Author Linda Elsgood: The LDN Book
Q: Can you briefly describe what Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is, and in general how it works?
A: LDN works by transiently, or temporarily, blocking the body’s opioid receptors. This causes an increase in the production of natural endorphins—the body’s own natural painkiller—which promotes healing, inhibits cell growth, and reduces inflammation. LDN can be beneficial in the treatment of everything from cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and various autoimmune diseases, to autism, depression, and chronic pain.
Q: For those readers who may be unaware, could you explain what is meant by the “off-label” use of a prescription drug? What other drugs, more commonly used than LDN, are prescribed “off-label”?
A. Doctors are used to prescribing medications for purposes other than what they were initially intended to treat. For example, Gabapentin, which is primarily used to treat epilepsy, is often prescribed to patients with depression, nerve pain, migraines, and even multiple sclerosis. LDN is described as “off label” because Naltrexone in much higher doses was approved for the purpose of treating opioid and alcohol addiction. It is legal to prescribe drugs off-label but the prescribing doctor must take full responsibility. In the case of Naltrexone has only been found to be harmful to the liver in doses of 300mg a day. Low Dose Naltrexone is normally prescribed at only 3 to 4.5mg a day, and therefore many doctors are happy to prescribe it given the low incidence of side effects.
Q: Briefly, could you describe what your experience taking LDN has been?
A: I’ve been taking LDN for over 12 years to treat my multiple sclerosis. I’m not the same as I was before having MS but I still have a good quality of life. LDN has given me my life back.
Q:How do you view the current state of LDN research? Since you started the LDN Research Trust, has the amount of research being undertaken progressed or increased?
A: Small trials and studies are being carried out all the time on LDN, and we are awaiting a new paper on the effects of LDN on cancer, which will be published out in February 2016. This should bring our understanding of LDN to an exciting new level, and not just for cancer. That being said, clinical research on LDN has increased enormously since the LDN Research Trust was formed back in 2004, as more and more doctors and pharmacists have learned about LDN and supported its research.
Q: LDN is extremely affordable and there are few reported side effects. In your opinion, why has this drug not received more attention from the medical community?
A: Until full clinical trials have been carried out, there will always be doctors very cautious about prescribing. Clinical trials are normally funded and driven by big drug companies, which are reluctant to do so for generic drugs that do not have the potential for huge profits.
Q: The LDN Research Trust has over 19,000 members at the time of this writing. What are some of the most common conditions that Trust members are turning to LDN to help treat, and what factors do you feel contribute to patients seeking to learn more about LDN?
A: We also have over 13,000 followers on our Facebook group. I would say that approximately one third of our members and followers use LDN to treat MS, but other common conditions are fibromyalgia, ME/CFS (myalgic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syndrome), Crohn’s disease, cancer, different forms of arthritis, and chronic pain. When you are diagnosed with a chronic condition, or conditions, it is frightening and scary. Suddenly you can feel as if you’re living in a parallel universe where nothing seems the same as it was before. Then to be told that nothing more can be done for you after standard treatments that either don’t work, present awful side effects, or both, well it’s easy to see what leads people to do their own research. Since LDN is highly visible on the Internet, it is easier these days for people to find answers to their health questions.
Q: Over the years, I’m sure you’ve heard hundreds of inspiring stories from people who have benefitted from taking LDN; are there any that stand out in particular?
A: So many wonderful success stories have left big impressions. Among them was a lady with Crohn’s who at 36 was so ill that she was literally about to have her bowels removed and fitted with a colostomy bag, when she started to panic and requested to go home and not have the operation. She was told that she would die without it, but she started treatment with LDN, and after five months her Crohn’s was gone. She even went on to have another child. Over five hundred patient testimonials are available to view on our Vimeo channel: www.vimeo.com/ldnresearchtrust.
Q: The LDN Book features a wonderful appendix of recommendations for how patients should broach the subject of LDN with their physicians. But what one single piece of advice would you give to doctors who are wary of prescribing LDN?
A: The LDN Book is a great place to start, and I would suggest they make time to read it, and then conduct their own research into LDN and the very good information already available.
Q: Where can patients go for more information about LDN?
A: Our website is www.ldnresearchtrust.org. Patients, doctors, and pharmacists can all find a wealth of information there.
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