Naltrexone is a medication primarily used for the treatment of alcoholism and opioid addiction. Low Dose Naltrexone or LDN refers to the ‘off-label’ use of the medication for the treatment of various diseases including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS. It’s a fairly inexpensive medication and it has been found to be very helpful in the treatment of pain due to the condition.
This is how LDN works:
Endorphins are produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland and are naturally produced in response to pain or other forms of human activity like running or sex. Endorphins increase your pain threshold. We want them inside our cells, LDN works by blocking the receptors in your cells that allow natural endorphins in. In response, your body produces a lot more endorphins because it believes you are in short supply. LDN is tricking your body into making more endorphins. SO, with the increase of endorphins, your pain threshold increase also.
I will say this bluntly and right up front, if your doctor does not about the use of LDN for the treatment of CRPS, it may be time to find another doctor. This is not to insult your doctor at all, LDN for CRPS is just not that well known and he/she may not be aware. In these incidences, this is when you need to be your own Chief Executive Officer of your CRPS and take the reins of your treatment. LDN is not the miracle treatment we all have been looking for, but in a lot of CRPS patients, LDN does make a huge impact on pain levels. For me, when I went on LDN, it did help me immensely and I would recommend speaking with your doctor about it.
“Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) may well be the most important therapeutic breakthrough in over fifty years. It provides a new, safe and inexpensive method of medical treatment by mobilizing the natural defenses of one’s own immune system.
“LDN substantially reduces health care costs and improves treatment of a wide array of diseases. Unfortunately, because naltrexone has been without patent protection for many years, no pharmaceutical company will bear the expense of the large clinical trials necessary for FDA approval of LDN’s new special uses. It is now up to public institutions to seize the opportunity that LDN offers.”
-David Gluck, MD(see footnote)*
Another great thing about LDN is the low chance of any side effects because of the low dosage. The one side effect that is the most common is sleep disruption. You must be aware that LDN usually is used alongside other medications and there may be side effects caused by interactions with the other drugs. As always, if you do end taking LDN, make sure to speak with your doctor about ANY side effects you may be feeling.
*(footnote)- David Gluck, MD (NY Lic. #083512), is the editor of this website, ldninfo.org. He is a Board-certified specialist in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Gluck has served as medical director for JCPenney and MetLife, and is now semi-retired, living and working in New York City. [Ed. Note: Please do not confuse David Gluck, MD with an unrelated doctor of similar name in New York, David A. Gluck, who is a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology.]