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MS (Multiple Sclerosis) & LDN

What is MS (Multiple Sclerosis)?

A simplified way to understand multiple sclerosis is through the following analogy. Electronic devices are powered through a wire that runs from the device to a power-source. These wires consist of thin copper strands that conduct the electrical current, covered by insulating material like plastic that prevents electrons from leaving the current. Nerves in our body, also, are made up of thin fibers that conduct electricity wrapped up in insulating material known as myelin (a fatty white substance) to keep electrons on the right path.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease, meaning that it damages myelin, which in turn impairs the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body. In particular, MS tears away at the myelin that covers nerves in the brain, spinal cord, and eyes. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including vision loss, poor balance, mood swings, sharp pains, muscle weakness, cramping, spasms, and paralysis.

MS is the world’s most common autoimmune neurological disease, as over 2.5 million people globally have some form of MS. The cause of the disease is not yet confirmed, but it is thought to be either genetics or environmental factors such as a virus that prevents myelin-producing cells from functioning properly. There is no known cure. Treatments for MS include physical therapy, steroids, and immunosuppressive drugs.

What is LDN?

Naltrexone is a drug that was approved by the FDA in 1985 to treat opiate addiction and subsequently approved to treat alcoholism. Naltrexone is commonly used at a dose of 50 – 100 mg daily for treating opiate and alcohol dependency.

The term 'LDN' refers to the use of Naltrexone at low doses ­ less than 10 mg per day. LDN is a treatment discovered in 1980 by Drs. Ian Zagon and Patricia McLaughlin at Hershey Medical Center, Penn State University. Originally researched as a way to slow down the growth of cancer, LDN was found to work for certain autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis by Dr. Bernard Bihari.

LDN and MS (Multiple Sclerosis)

In 2008, a six-month pilot trial was conducted by the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Italy to test LDN on 40 patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). The primary goal was to see if LDN is a safe and tolerable treatment. The results of this trial showed that LDN is indeed safe and tolerable, and during the six-month period neurological disability progression was halted in all but one patient.

In 2010, University of California San Francisco conducted another pilot trial. 60 subjects with MS participated in the trial to assess LDN’s effects on mental health quality of life (QoL). The study results showed that LDN use was associated with a significant improvement in several mental health quality of life measures, including pain relief.

In 2015, the Jondi-Shapoor University of Medical Sciences performed a double-blind study to see how much LDN could improve quality of life for MS patients. In this trial, 96 MS patients were split into two groups. At the end of the 4-month trial, the authors concluded that LDN was a safe treatment, and proposed that a longer trial duration would be needed to show meaningful improvements in physical and mental health.

Various types of MS and their symptoms have been studied in both human and animal trials. These include relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and symptoms including pain, spasticity, fatigue, depression, clinically isolated syndrome, and quality of life (QoL).

Several animal trials have been conducted in order to try and identify the specific type of MS that is most likely to benefit from LDN. LDN shows signs of being a safe and promising candidate for treating MS, and is already being prescribed by hundreds of physicians worldwide for treating patients suffering from MS.

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