Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Score One for Low Dose Naltrexone

My friend Max put me onto low-dose naltrexone (LDN) some time ago. I blogged about it in June. It is a prescription drug approved for treatment of drug addiction, but used by a few doctors for cancer and other maladies, off-label and in small doses. It is thought to work by stimulating the body's endorphins back to normal levels, thereby restoring the body's immune system.

Long story short: Max called today to report his own results: IgM was over 3000 (normal is 300) and has DROPPED 18% in four and a half months on LDN. Max is not an excitable person, but he certainly did sound pleased with this result.

To be sure, an 18% reduction in IgM could be just a normal variation, or almost so, a combination of variability in the test and actual variability in his blood. Though his doctor seemed underwhelmed, Max thinks this was an actual drop, because his numbers had been steadily climbing by about that amount at every test interval. The future will reveal the truth, of course.

Max does NOT have myeloma; he has Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia (what a mouthful). Whereas myeloma patients normally talk about IgG or IgA, his naughty protein is IgM; it affects the body somewhat differently and is treated somewhat differently. If he had myeloma instead, who knows whether he would have experienced this benefit from LDN?

Hoping that it can, I am taking LDN too, for the past eleven days, along with curcumin, quercetin, resveratrol, mostly-vegetarian diet and the kitchen sink.


  1. This is very interesting, Don, as I wrote this morning on the MMA listserv in response to your post. I just put it on my list of questions for my hematologist, since I see it is available in Italy, too. Very exciting. The only thing I always worry about are interactions/interferences with other things we take. Do you know of any interferences with curcumin, e.g.? Thanks, Margaret in Florence

  2. I have not researched the interactions with alternative therapies or standard therapies. I'm poorly qualified to do the research, though I can say that I have not sensed any symptoms from taking LDN with high-dose curcumin and the kitchen sink. I asked my doctor to think about that, but when he recommended against LDN I didn't pursue it with him.

    The slim possibility of direct chemical interactions between naltrexone and other therapeutic agents is WAY beyond me. However, speaking as an engineer, not a doctor, it seems logical that if LDN's mechanism of operation is to raise a person's endorphins (hence boost the immune system), then some research could be directed at the interaction of endorphins with other therapies and endorphins on myeloma in general.

    Workin' on it ...

  3. This is a direct quote from the LDN website:

    Can LDN be taken with other medications such as tranquilizers or chemotherapy? How about interactions with alcohol or tobacco?

    "LDN can be taken along with any other medication or substance, so long as it is not narcotic-containing. Naltrexone is a pure opioid antagonist and it will block the action of narcotics. Some examples of narcotic-containing drugs are Ultram, morphine, Percocet, Duragesic patch and any codeine-containing medication."

    It's my belief that this is primarily intended to answer the question of direct chemical interactions. Indirect interactions, from enhanced endorphins for example, could be another issue.