Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Low Dose Naltraxone Therapy

The following comes from The Compounder a newsletter by compounding pharmacist,
Larry Frieders. I have found
the info. on his site very interesting.

Dr. Julian Whitaker made a comment in his March 2007 newsletter

that reflects poorly on the way medicine is practiced today. He
was discussing 'Old Therapies, New Uses' when he writes, 'Most
disappointing, safe and effective therapies continue to be

To quote Dr. Whitaker, 'Today...LDN (low dose Naltrexone) is making inroads. It's not
because a drug company is advertising it on TV or paying for
research. Its patent ran out long ago, so there is no financial
incentive. Nor are many doctors prescribing it, since no drug
reps are spoon-feeding them info on it. But LDNs popularity has
steadily grown, driven by word of mouth from the many patients
whom it's helped.'

Naltrexone itself was approved by the FDA in 1984 in a 50mg dose for the purpose of helping heroin or opium addicts, by blocking the effect of such drugs. In technical terms, it is an opioid antagonist. By blocking opioid receptors, naltrexone also blocks the reception of the opioid hormones (endorphins) that our brain and adrenal glands produce - beta-endorphin and metenkephalin. Many body tissues have receptors for the endorphins, including virtually every cell of the body’s immune system.

In 1985, Dr. Bernard Bihari discovered the effects of a much smaller dose of naltrexone (approximately 3mg once a day) on the body’s immune system. He found that this low dose, taken at bedtime, was able to enhance a patient’s response to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Subsequently, Dr. Bihari found that patients in his practice with cancer (such as lymphoma or pancreatic cancer) could benefit from LDN. In addition, people who had autoimmune disease (such as lupus) often showed prompt control of disease activity while taking LDN.

How does LDN work?

According to Dr. Bihari’s information, the brief blockade of opioid (endorphin) receptors that is caused by taking LDN at bedtime each night is believed to produce a prolonged up-regulation of vital elements of the immune system by causing an increase in endorphin production. Normal volunteers who have taken LDN in this fashion have been found to have much higher levels of beta-endorphins circulating in their blood in the following days. It is believed that the endorphins act to increase natural killer cells and other healthy immune defenses against cancer.

What diseases has it been useful for?

Some diseases for which Dr. Bihari has described beneficial effects of LDN:

  • HIV/AIDS Pancreatic Carcinoma
  • Prostate Cancer Carcinoid
  • Hodgkin’s Disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas Rheumatoid Arthritis; Lupus (SLE)
  • Lymphocytic Leukemia Psoriasis
  • Neuroblastoma Behcet’s Disease
  • Colorectal Cancer Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Naltrexone has been used in experiments to block the effects of acupuncture to prove
that acupuncture stimulates the opioid system. So the idea here is that if you
can block the opioid system just a little you can get the body to produce more endorphins
and enkephalins to compensate and this in turn has a powerful upregulating effect
on aspects of the immune system. That sounds good, and because the dosages are low
it has very little side effects. Alex