Low dose naltrexone

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Naltrexone is a drug normally used to treat drug dependence. Dosage for standard use is around 50mg. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) involves much smaller doses taken to allay neurological symptoms, usually from 1.5 mg to 4.5 mg per day. Some people report taking doses as low as 0.5 mg. Use other than for treating drug dependence is off-label. Some patients claim LDN helps reduce their symptoms of ME/CFS, Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease.

Evidence[edit]

Jarred Younger published a small study that concluded "... low-dose naltrexone may be an effective, highly tolerable, and inexpensive treatment for fibromyalgia".[1][2]

A second study concluded that "specific and clinically beneficial impact on fibromyalgia pain".[3]

A 2014 review by Stanford researchers suggests that "LDN may operate as a novel anti-inflammatory agent in the central nervous system, via action on microglial cells. These effects may be unique to low dosages of naltrexone and appear to be entirely independent from naltrexone's better-known activity on opioid receptors. As a daily oral therapy, LDN is inexpensive and well-tolerated."[4]

The FDA approved naltrexone HCL in 1984 to treat opioid addiction. Low-dose naltrexone is typically given at about 1/10th the typical dose of naltrexone. By blocking opioid receptors, naltrexone can increase pain, but at very low doses naltrexone has both pain-reducing (analgesic) and anti-inflammatory properties.

In 2012 Solve ME/CFS Initiative contracted Biovista to use drug models to identify existing drugs that may be worth investigating for treatment. The results suggested Naltrexone was worth considering.[5]

There is an online patient community where patients with various diseases discuss their experiences taking Low-dose Naltrexone.

Jarred Younger's research suggests that people with an ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) over 40 millimeters an hour, tend to be strong responders to LDN, and that there may be other predictive factors for success.[6]

How it works[edit]

Clinical use[edit]

Naltrexone is a prescription drug in many countries.[7] Compounding chemists or compounding pharmacists can mix naltrexone with a powder filler or dilute in into a liquid to create the lower dose.


In general, Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) should not be taken concurrently with opioid-containing drugs (opioid receptors in brain are blocked by LDN), immunosuppressive drugs, or immunomodulator drugs.[8]

Expiration date for LDN is 5-6 months depending on pharmacy procedures.[9]

Australia[edit]

Compounding Pharmacies are able to fill these prescriptions, and post if needed.

UK[edit]

Dickson Chemist in Glasgow dispenses low-dose Naltrexone in various forms, with a valid prescription. They will usually put patients in contact with private doctors who will consider writing a prescription.

US[edit]

Neighborhood Compounding Pharmacies are able to fill these prescriptions and mail if needed. Your prescribing doctor can help you locate a compounding pharmacy in your area/state or you can look online.[10]

When, How To Take[edit]

The ideal dose is different for each person. Common dosages are 1.5mg, 3mg, 4.5mg, 6mg. Dosages above 9mg are often ineffective.[11]

LDN is usually taken at bedtime. Some people take LDN in the morning to minimise insomnia.[12]

Start Low, Go Slow[edit]

When beginning use of LDN, the drug must be stepped up over 6-8+ weeks as it may keep you awake.[13]

  • Begin with a small dose of 0.5-1.5mg (eg 1/3 of 3mg capsule = 1mg).
    • Gently twist the capsule open, remove the required amount of powder.
    • Put powder into a small amount of water, stir well and drink immediately.
    • Alternatively, place the powder on a teaspoon and swallow.
  • If the LDN keeps you awake, try a lower dose (eg 0.5mg)
  • If you have strong side-effects, try a micro-dose (eg 0.1mg or less)
  • After 1-2 weeks, if there are no adverse effects, step up the dose (eg add 1mg).
  • Repeat every 1-2 weeks until you reach your ideal dose - ie maximum benefit, minimal side-effects.

Learn more[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Younger, Jarred; Mackey, Sean (22 Apr 2009), "Fibromyalgia Symptoms Are Reduced by Low-Dose Naltrexone: A Pilot Study", Pain Med, 2009 May–Jun (10(4)): 663–672, PMID 2891387, doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2009.00613.x 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mackey, Sean (1 May 2009), "An Update on Fibromyalgia - from Sean Mackey, Chief, Division of Pain Management, Stanford University", Research Channel (USA) 
  3. Younger, Jarred; Noor, Noorulain; McCue, Rebecca; Mackey, Sean (28 Jan 2013), "Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels", Arthritis Rheum, 2013 Feb (65(2)): 529-38, PMID 23359310, doi:10.1002/art.37734 
  4. Younger, Jarred; Parkitny, Luke; McLain, David (15 Feb 2014), "The use of low-dose naltrexone (LDN) as a novel anti-inflammatory treatment for chronic pain", Clin Rheumatol, 2014 Apr (33(4)): 451-9, PMID 24526250, doi:10.1007/s10067-014-2517-2 
  5. Results of Biovista Work Released
  6. Younger, Jarred; Cohen, Joseph M (29 Mar 2016), "Dr. Jarred Younger: Cutting Edge Research on CFS, Neuroinflammation, Pain, and Fatigue", Self Hacked Blog (video interview with transcript) 
  7. Naltrexone
  8. Drugs To Avoid When Taking Low Dose Naltrexone
  9. reference needed
  10. Finding a Compounding Pharmacy - WIKI How
  11. reference needed
  12. reference needed
  13. What is Low-Dose Naltrexone?


The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history