Low Dose Naltrexone in AIDS, Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases
Low dose naltrexone (LDN) is a promising treatment for autism, Aids, cancer and autoimmune diseases. The costs are negligible and proponents say that the drug could help many, but clinical trials aren't in the interests of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Without further studies, there is no way to find how this drug supports the immune system.
Naltrexone in MS - Image: Auburn Journal.
Naltrexone is a drug that blocks the effects of opiate drugs and it was approved by the US FDA in 1984 for the treatment of addiction. Dr George O'Neil in Perth, Australia, has been very successful in treating addiction with naltrexone implants, a slow release form of the drug implanted under the skin, that will keep an addict free from the desire for the next fix for anywhere from three to six months. Usually this allows enough time for de-toxification and for a change in life circumstances, where the former addict can stay free of drugs even after the implant's effect wears off.
For the treatment of drug addiction, the usual dose of naltrexone is 50 mg per tablet but there is another use of the drug that seems not to have been found by the original research: In a low dose of 3 to 4.5 mg (milligrams), naltrexone acts to straighten out the immune system and to fight a wide range of diseases involving a immune malfunctions. In AIDS, low dose naltrexone (LDN) has been given by Dr. Bihari alone or together with the standard anti-retroviral treatment, with excellent results in both cases.
Jaquelyn McCandless and Jack Zimmerman are planning to extend that experimentation now, and they have set up a Yahoo Group (LDN in HIV AIDS) to share information about the trial and eventual outcomes. Here is the introductory message explaining what they are about to do:
- - -The LDN in HIVAIDS e-group is for those interested in use of low-dose naltrexone (LDN) in HIV+AIDS as carriers, those related to carriers, caretakers, health professionals or other helpers in the field. Autism as AIDS is a disorder of immune regulation; as an autism specialist, I found in an immune study in 2005 that LDN raised the CD4+ count in 16 weeks in the majority of autistic children and their parents. This and other information about LDN led me to take on coordination of a research study in Mali instigated several years ago by Dr. Bernard Bihari, the discoverer in 1985 of LDN’s beneficial effect in HIV+AIDS. The purpose of the clinical study is to investigate this drug’s effectiveness in preventing the progression of HIV+ status to full-blown AIDS.
LDN will be compared to HAART drugs and a group using both is part of the study; no placebos are to be used in this project.
I visited Mali with my husband Dr. Jack Zimmerman in December 2006 to meet the investigational team and inspect the laboratory facilities at the University of Bamako University Hospital where the study will take place. Jack is coordinating the social/cultural aspect of the study to help educate and use council groups for the participants on issues around HIV infectivity, gender imbalance being particularly important in the case of females who are increasingly and disproportionately being affected by the disease. Though we are still fund-raising, we are confident enough to go ahead and start the study; the 16 counselors started their council course on May 2-4, being taught by experienced trainers in council from South Africa. The IRB is being finalized soon, after which our research team will begin recruiting and evaluating the 250 participants for the study. We are planning to start the first group (20 will start each week until full) in mid-July. We are here to share and learn about LDN; welcome to all!!
Jaquelyn McCandless M.D. and Jack Zimmerman, PhD
According to this site, LDN has virtually no side effects. Occasionally, during the first week's use of LDN, patients may complain of some difficulty sleeping. This effect rarely persists after the first week and can usually be remedied, should it do so, by reducing the nightly dosage from 4.5mg to 3mg.
I am not one to advocate the use of medication and believe that proper nutrition and supplementation of vital elements as suggested by Dr. Harold Foster, should be the first choice for anyone testing positive on an 'HIV' test. But if AIDS sufferers can be spared at least some of the agony they experience when undergoing treatment with anti-retroviral drugs, and have better health outcomes to boot, it would appear a very worthwhile thing to substitute LDN for the rather damaging cocktail of toxic drugs given to anyone with a positive 'HIV' test.
LDN and Cancer
Here again, Dr. Bihari reports that giving low dose naltrexone to cancer patients, almost all of them having failed to respond to standard treatment, more than 60 % experienced substantial benefits. Types of cancer that responded, according to Dr. Bihari, to LDN treatment include* Bladder Cancer
* Breast Cancer
* Colon & Rectal Cancer
* Liver Cancer
* Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell)
* Lymphocytic Leukemia (chronic)
* Lymphoma (Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's)
* Malignant Melanoma
* Multiple Myeloma
* Ovarian Cancer
* Pancreatic Cancer
* Prostate Cancer (untreated)
* Renal Cell Carcinoma
* Throat Cancer
* Uterine Cancer
Low dose naltrexone has also been used with surprising results on some patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.
Autoimmune diseases that have responded to LDN treatment are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Behcet's syndrome, Wegener's granulomatosis, bullous pemphigoid, psoriasis, and Crohn's disease.Because LDN clearly halts progression in multiple sclerosis, its use has been more recently extended to other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) whose etiology remains unknown but for which there is suggestive evidence of a possible autoimmune mechanism.
In addition, people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome have had marked improvement using LDN, suggesting that these entities probably have an important autoimmune dynamic as well.
Perhaps I should add that naltrexone is not an expensive medication. There is a generic version, and low dose naltrexone can either be obtained by fracturing the 50 mg tablets, or it can be compounded in pharmacies.
What is missing are formal clinical trials for all the uses of LDN, but there is no great chance that a pharmaceutical company will embrace the treatment and perform the experiments, as little money is to be made from it. Better to sell expensive patented anti-retrovirals than a simple drug that is cheap to make, at least if we look at the pharmaceutical bottom line. It is a great pity, but this is how things work in our economic environment. If a pharmaceutical drug is not promising to bring in at least millions, it will at best be tolerated. Should a cheap drug interfere with other, more lucrative treatments, well ... I don't need to spell that out for you.
So if you are a medical doctor or are interested in any way in helping those suffering from AIDS and a series of other immune-related diseases, you might do well to get in contact with Jaquelyn McCandless M.D. through her yahoo group discussing the upcoming trial. Perhaps you can contribute to sneaking this promising treatment past pharma's guard dogs...
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Tuesday July 10 2007
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