Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is a drug employed in treating opioid addiction and is acquiring more attention as a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) – to reduce symptoms and relapses. It is a popular treatment among patients with multiple sclerosis, but the scientific evidence supporting its use is only beginning to take shape. Medilab Compounding Pharmacy Tampa offers LDN compounding, custom manufacturing, and delivery of medications.
This cheap drug has been on the market for decades, and drug companies have little financial interest in researching it. Despite this hurdle, scientists have learned much about LDN compounding recently. Its use as a drug for MS is now sufficiently compelling, although still preliminary, to have evidence behind it.
Although there are only two FDA-approved uses for the drug, it is used in an off-label capacity for many other health problems.
Around the time naltrexone was first developed, researchers began studying its use in treating autoimmune disorders (where the immune system unknowingly bombards the cells of the body). Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the myelin layer of nerve fibers, disrupting nerve function.
Some research supports the use of LDN to reduce the severity and frequency of MS symptoms. This medicine is not considered a curative treatment.
LDN is used off-label and as a treatment for several illnesses and conditions.
Efficacy in MS
Researchers are beginning to understand LDN’s mechanism of action, significantly different from full-strength naltrexone.
LDN consists of two molecules- dextro-naltrexone, which binds to immune cells. Another levo-naltrexone attaches itself to opioid receptors. These actions are dose-dependent, meaning they occur at low doses but not high ones.
The effect of those molecular associations includes several mechanisms that can improve MS symptoms, including:
- Alterations in immune function such as suppression of T cells and B cells due to increased levels of endorphins, enkephalins, and opiate growth factors
- Reduced neuroinflammation.
- Minimizes inflammation in other parts of the body.
A review of LDN research reported several beneficial findings from peer-reviewed studies using the drug to treat MS, including:
- Safe and well tolerated
- Significant reduction in spasticity
- Great mental health benefits
- Improving the quality of life
- Less fatigue
- Use as monotherapy results in disease stabilization.
LDN is taken in pill form. Liquid forms are also available sublingually (under the tongue) and transdermally (through the skin).
Typically, the prescribed dose for people with MS is 1.5 milligrams (mg) to 4.5 mg per day. People with spasticity are advised not to take more than 3 mg daily, which may contribute to muscle stiffness.
Generally, when prescribing doses greater than 1.5 mg, health care providers recommend starting at 1.5 mg and gradually increasing the dosage. Follow your doctor’s instructions without fail and note any increase in side effects when increasing the dose.
Not available in standard pharmacies
Low doses of naltrexone are not available in standard pharmacies. You must obtain it through a compounding pharmacy because it is specially formulated. Depending on your location, local choices may be available, or you can try a reliable online option like Medilab compounding.
LDN can be consumed with or without food. Some health care providers recommend taking it between 9:00 p.m. and midnight to coincide with the peak of the body’s natural endorphin release.
Thoughts and Contradictions
A significant problem with the use of LDN is its interaction with many of the disease-modifying drugs used in the treatment of MS. Depending on the pharmacokinetics of the drugs, LDN may interact with interferon drugs, including Avonex, Rebif, or Betaseron. In contrast, no contraindications appear with Copaxone.
Since it is excreted from the body through the liver, LDN is not advised for people with hepatitis, liver illness, or cirrhosis.
Studies of the combined use of LDN and opioid medications have not been conducted. Because of naltrexone’s moderate-strength effect on opioid receptors, it is recommended not to combine LDN with opioid medications such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone-acetaminophen), Ultram (tramadol), or codeine-based cough syrups.
There is very little data on LDN during pregnancy or lactation. You must discuss with your healthcare provider if you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this medication.
A one-month supply of LDN costs about $45 to $100, depending on which compounding pharmacy you go through. Since it is off-label for MS and considered an experimental treatment, your insurance may not cover it.
Your pharmacy may make the drug to order instead of keeping it in stock, so you may need to remind for refills earlier.
Who provides the LDN compounding medications?
With MediLab, you can experience the services of a nationally recognized compounding pharmacy tampa, a home to highly skilled compounding pharmacists who dispense customized medications that best treat your specific health concerns. You can contact our representatives now to learn about our services and how we can help you: 813-655-9800.