Low-dose naltrexone (LDN): A promising treatment in immune-related diseases and cancer therapy

Updated: Feb 1

Abstract


Naltrexone, a non-selective antagonist of opioid receptors, is mainly used as rehabilitation therapy for discharged opiate addicts to eliminate addiction in order to maintain a normal life and prevent or reduce relapse. In recent years, there have been some novel and significant findings on the off-label usage of naltrexone. Within a specific dosage window, LDN can act as an immunomodulator in multiple autoimmune diseases and malignant tumors as well as alleviate the symptoms of some mental disorders. The results of increasing studies indicate that LDN exerts its immunoregulatory activity by binding to opioid receptors in or on immune cells and tumor cells. These new discoveries indicate that LDN may become a promising immunomodulatory agent in the therapy for cancer and many immune-related diseases. In this article, we review the pharmacological functions and mechanisms of LDN as well as its clinical therapeutic potential as revealed by our team and other researchers.


[Low dose naltrexone for treatment of pain]

[Article in Danish]

Karin Bruun Plesner , Henrik Bjarke Vægter, Gitte Handberg

PMID: 26509454

Abstract Recent years have seen an increasing interest in the use of low dose naltrexone (LDN) for off-label treatment of pain in diseases as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and morbus Crohn. The evidence is poor, with only few randomized double-blind placebo-controlled studies. The studies currently available are reviewed in this paper. LDN could be a potentially useful drug in the future for the treatment of pain in fibromyalgia, but more studies are needed to verify that it is superior to placebo, and currently it cannot be recommended as first-line therapy.

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