You may have heard of a medication called naltrexone being used to treat substance abuse problems such as opioid addiction and alcoholism. But in low doses, naltrexone can also be used to treat a wide variety of chronic conditions that millions of people around the world suffer from every day.
What Is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone is a medication that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1984 for the treatment of both opioid addiction and alcohol addiction. It works by binding to opioid receptors in your brain, blocking the sedative and euphoric effects of alcohol and opioid drugs such as codeine, morphine, and heroin.
Naltrexone also helps suppress and reduce the cravings an addicted person feels for these substances, thus helping them decrease their consumption and maintain their sobriety.
How Does Low Dose Naltrexone Work?
Like traditional naltrexone, low dose naltrexone or LDN works by binding to the endorphin receptors in your brain. By doing so, LDN enhances the production of pain-relieving endorphins in your brain and adrenal glands and stimulates the activity of immune cells and stem cells that help your body to fight against disease and infection. The effects of low doses of naltrexone can last for up to six hours at a time.
What Conditions Can Be Treated Using LDN?
Because LDN helps to regulate your immune system, lower inflammation, and fight disease, it can be used to treat a wide variety of health conditions. There are more than 100 different types of autoimmune diseases, and these disorders affect millions of people.
Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune cells begin attacking healthy cells that they are supposed to protect. Many of the conditions LDN can help treat are autoimmune disorders and chronic conditions that are commonly believed to have no cure, including the following:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- And many more
The endorphin boost that comes from low dose naltrexone can also lessen feelings of depression and anxiety and can be beneficial in treating other mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Who Should Not Take LDN?
Not everyone is a good candidate for LDN, so you should always consult with your doctor before beginning a new medication. Patients with liver failure or hepatitis, as well as patients who take certain medications, should not take LDN. Some of the medications that can have harmful interactions with LDN include methadone, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, and hydrocodone.
Just like any medication, LDN can have side effects. Side effects will vary based on the patient, but some common side effects of LDN include fatigue, decreased appetite, headaches, strange dreams, and constipation.
How Do I Start Taking Low Dose Naltrexone?
As naltrexone has only been approved by the FDA for the treatment of substance abuse issues like opioid addiction and alcoholism, you must talk to your physician about how a low dose could help alleviate the symptoms of your chronic health condition.
Your doctor can work with a compounding pharmacy to develop a special dose for your individual needs. Compounding pharmacies are different from regular pharmacies in that they customize medications to meet a patient’s unique needs when it comes to dosage, allergens, form, and even flavor.
A compounding pharmacy would not only develop the specific dosage of LDN that your physician prescribes, but they might also be able to develop a nontraditional form of LDN if your needs require it, such as sublingual drops rather than pills.
If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from an autoimmune disorder or other chronic health condition, low dose naltrexone may be able to help. Talk to your doctor today to find out more.