Pain Management

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

Low Dose Naltrexone, aka LDN, has risen in popularity as a non-opioid alternative for chronic pain and autoimmune conditions.

Exploring Non-Opioid Alternatives for Addressing Chronic Pain & Autoimmune Conditions

There is much to be said about the ongoing opioid epidemic. The highly addictive nature of opioid pain medications has been problematic as abuse and overdose continues torampage patients. Low Dose Naltrexone, also known as LDN, has risen inpopularity as a non-opioid alternative for addressing chronic pain andautoimmune conditions.

In 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year. Specifically, 9.7 million peoplemisused prescription pain relievers (reference).

What is Low Dose Naltrexone?

A person’s immune system is regulated almost entirely by endorphins, which are released naturally every day. Naltrexone is an opiate receptor antagonist, which means that it blocks the body’s opioid/narcotic receptors - the same receptors endorphins use.

Naltrexone thus causes the body to produce more endorphins, which in turn boosts the body’s immune function. While the typical 50-mg dose of naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors for an extended period of time, low dose naltrexone only blocks the receptors for a few hours, still causing the desired effect of increased endorphins, but dissipating quickly enough for the body to reap the benefits.

Why Practitioners Prescribe LDN

Patients with a number of conditions may benefit from Low Dose Naltrexone. Physicians, nurse practitioners, and other medical providers are prescribing LDN for their patients that need alternatives. Sometimes, commercially available medications fail, are addictive, or yield undesirable side effects. That’s where LDN may provide a better experience.

So far, clinical evidence of efficacy is present for fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and complex regional pain syndrome. Pre-clinical studies and patient and doctor testimonials have also accredited LDN with helping patients with rheumatoid arthritis, transverse myelitis, irritable bowel syndrome, various cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, long COVID symptoms, and weight-loss, to name a few. Clinical studies have yet to catch up to these anecdotal claims.

Where can I get LDN?

Low Dose Naltrexone requires a prescription from a licensed medical professional. Because naltrexone is only commercially available as a 50-mg tablet, prescriptions for low dose naltrexone must be taken to a compounding pharmacy and specially prepared. Vashan Compounding Pharmacy is expert in compounding pure form of LDN capsules from FDA-approved facilities. It can be compounded as 1mg,1.5 mg, 2 mg, 2.5 mg, 3 mg, 3.5 mg, 4 mg, 4.5 mg (most common dose), 5 mg, 5.5 mg, 6 mg.

It is recommended to be taken 1-2 hours before bed time for maximum effects, usually recommended to be taken at 9:00 pm.

What are the side effects of LDN?

One of the reasons LDN is so exciting is its seeming lack of major side effects. The most common reported side effect is vivid dreams (reported in 37% of patients), though those dreams do not necessarily cause sleep disruption and decrease over time. In rare cases, headaches are also reported as a possible side effect; tapering up to the desired dose may alleviate this.

If you are a patient or practitioner interested in Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) connect with our expert LDN compounding team.

When in doubt, contact one of our knowledgeable pharmacists at Vashan Compounding Pharmacy. We are here to offer you solutions and assist you in making informed decisions about your health. Contact us with comments, questions, or pharmacy related topics you’d like to know more about. 

And, as always, stay healthy!

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