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How is LDN Different from Traditional Naltrexone Therapy?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brook Schales
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Submitted By: Natalie Gustafson, Pharm. D

How is LDN different from traditional naltrexone therapy?
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist and traditionally was used to treat patients that have an addiction to opiate drugs or alcohol by blocking euphoria. However, when dosed at typically 4.5mg or less, it has very different effects and has been used in various conditions. It has been studied in autoimmune disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, cancer, pain, HIV/AIDS, and autism.


What is LDN’s mechanism of action?

LDN blocks opioid receptors for only about 4-6 hours, causing an increase in beta-endorphins through a rebound effect. Endorphins are important for changing immune, inflammatory and pain responses. They also impact gut function and replication of cancerous cells. LDN also works on other receptors in the body to affect pathways involved in inflammation, nerve toxicity and pain signaling.


What are the side effects and drug interactions?

Side effects are typically mild. The most common side effects reported in studies are vivid dreams or sleep disturbances, which often lessen within a week. Sometimes adjusting timing or dosage resolves this issue, but always consult your provider prior to making any change. Other side effects may be possible.

As LDN could block opiate or narcotic medications, they should not be taken at the same time. A severe withdrawal reaction is possible. If you are using this type of pain medication, discuss with your provider or pharmacist prior to taking LDN.


How is LDN typically taken?
LDN is commonly started at a low dose, often between 0.5-1.5mg, and slowly increased to the final dosage, commonly 3-4.5mg. The rate of increase or use of ramping depends on the condition being treated, but frequently occurs every 1-2 weeks. It is usually taken once a day in the evening before bed on an empty stomach.


Have more questions?
Feel free to call Lloyd Center Compounding Pharmacy and ask to speak to a pharmacist if you have further questions 503-281-4161.

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