I have been in medicine for over 30 years and have seen a few medical miracles…people who recover from “incurable” diseases or come back from the brink of death to live active, full lives. However, at heart I am a medical skeptic. I recoil when pharmaceutical and supplement companies reveal their latest miracle hair loss formula, weight reducing compound or other improbable cure for difficult or distressing diseases. Yet, once in a great while, a truly exceptional innovative medicine emerges.
When I first heard of low dose naltrexone (LDN), I was moderately interested. Now I believe it to be a true miracle drug for a wide variety of autoimmune diseases in the same way that the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940’s was for a wide variety of bacterial illnesses.
LDN is a very reduced dose (usually 4 ½ mg) of naltrexone which is used in a 50 mg formulation to help heroin and narcotic addicts stay off of their addicting harmful substances by blocking the body’s opiod receptors. A New York City doctor, Bernard Bihari, MD discovered that naltrexone at low doses can balance the immune system making it an effective treatment for immune deficiencies, autoimmune diseases and possibly cancers.
My own clinical experience with LDN is presently limited to its use in autoimmune diseases which include multiple sclerosis, psoriasis (including psoriatic arthritis), Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease). There are many, many other autoimmune diseases.
Here are a few examples from my own practice:
Behcet’s Syndrome is an incurable autoimmune disease characterized by painful ulcerations and sores in the skin, vagina, mouth and other areas. My patient, a women in her late 50’s, had lifelong full blown Behcet’s including severe chronic pain, burning eyes, and recurrent very painful and distressing skin sores and ulcerations in her mouth, digestive tract, and vagina. She had tried all known potential treatments and failed to improve. The only treatment that did help temporarily was high dose steroids (prednisone) when she was doing very badly. After only a few weeks on LDN all her ulcers healed and all her pain resolved.
Sjogren’s Syndrome is characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth but also involves many other organ systems. My patient, a women in her early 60’s, had severe arthritic pain associated with her Sjogren’s. She had failed to improve on all the usual treatments and was scheduled to start a powerful immune suppressant medication which would so strongly reduce her immune response that she would be susceptible to infections and at high risk for cancers. After one week of LDN her pain completely resolved and she did not need to start the immunosuppressant medication.
Psoriatic arthritis is a painful autoimmune arthritis which occurs in patients with psoriasis. My patient, a middle aged woman, had a complete resolution of her chronic joint pain within weeks of starting LDN. Her skin psoriasis also resolved. This patient had also started a gluten free diet and had taken some supplements that also had helped prior to starting LDN, but it was the LDN that dramatically improved her condition.
There are many other examples of dramatic improvements in autoimmune problems with LDN. It is now my first line treatment for most autoimmune diseases. For more information see: http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/