Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is a special medication prepared by special pharmacies that has been used for years to treat immune dysfunction and auto-immune disorders.
It can be helpful in cancer, AIDS, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, Lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic fatigue/ fibromyalgia and other similar disorders. LDN has also been used with good results as a biomedical autism treatment for autistic children (ASD).
The main role of naltrexone is to block opioid receptors in the body. The result of the opioid block is that body compensates by producing even more of its natural endorphins which has desirable effects on the immune system. These feel-good chemicals can stay elevated for up to 18 hours.
Opioids can act as cytokines which are the major signal and communication network between cells of the immune system. By balancing cytokines aspects of the immune system known as Th1 and Th2 are brought back into balance. Th1 and Th2 imbalances are commonly a problem in autism. The inability to mount a sufficient Th1 response can result in chronic infections and cancer, while a dominant Th2 response can trigger allergy and play a role in auto- immune disease. Therefore, getting these immune components back in harmony can go a long way in promoting healthy immune function and preventing chronic illness. LDN has shown to be an effective biomedical autism treatment to do just this.
Side effects of LDN are minimal. There is no known toxicity associated with the medication. I have seen a few children experience a disturbance of sleep the first few nights after starting LDN, as well as some initial hyperactivity. However, this normally can be avoided by starting on ½ dose for the first few days. LDN as a biomedical autism treatment can be compounded into a transdermal form, which is easy to apply.
The benefits I hear most commonly from adult patients on LDN are improved sleep, decreased pain, better digestion, and general resolution or improvement of symptoms. For kids on the spectrum, parents report better mood, happier kids, improved sleep and behavioral gains.