The Major Studies on LDN—Low Dose Naltrexone
1. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2009 Nov;234(11):1383-92.
Endogenous opioids regulate expression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis: a new paradigm for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Zagon IS, Rahn KA, Turel AP, McLaughlin PJ.
Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, H109, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Drive, Room C3729, Hershey, PA 17033, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Preclinical investigations utilizing murine experimental auto-immune encephalomyelitis (EAE), as well as clinical observations in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), may suggest alteration of endogenous opioid systems in MS. In this study we used the opioid antagonist naltrexone (NTX) to invoke a continuous (High Dose NTX, HDN) or intermittent (Low Dose NTX, LDN) opioid receptor blockade in order to elucidate the role of native opioid peptides in EAE. A mouse model of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced EAE was employed in conjunction with daily treatment of LDN (0.1 mg/kg, NTX), HDN (10 mg/kg NTX), or vehicle (saline). No differences in neurological status (incidence, severity, disease index), or neuropathological assessment (activated astrocytes, demyelination, neuronal injury), were noted between MOG-induced mice receiving HDN or vehicle. Over 33% of the MOG-treated animals receiving LDN did not exhibit behavioral signs of disease, and the severity and disease index of the LDN-treated mice were markedly reduced from cohorts injected with vehicle. Although all LDN animals demonstrated neuropathological signs of EAE, LDN-treated mice without behavioral signs of disease had markedly lower levels of activated astrocytes and demyelination than LDN- or vehicle-treated animals with disease. These results imply that endogenous opioids, evoked by treatment with LDN and acting in the rebound period from drug exposure, are inhibitory to the onset and progression of EAE, and suggest that clinical studies of LDN are merited in MS and possibly in other autoimmune disorders.
PMID: 19855075 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
2. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Mar;72(3):333-7. Epub 2008 Nov 28.
Low-dose naltrexone for disease prevention and quality of life.
Brown N, Panksepp J.
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL 32114, United States. NPHbrown@aol.com
The use of low-dose naltrexone (LDN) for the treatment and prophylaxis of various bodily disorders is discussed. Accumulating evidence suggests that LDN can promote health supporting immune-modulation which may reduce various oncogenic and inflammatory autoimmune processes. Since LDN can upregulate endogenous opioid activity, it may also have a role in promoting stress resilience, exercise, social bonding, and emotional well-being, as well as amelioration of psychiatric problems such a autism and depression. It is proposed that LDN can be used effectively as a buffer for a large variety of bodily and mental ailments through its ability to beneficially modulate both the immune system and the brain neurochemistries that regulate positive affect.
PMID: 19041189 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
3. Mult Scler. 2008 Sep;14(8):1076-83.
A pilot trial of low-dose naltrexone in primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Gironi M, Martinelli-Boneschi F, Sacerdote P, Solaro C, Zaffaroni M, Cavarretta R, Moiola L, Bucello S, Radaelli M, Pilato V, Rodegher M, Cursi M, Franchi S, Martinelli V, Nemni R, Comi G, Martino G.
Institute of Experimental Neurology (INSPE) and Department of Neurology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina 58, Milan, Italy.
A sixth month phase II multicenter-pilot trial with a low dose of the opiate antagonist Naltrexone (LDN) has been carried out in 40 patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). The primary end points were safety and tolerability. Secondary outcomes were efficacy on spasticity, pain, fatigue, depression, and quality of life. Clinical and biochemical evaluations were serially performed. Protein concentration of beta-endorphins (BE) and mRNA levels and allelic variants of the mu-opiod receptor gene (OPRM1) were analyzed. Five dropouts and two major adverse events occurred. The remaining adverse events did not interfere with daily living. Neurological disability progressed in only one patient. A significant reduction of spasticity was measured at the end of the trial. BE concentration increased during the trial, but no association was found between OPRM1 variants and improvement of spasticity. Our data clearly indicate that LDN is safe and well tolerated in patients with PPMS.
PMID: 18728058 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
4. Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Apr;102(4):820-8. Epub 2007 Jan 11.
Low-dose naltrexone therapy improves active Crohn's disease.
Smith JP, Stock H, Bingaman S, Mauger D, Rogosnitzky M, Zagon IS.
Department of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, USA.
OBJECTIVES: Endogenous opioids and opioid antagonists have been shown to play a role in healing and repair of tissues. In an open-labeled pilot prospective trial, the safety and efficacy of low-dose naltrexone (LDN), an opioid antagonist, were tested in patients with active Crohn's disease. METHODS: Eligible subjects with histologically and endoscopically confirmed active Crohn's disease activity index (CDAI) score of 220-450 were enrolled in a study using 4.5 mg naltrexone/day. Infliximab was not allowed for a minimum of 8 wk prior to study initiation. Other therapy for Crohn's disease that was at a stable dose for 4 wk prior to enrollment was continued at the same doses. Patients completed the inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire (IBDQ) and the short-form (SF-36) quality of life surveys and CDAI scores were assessed pretreatment, every 4 wk on therapy and 4 wk after completion of the study drug. Drug was administered by mouth each evening for a 12-wk period. RESULTS: Seventeen patients with a mean CDAI score of 356 +/- 27 were enrolled. CDAI scores decreased significantly (P= 0.01) with LDN, and remained lower than baseline 4 wk after completing therapy. Eighty-nine percent of patients exhibited a response to therapy and 67% achieved a remission (P < 0.001). Improvement was recorded in both quality of life surveys with LDN compared with baseline. No laboratory abnormalities were noted. The most common side effect was sleep disturbances, occurring in seven patients. CONCLUSIONS: LDN therapy appears effective and safe in subjects with active Crohn's disease. Further studies are needed to explore the use of this compound.
PMID: 17222320 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]