The Verdict in My Low Dose Naltrexone Experiment
It’s been just over two years since I started taking Low Dose Naltrexone to help manage my AS.
LDN is a somewhat controversial, off-label prescription that is well known in the integrative and functional medicine world (you can read about it in a previous article I wrote here.)
The controversy around LDN is not because it’s a dangerous medication or one with a lot of side effects; its commonly regarded as very safe. The problem lies in the lack of evidence as to why this drug (originally designed for use in addiction) is proving so successful for people with autoimmune disease.
Naltrexone is also an old drug with expired patents, so no one stands to make much money promoting a fractional dosage with results that aren’t research-backed.
Having come across countless positive anecdotes and a strong recommendation from a doctor I trusted, I figured I had nothing to lose in trying it for myself. After a few months of taking the drug my doctor checked in to ask how I was progressing. I suspected LDN was helping my baseline inflammation but it was always hard to pinpoint.
I hadn’t experienced a flare since I started on the medication but I was also working hard on many aspects of my life, from diet to movement to stress management and more. All of these efforts had added up over the years to put me in a much better place with my health generally and AS specifically.
I started to think I’d found the perfect combination and that LDN had probably been the last piece of the puzzle in getting on top of my symptoms and keeping pain at bay.
Bad timing and pain
Around July my doctor went on extended leave due to his own health issues and my prescription ran out. It was bad timing as I had no stockpile of the medication and knew of no one else who could order it for me. Not overly bothered, I decided it was worth the experiment to take a break from the drug and see what happened.
Within two weeks my pain and inflammation spiked. It really took me by surprise and reminded me of just how well I’d been doing over the past two years. I put myself back onto daily NSAIDs so I could sleep and function. While these did settle the pain, they also brought with them my least favorite side effects; brain fog and depression.
I’ve never liked the way NSAID’s affect my mood and clarity but I also know they are a valuable tool to have in my toolkit for getting on top of pain fairly fast. I was certainly grateful for them around this time in spite of the downsides.
It was around 8 weeks before I could get back on my regular dose of LDN. I quickly exchanged one medication for the other and within two weeks I was back to feeling pain-free and great again.
A worthwhile experiment
The gap in taking LDN was inconvenient and frustrating but also a highly worthwhile experiment for me to take. I know now exactly what difference this is making in my day-to-day life and intend to stay on it for as long as possible if it continues to keep me well. I know of people who have taken it for 10-15 years with no ill effects and hope this will be my experience too.
As with any medication, the more I can improve my general health the more likely I am to get benefit from the drug. This motivates me to keep up my positive lifestyle habits and continue to give myself the best possible chance at remaining in good health.
I’m always happy to share my experience with LDN as I feel it’s a very under-utilized and little-known resource in our community with huge potential benefits.
What do you think? Is LDN something you wish your doctor was talking about?
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