Low dose naltrexone in treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS)
The experience of clinical use of low dose naltrexone (LDN), accumulated over the past few years, demonstrates its effectiveness in the preventing of the disease progression in MS patients. In addition, most such patients noted the decrease in muscle spasticity and in the feeling of chronic fatigue against the background of LDN administration.
Clinical evidence proves the undoubted effectiveness of LDN. 98 percent of patients receiving LDN did not have disease progression. Dr. Abraham Zukerman reported that out of the group of more than 70 MS patients under his supervision no one had experienced any disease progression; their condition had remained stable. The first MS patient who started the treatment LDN has had no exacerbations and disease progression for 12 years. Only once a patient complained on the deterioration of his condition against the background of taking LDN. However, the onset of the exacerbation had preceded the start of using LDN. Patients who started taking LDN in the midst of an acute exacerbation had a rapid symptomatic improvement in their condition.
In addition to the apparent ability of LDN to stop the progression of MS, about two-thirds of patients reported general improvement in their condition, usually occurring already in the first few days after the start of treatment.
At the same time, it should be specially emphasized that, despite the large number of clinical experience like those described below, in the absence of data obtained through a full clinical trial of LDN in MS, the results cannot be considered as strictly scientific. To confirm these results, a full-fledged clinical trial is needed, preferably by a pharmaceutical company with some experience with MS. A positive result can lead to widespread use of this extremely low-toxic drug for the treatment of MS.
Some clinical cases
Dr. Zukerman reported four cases of rapid clinical improvements in patients with MS, possibly associated with the use of LDN. Three of the patients were women whom Dr. Zukerman personally prescribed LDN.
Two years later, all four sustained stable condition. Since the report about them, a few dozen other patients have received LDN and have had a similar reduction in spasticity and chronic fatigue associated with MS.
In more detail, the cases reported by Dr. Zukerman were as follows.
A 31 years old female patient had a relapsing-remitting course of MS. She had developed slurred speech and difficulty in finding right words (dysphasia), as well as weakness in the arm and leg (hemiparesis). She started taking LDN, and after the first week of treatment her speech disorders decreased, her gait also improved, strength in the hand markedly grew.
A 44-year-old female patient had a secondary progressive course of MS. Some time ago she had reached the level of disability were she had to use walkers to move around the house. After three days of treatment by LDN she got up and went to the bathroom without using the walkers for the first time for two years. She also experienced a 20-30 percent improvement in coordination probably due to a decrease in muscle spasticity.
The third patient was a woman of about 50 years old who reported a prompt improvement in walking within four days after starting the use of LDN also probably because of a decrease in muscle spasticity.
The fourth case drew the attention of Dr. Zukerman in May 2003, when one of the patients called at his office to thank. She suffered from MS, during the last 10 years she was troubled by visual impairment in one eye which caused her to wear special glasses. Her neurologist prescribed her LDN three months earlier, and within two days binocular vision was fully regained. She also reported that she once did not take LDN for two days in a row, after which the problems with her eyesight returned; however, bad symptoms subsided in two days after the re-start of treatment.
LDN in a dose of 50 mg was approved for use for the treatment of heroin dependence by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1984. It is an opiate antagonist, and the mechanism of its action is the blockade of the opiate receptors in the brain, which are affected by heroin. When the drug was licensed, Dr. Zukerman, who then participated in drug dependence treatment programs, tried it in treating of over 50 addicts who stopped using heroin. He is considered to be one of the most experiences researches in using LDN.