Naltrexone belongs to a class of drugs called opioid antagonists. It was approved by the FDA in 1984, at the 50 mg dose. At this approved dose, it works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking opioids from binding to these receptors. It basically prevents the feelings of well-being that people with an opioid addiction get when they take this pain medication. Because of its mechanism of action at this dosage, Naltrexone is used for the treatment of opioid and alcohol abuse.
In 1985, Bernard Bihari, MD, a physician in New York City, discovered the effects of using a lower dose of naltrexone (3-4.5 mg) in the body’s immune system. Recent trials also show the efficacy of Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for the treatment of immune-related conditions, including multiple sclerosis.
The mechanism of action of LDN is not fully understood, but researchers believe that, when it is administered at bedtime, the body responds to it by increasing endogenous endorphins and enkephalin leading to a boost in the immune system.
Because of its believed mechanism of action, LDN is used for many of the conditions listed below.
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