Naltrexone is a medication that was FDA approved in the 1980s for the purpose of helping patients addicted to heroin and other opioid medications including prescription medications such as Dilaudid, Hydrocodone, Codeine, and Percocet. It works by blocking the effects that these medications have on the receptors in your brain and other body tissues including virtually every cell of the body's immune system. These receptors are meant to respond to your body's natural endorphins which are your "feel good" chemicals. When activated, these receptors block pain, slow breathing, and produce a calming, anti-depressing effect. Because Naltrexone blocks heroin and other opioid medication from binding to the receptor sites, it prevents patients from experiencing the "high" they may get when taking them which helps to keep them from relapsing when they are being treated for opioid addiction. Naltrexone is prescribed in doses of 50mg to 100mg per dose for opioid addiction.
In 1985, a New York City physician, Dr. Bernard Bihari, began studying the effects of a much smaller dose of Naltrexone on the body's immune system. At a dose around 4mg (Low Dose Naltrexone) once a day at bedtime, he was able to enhance a patient's response to the infection caused by the HIV virus. Dr. Bihari later discovered that patients in his practice with certain types of cancer (lymphoma and pancreatic cancer) and autoimmune diseases (Lupus, Chrohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.) often showed significant improvements in their disease while taking LDN.
Autoimmune diseases result from an immunodeficiency where our body’s immune system is not able to distinguish “self” from “non-self”. Lower doses of Naltrexone only partially block your body’s opioid receptors during the time when your endorphin levels are typically the highest (3am to 4am). Your body sees this as a signal that your endorphin levels are low, so it increases production of your endorphins, increasing your overall levels. Higher levels of endorphins improve your body’s immune system response. LDN has been found to improve numerous autoimmune diseases, neurological diseases and even some cancers.
At Blades Wellness and Aesthetics, we are seeing a huge number of our patients with autoimmune diseases find improvement in their signs and symptoms of disease with Low Dose Naltrexone. According to lowdosenaltrxone.org, numerous physicians and patients have see success with improvement in these disease processes:
The therapeutic dose of LDN is usually between 1.5mg and 4.5mg. Dr. Blades will work with you to help you find your optimal treatment level. LDN is usually taken before bedtime (around 9pm) so that it’s peak effect will take place when your endorphins are at their peak level (around 3-4am).
Low Dose Naltrexone has not yet been approved by the FDA for autoimmune diseases, so it is not available for purchase at commercial pharmacies. Dr. Blades uses several compounding pharmacies in the area that are familiar with compounding Low Dose Naltrexone.