Cancer Treatment – Naltrexone
FDA-approved naltrexone, in a low dose, can boost the immune system — helping those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and central nervous system disorders.
Naltrexone itself was approved by the FDA in 1984 in a 50mg dose for the purpose of helping heroin or opium addicts, by blocking the effect of such drugs. By blocking opioid receptors, naltrexone also blocks the reception of the opioid hormones that our brain and adrenal glands produce: beta-endorphin and metenkephalin. Many body tissues have receptors for these endorphins and enkephalins, including virtually every cell of the body’s immune system.
In 1985, Bernard Bihari, MD, a physician with a clinical practice in New York City, discovered the effects of a much smaller dose of naltrexone (approximately 3mg once a day) on the body’s immune system. He found that this low dose, taken at bedtime, was able to enhance a patient’s response to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. [Note: Subsequently, the optimal adult dosage of LDN has been found to be 4.5mg.]
In the mid-1990’s, Dr. Bihari found that patients in his practice with cancer (such as lymphoma or pancreatic cancer) could benefit, in some cases dramatically, from LDN. In addition, people who had an autoimmune disease (such as lupus) often showed prompt control of disease activity while taking LDN.
Naltrexone -Crohn’s Disease
“Low-Dose Naltrexone Therapy Improves Active Crohn’s Disease,” in the January issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology (2007;102:1–9), officially presents LDN to the world of scientific medicine. Smith, Professor of Gastroenterology at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine, found that two-thirds of the patients in her pilot study went into remission and fully 89% of the group responded to treatment to some degree. She concluded that “LDN therapy appears effective and safe in subjects with active Crohn’s disease.”
Witness these statements from a review article of medical progress in the November 13, 2003 issue of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine: “Opioid-Induced Immune Modulation: …. Preclinical evidence indicates overwhelmingly that opioids alter the development, differentiation, and function of immune cells, and that both innate and adaptive systems are affected.1,2 Bone marrow progenitor cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, immature thymocytes and T cells, and B cells are all involved. The relatively recent identification of opioid-related receptors on immune cells makes it even more likely that opioids have direct effects on the immune system.3″
Taking LDN at bedtime each night briefly blocks opioid receptors between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and is believed to produce a prolonged up-regulation of vital elements of the immune system by causing an increase in endorphin and enkephalin production. Normal volunteers who have taken LDN in this fashion have been found to have much higher levels of beta-endorphins circulating in their blood in the following days. Animal research by I. Zagon, PhD, and his colleagues has shown a marked increase in metenkephalin levels as well.
Endorphins make us feel good when they are blocked you feel bad but are asleep. The bodies natural homeostatic mechanism, rebounds and increases endorphine when the Naltrexone wears off and the effect would be to feel better but that is not the purpose. Preclinical evidence indicates overwhelmingly that opioids alter the development, differentiation, and function of immune cells, and that both innate and adaptive systems are affected. Bone marrow progenitor cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, immature thymocytes and T cells, and B cells are all involved. The relatively recent identification of opioid-related receptors on immune cells makes it even more likely that opioids have direct effects on the immune system.
So an increase in beta-endorphins stimulates the immune system and that boost can alter the outcome and progression of cancer and autoimmune disorders. In human cancer, research by Zagon over many years has demonstrated inhibition of a number of different human tumors in laboratory studies by using endorphins and low dose naltrexone. It is suggested that the increased endorphin and enkephalin levels, induced by LDN, work directly on the tumors’ opioid receptors — and, perhaps, induce cancer cell death (apoptosis). In addition, it is believed that they act to increase natural killer cells and other healthy immune defenses against cancer.
The treatment probably should be continued for a lifetime, as some patients who obtained complete remission on the treatment, had a recurrence after stopping the naltrexone. Some of these patients were able to obtain a second remission when the medication was restarted
The Naltrexone treatment seems to work by causing the body to secrete endorphins (metenkephalin and beta-endorphin), which attach to cancers having opiate receptors, shrinking the tumors and inhibiting their growth. Low dose naltrexone may also help cancer patients by up regulating opioid receptors in cancer cells. When metenkephalin and/or beta-endorphins, are attached to cancer cells while they are dividing, it seems to stimulate a process of programmed cell death or apoptosis, thus killing some cancer cells. Low dose naltrexone may also work by so stimulating certain immune system cells that tend to kill cancer cells, including T4 and natural killer cells.
Optimal adult dosage of LDN has been found to be 4.5mg
One of the first pharmacies to compound LDN was Irmat Pharmacy in Manhattan. Their recent price for a one-month’s supply of 4.5mg LDN (30 capsules) was $38. Irmat does monthly quality control testing on its LDN, accepts prescriptions from any licensed physician, checks for insurance coverage, and includes shipment anywhere in the US or to other countries. In contrast, Gideon’s Drugs charges only $15 for a one month’s supply of 4.5mg LDN but it does not accept insurance and it will charge for shipment.
Where to Buy LDN
Pharmacy Phone Fax
Irmat Pharmacy, New York, NY (212) 685-0500
(800) 975-2809 (212) 532-6596
Gideon’s Drugs, New York, NY (212) 575-6868 (212) 575-6334
The Compounder Pharmacy, Aurora, IL (630) 859-0333
(800) 679-4667 (630) 859-0114
The Pharmacy Shop and
Compounding Center, Canandaigua, NY (585) 396-9970
(800) 396-9970 (585) 396-7264
McGuff Compounding Pharmacy,
Santa Ana, CA (714) 438-0536
(877) 444-1133 (877) 444-1155
Skip’s Pharmacy, Boca Raton, FL (561) 218-0111
(800) 553-7429 (561) 218-8873
Smith’s Pharmacy, Toronto, Canada (416) 488-2600
(800) 361-6624 (416) 484-8855
Dickson Chemist, Glasgow, Scotland +44-141-647-8032
IMPORTANT: Make sure to specify that you do NOT want LDN in a slow-release form.