Friday, June 29, 2007

Low Dose Naltrexone

I'm starting a curcumin regimen now, but I have a friend who is trying another "alternative" therapy called low-dose naltrexone (LDN). Naltrexone is an existing prescription drug, FDA approved for treatment of certain addictions, but no longer in widespread use. It acts by blocking opioid receptors in human cells, but in small doses it can also double or triple the body's production of natural opioids, called endorphins.

In some people with certain diseases, including as cancer, those endorphins may be suppressed. According to theory, LDN taken at bedtime restores them during sleep and thereby restores the body's immune system to its normal function. Proponents of LDN actually claim that it can at least halt the progression of a large number of diseases, including myeloma, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS. For some people, those diseases may be cured. According to those same proponents, there are no significant negative side effects. The cost is modest, less than $50 per month.

Three doctors seem to be the primary proponents of LDN: Dr Bernard Bihari, Dr David Gluck, and Dr Ian S. Zagon. Their names appear at the bottom of their web site, If they are correct, LDN has halted a lot of disease, cured some, and saved a lot of lives.

Naltrexone is now in the public domain, because the patents are expired. Therefore, drug companies have no interest in funding the multi-million dollar clinical trials that might prove the efficacy of LDN one way or another, and apparently the US government hasn't been sufficiently tempted either. So it's up to us again; we can try it and see if it works.

Which is pretty much what we do with the expensive, trial-tested drugs that we otherwise take, like Revlimid and Velcade. We take them and see if they work. I wish my friend well, and will let you know whatever he tells me about his results with LDN.

What a strawberry!
Organic apple, organic plum, organic nectarine, all regular size. Organic strawberry, whopper size.


  1. Narcan: FDA approved since 1984

    Narcan, also called Naltrexone, has been FDA approved since 1984 for reversal of narcotics overdose. It reverses the sedating effect of opiates by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. Narcan is available in the hospital operating room where anesthesiologists use it to wake up the patient after the operation. It was a surprise for me to find out that this commonly used drug has other very important uses at a much lower dosage as an oral capsule. Medical scientists have been carefully studying its effect on the immune system, and its clinical benefits for a host of disease states for the past 20 years.

    Low Dose Naltrexone, (LDN), How Does it Work?

    The beneficial effect of low dose naltrexone, LDN, was discovered by Bernard Bihari, MD, a physician in New York City who found that a small dose (3 mg) of naltrexone taken as a capsule at bedtime blocks the opiate receptors in the brain for a few hours during sleep, which then stimulates the brain to increase production of endorphins over the next 24 hours. These endorphins then stimulate the immune system. Although Bihari did much of the early clinical work, Zagon did much of the groundwork with animal research studies at Pennsylvania State University.

    LDN Effective for Crohn's Disease

    A recent publication in the Jan 2007 Journal of Gasteroenterology on the use of LDN in Crohn's Disease, was the first breakthrough publication to appear entitled,

    Low-Dose Naltrexone Therapy Improves Active Crohn's Disease by Jill Smith MD.

    For a more complete review with links to references, see my newsletter:

    Low Dose Naltrexone LDN by Jeffrey Dach MD

    Jeffrey Dach MD

  2. I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in December 2009, started Revlimid with Dexamethazone and the constant nausea halted my use mid second cycle... (The stuff was going to kill me). I started LDN, sadly my M Spike #'s have doubled since February so I start Velcade and Dexamethazone...IV on May 10th to bypass the stomach. I plan to continue the LDN and sure hope I get some good results...Any advise would be appreciated...HUB

  3. Hi HUB,

    LDN may have helped me a little, but not enough to keep the myeloma at bay. It does seem to be doing the job for my friend.

    My docs say that "everything works better with DEX." I'm sure that's true of both Revlimid and Velcade. But if you were taking more than 40 mg once per week, you were on an old protocol or aggressive treatment. Conservative treatment is 40 mg DEX once weekly to start, and REDUCING that dosage as necessary to get the best balance of efficacy vs side effects. I'm on pomalidomide, a close relative of Revlimid, and my DEX was gradually reduced to 4 mg per week and recently to ZERO.

    IV DEX is an interesting idea. And there are other steroids, like prednisone.