Low dose naltrexone (LDN), has been reported by some patients to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Naltrexone, approved by the FDA in 1984, was originally intended to assist heroin and opium addicts in breaking their addictions by blocking the “high” these drugs provided, thereby reducing the desire for recreational drugs. The average dosage is 50 milligrams per day.
LDN, a significantly lower dose, has been prescribed as an off-label use to treat a variety of conditions, including HIV, fibromyalgia, Chron’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
In one study (Dr. Gianvito Martino - San Raffaele Hospital - Milan, Italy), a dose of 5 milligrams of LDN was prescribed to people with primary-progressive MS. Neurological disability progressed in only one patient out of 40 during the six-month trial. A significant reduction of spasticity was measured at the end of the trial, and data indicated that LDN is safe and well tolerated in patients with PPMS.
In another study (Dr. Bruce Cree - University of California, San Francisco), improved quality of life was reported in patients with MS. Improvements involved mental health, pain, and patient-assessed cognitive function. However, no change was noted on physical quality of life. The lower dose is said to said to increase the endorphine supply.
Although there are a great many patient testimonials, there simply have not been enough LDN studies completed on MS patients to come to a consensus.
As with most off-label uses for prescription medications, some physicians will be more apt to prescribe it than others, usually on a case-by-case basis.
Most MS patients are diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS at onset, but a great many of us will eventually have a progressive form of MS. Progressive MS can mean a continual worsening of symptoms and permanent disability, and there are fewer methods of treatment. Recent stem cell research indicated very positive results for patients with RRMS, but not so for those with PPMS.
That’s why we MS patients have little patience. That’s why our hopes are raised with every announcement of a breakthrough, or possibility of a breakthrough, however small. Time is not on our side. Our best shot is to halt progression before it is too late.
Some of us will try to get in on every possible treatment, with or without proven results, and some of us will hold out for a clearer picture. We all take our best shot, with the information we have.
That’s why it’s important to stay informed, to do our research, and to consult with our neurologists on a regular basis. MS is a very individual disease... and so are the treatments.
Comments about LDN on “Reason to Rejoice - Research Breakthrough Reverses MS Disability”
You Tube video from February 2008, with patient testimonial, and featuring Dr. Kantor
Dr. Kantor also addressed LDN here.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society page on LDN
Published On: February 09, 2009