping pain medications that might interfere with LDN and offer advice and amount of time to allow between stopping opiates and starting LDN.

After starting LDN, if you have surgery scheduled or a procedure that may require pain medications, consult with your doctor to determine the amount of time needed to clear again from your system so that it does not interfere with anesthesia or pain medications. LDN must also be stopped if your doctor plans to prescribe opiate-based medications for postoperative use. The time required to clear naltrexone for the body may vary, based on dosage and body weight. After a procedure under anesthesia or requiring pain medications allow adequate time for the opiates to clear from your system before restarting LDN.”

If an LDN user is taken to a hospital in an emergency, the “No Opiates” bracelet will help alert the hospital staff not to give opiate pain killers. The bracelet is available from Etsy for about $4.

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