Studies are constantly being conducted to identify new drugs that may more effectively treat certain conditions or expand treatment to patients who cannot take existing options. Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is one such medication, and research indicates it can reduce symptoms of several diseases and disorders.
HB Pharmacy specializes in compounding low dose naltrexone to provide individuals who may benefit from this drug with more personalized treatment. Here, we discuss the various uses of compounded LDN and the potential side effects of the medication.
What Is Low-Dose Naltrexone?
Although naltrexone was first developed in 1965, it was not available for medical use in the United States until Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in 1984 for treating opioid addiction. The drug helps manage the cravings and euphoria that come with substance abuse disorder.
Low-dose naltrexone is a dosage that equates to approximately 1/10th of the standard dosage for opioid addiction treatment. At this lower dosage, naltrexone has been demonstrated for analgesia (pain relief) and anti-inflammation, properties not found in larger dosages.
Naltrexone is available commercially, but only in a 50 mg. tablet. LDN is typically prescribed between 0.5 to 4.5 mg. a day, depending on the specific patient’s needs.
Conditions Treated with Low-Dose Naltrexone
The first published trial of the uses of low-dose naltrexone was published and presented in 2007, and since then, continuous research has gone into the drug. It has garnered increasing attention as a potential treatment for some chronic conditions. The medication has been shown to help with managing the symptoms of the following diseases and disorders:
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition causing widespread musculoskeletal pain. It may also involve fatigue, cognitive challenges, and issues with sleep. While inflammation may be a part of fibromyalgia, the disease is not inflammatory in the traditional sense, so common anti-inflammatory drugs prove ineffective.
However, trials have shown that LDN can help alleviate the pain of fibromyalgia. Individuals involved in these studies claimed their symptoms had improved after taking LDN.
This inflammatory bowel disease affects the digestive tract. For patients with Crohn’s disease, LDN has been found to mitigate pain and severity. Some studies suggest the patient response for LDN may exceed that of fibromyalgia in terms of the number of patients displaying improvement.
Multiple sclerosis impacts the nervous system, particularly the brain and spinal cord. It damages the material protecting nerve cells, called the myelin sheath. Multiple sclerosis impedes the ability for messages to travel between the brain and body, causing several symptoms.
Some evidence indicates that LDN can help lower the spasticity of multiple sclerosis, plus boost mental health. Continued investigation is necessary to show how the drug may positively affect patients with this disease.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome occurs when a person experiences an arm or leg injury, and pain and inflammation persist long past recovery. Only a handful of cases have conveyed that LDN may help manage the symptoms of this disorder, namely inflammation. Additional trials are needed to more accurately identify how the medication relieves symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome.
The evidence of LDN as an effective treatment for more conditions is relatively small, but a recurrent theme in the various studies is the drug’s efficacy in controlling the symptoms of many diseases with inflammatory aspects.
Possible Side Effects of Low-Dose Naltrexone
Low-dose naltrexone is experimental, and physicians and pharmacists proceed cautiously before recommending the medication to individuals. That said, there are a few advantages outside efficacy. For one, LDN is comparatively inexpensive, even when compounded. While exact costs will differ, the price for LDN tends to be lower than the current medications for conditions causing chronic pain.
Another key benefit of LDN is the mild side effects reported in many trials. The drug does not seem to increase the risk of heart attack, blood clots, ulcers, and related concerns that sometimes appear in those taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other common medications. The following are some side effects patients may encounter with LDN:
- Vivid dreams: This side effect occurs more frequently with earlier doses and then fades over time. These dreams do not seem to disrupt sleep in any significant way.
- Increased headaches: It appears headaches can happen slightly more often when taking LDN, but more studies are required to confirm this trend.
- Anxiety and tachycardia: These side effects have not been identified in research studies, but some physicians have reported the reactions in patients taking LDN.
Seek Compounded Low-Dose Naltrexone at HB Pharmacy
Patients interested in a low-dose naltrexone prescription tailored to their specific needs can find compounding services at HB Pharmacy. We utilize naltrexone powder from FDA-approved facilities to compound the drug for individualized dosages. Contact us to learn more about the uses of compounded LDN, or schedule a free, 15-minute wellness consultation today.