Low-dose Naltrexone in Washington, DC
Originally approved in the mid-eighties to treat opioid addiction, naltrexone has been found to treat and reduce the symptoms of chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia , multiple sclerosis , Crohn’s disease, as well as, complex regional pain syndrome.
What is Low-dose Naltrexone?
Unlike the standard dose of naltrexone (50-100mg/day), low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is a comparatively microscopic dose of only 4.5mg/day. Nothing about the drug has changed, no alterations, no additives, no increased administration, only the dosage is reduced. In doing so, it was found that naltrexone had an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect (and stimulated the production of natural opioid painkillers). These surprising, “paradoxical” effects have been used to treat the underlying pain common in many chronic conditions.
Specifically, low-dose naltrexone (dextro-naltrexone in particular) acts on microglia cells, central nervous system (CNS) cells that, when triggered, produce inflammation, pain sensitivity, fatigue , cognitive disruption, sleep disorders, mood disorders and pervasive discomfort. It is believed that a part of fibromyalgia is the chronic stimulation of these microglia cells. Naltrexone is said to be neuroprotective, disabling this inflammation inducing glial cells.
Furthermore, in the case of fibromyalgia, ESR (a test used to determine the amount of inflammation) was shown to be significantly impacted by the use of low-dose naltrexone, demonstrating LDN’s anti-inflammatory effects. Even better are the results for LSN in treating those with Crohn’s disease. In a controlled study, 80% of those with the chronic gastrointestinal disorder, Crohn’s disease, reported a significant reduction of symptoms1.
Isn’t More Better?
Living in the U.S. we like things big, big trucks, loud music, extra cheese, however in the case of opioid blockers, less can be more. An effect known as hyperalgesia (“hyper”—meaning more, and “analgesia”—being the reduction of pain) occurs with smaller doses, about 10% of what would normally be given to quell the pain.
While LDN is not FDA approved and only available as an experimental drug, the price may be another example of less is more. Typical medications used to treat chronic pain conditions can be quite expensive, low-dose naltrexone, however, is relatively inexpensive.
It seems the “less is more” trend even continues into side-effects as well, with few side-effects reported by those taking LDN in clinical trials. Vivid dreams being the most common side-effect of LDN, with headaches listed as the second most common.
Future Promise of LDN
The future promise of low-dose Naltrexone can be found in the past. Natural and botanical remedies that have been used for centuries like the stinging nettle, reishi mushroom and curcumin, have been shown to act as glial cell modulators just like LDN. The anti-inflammatory effect of LDN may also offer relief to those suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus , and polymyalgia rheumatic.
For those suffering from chronic pain and chronic inflammatory conditions, who have seen little help from available treatment options, low-dose naltrexone—though currently experimental—may provide long sought pain relief.
Request more information about Low-dose naltrexone today. Call (703) 215-2795 or contact Dr. Andrew Heyman online.
- Smith JP, Bingaman SI, Ruggiero F, Mauger DT, Mukherjee A, McGovern CO, Zagon IS. Therapy with the opioid antagonist naltrexone promotes mucosal healing in active Crohn’s disease: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Dig Dis Sci. 2011;56(7):2088–2097. doi: 10.1007/s10620-011-1653-7.[PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
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