From Our Friends at Neurology Care in Colorado -
Naltrexone is an oral medication typically used to treat alcohol and opiate addiction. Some have suggested that low-dose naltrexone (LDN) might prevent MS attacks, help treat symptoms, and slow the overall course of the disease. Similar claims have been made for the use of LDN for treating AIDS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Bernard Bihari, a New York physician, was the first to suggest LDN treatment for many diseases, including MS.
Regular doses of Naltrexone are around 50 milligrams per day; LDN is between 1.5 and 4.5 milligrams per day. There are several theories about how LDN might produce beneficial effects. LDN may increase the production of endorphins, thus alleviating pain and improving mood. Alternatively, LDN may provide therapeutic benefit by decreasing the formation of free radicals, harmful chemicals that may damage nerve cells and other tissue.
Until recently, only anecdotal evidence for LDN treatment of MS was available. Several recent studies involving MS and EAE, an animal model of MS, have produced preliminary findings. Two recent studies in EAE have suggested that LDN decreases nervous system inflammation, immune cell activation, and overall disease severity.
A study of 80 people with MS was recently conducted at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). This study suggested that LDN treatment does not affect physical functioning, but does improve several measures of mental health and pain. A smaller Italian study focused primarily on the safety of LDN was recently published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis. LDN was generally well tolerated. This study also reported that LDN treatment was associated with decreased spasticity