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Q & A: LDN - Who Is It For?

While no studies have been undertaken yet to address this question, a thought paper discussing this topic can be found here. A number of LDN researchers and physicians knowledgeable in its use are known to take or have taken LDN prophylactically because they believe that enhanced (better regulated) immune function may prevent the development of disease; those known to us are Dr. Burt Berkson (his interview in which he mentions taking LDN can be read here), Dr. David Gluck, and the late Dr. Bernard Bihari, among others.
Studies have demonstrated LDN’s effectiveness in treating cancer in animals. However, no clinical trials using LDN in humans have yet been conducted. Although there have been anecdotal reports of LDN being beneficial for cancer patients, and a laboratory study showing LDN may boost chemotherapy in certain circumstances, only clinical trials will be able to provide the true answer to this question. LDN’s beneficial effects are achieved through the “rebound effect” it causes (for details please see the explanatory section "How Does Low Dose Naltrexone Work?") and the levels of OGF produced during the rebound effect are not necessarily sufficient to slow down or control growth of large tumors.
There is evidence in the scientific literature that pain may be improved by taking LDN. Studies and reports of patients with a variety of conditions related to pain and/or inflammation (fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome/reflex sympathetic dystrophy, chronic refractory back pain, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome) have reported pain reduction among some patients. The amount of pain reduction spans a range, but has been reported as high as 65% in patients with active Crohn’s disease, and about 30% reduction among patients in the fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. For more information on the scientific literature addressing this topic, please refer to the specific studies listed on our “Clinical Trials, Case Series, and Case Reports” webpage.

LDN has been used to successfully treat patients with various diseases across many life stages, including childhood. LDN has been studied in formal clinical trials with children and adolescents, and its good safety profile has been repeatedly confirmed. LDN is becoming a more recognized alternative treatment for children with conditions like autism and Crohn's Disease. It has been called a “miracle drug” by many parents of ailing children and teens.

Examples of LDN studies in children can be found here:

Safety and Tolerability of Low-Dose Naltrexone Therapy in Children with Moderate to Severe Crohn's Disease: A Pilot Study.

Opioid Growth Factor (OGF) for Hepatoblastoma: A Novel Non-toxic Treatment.

Paper on possible causes of autism and the effect of LDN treatment.

According to some physicians it is. In LDNscience’s 2019 interview with rheumatologist Dr. Scott Zashin, he indicated that because there are no FDA-approved treatments yet for the musculoskeletal symptoms (including pain) and the fatigue of Sjӧgren's syndrome, it’s reasonable to consider LDN as a first-line treatment. A “first-line” treatment means that a medication is one of the top choices to try first, before moving on to other treatments. Although acknowledging that clinical trials are necessary to better answer this question, Dr. Zashin stated that some patients may prefer what appears to be a more benign side effect profile of LDN, as opposed to the known side effects from corticosteroids, methotrexate, or Plaquenil®.
"No studies have so far examined this issue. However some physicians prescribe LDN to help women conceive and/or carry their pregnancies to term, and there have been no observed abnormalities among the resulting children. An interview related to this topic can be found here.
There is no published data we are aware of regarding LDN and Hashimoto's, but we have heard anecdotal evidence of people reporting (sometimes significant) improvement.
We don’t yet know if LDN will lessen illnesses. There is no compatibility issue we know of in taking LDN with biologic drugs.
LDN is rapidly metabolized and excreted from the body, within a few hours at most. Its beneficial effect in autoimmune disease is as result of it tricking the body into producing large amounts of OGF - which act as an immuno-suppressant/modulator. However, if the dose of LDN being used is too high, this making it Naltrexone treatment rather than Low Dose Naltrexone, it could definitely exacerbate the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. This is because the continuous presence of Naltrexone will block production of OGF on a continuous basis. OGF is needed to keep the immune system in order.
LDN can and has been used in animals. However as animals have a different metabolic rates than humans, a veterinarian should be consulted for the appropriate dose needed. Read about animal success stories with LDN.
On the LDN information pages "What is LDN Used For?", we show a list of conditions on which LDN has been studied in clinical trials and/or observed by physicians as reported within the scientific literature. Furthermore, we show a list of conditions on which LDN has been reported to be effective based on the reports received in the User's Stories section of our website. Please check back regularly to see if there any updates that include your condition.
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