This is in no way to be taken as medical advice, but rather information that can be used to discuss options with your doctor. Always seek medical advice before trying something new for your thyroid health.
Why I Started Using Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Three years ago I fell into a deep depression or at least I thought that is what it was. I could not move and would lay around just watching TV. In fact, I watched all of Grey’s Anatomy in about four months. To sum it up, Grey’s Anatomy is all about sex, medical emergencies, more sex, and death. LOL!
On a more serious note, what I was really experiencing was the side effects of undiagnosed Hashimoto’s. To learn more about Hashimoto’s, read the article below.
I was put on Levothyroxine and still did not feel well. I joined thyroid groups and started researching other options. However, no matter what options I found, I knew I had to find the right doctor.
If you are not sure how to find the right doctor, read how to find the right doctor in my article mentioned above.
I found a great doctor on Stopthethyroidmadness.com. Not only has my doctor helped me but she has helped my mom find answers to her health. I cannot stress how important it is to find the right doctor.
Depression is a symptom of Hashimoto’s. However, if you go to a therapist or psychiatrist who does not specialize in thyroid disorders, you will be treated for depression. This will do nothing to treat your thyroid problems.
I tried a couple of different medications and even ended up going to Hyperthyroidism. I could tell because I became a super mom and had a rapid heart rate. Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland produces too much hormone.
The difficult part of this auto-immune disease is trying to find the sweet spot where the thyroid numbers are optimal. I finally found that with Armour.
However, while trying to find my sweet spot, I also discovered Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). If you have never heard of this drug, don’t worry because most people have not. I came across LDN when I was researching thyroid symptoms and medications.
I have been on LDN for about a year, feeling amazing, and living my best life. Here is what you need to know about LDN.
LDN started as an opioid antagonist and used to treat people with addictions such as heroin. When used for this purpose, LDN is used at a much higher dose of 50 mg. It was also used to help treat alcohol addiction and is used for this purpose even today.
In 1985 Dr. Bernard Bihari discovered that LDN worked to normalize the immune system in people with AIDS/HIV. Since this discovery, doctors have been using LDN to treat a wide variety of auto-immune diseases and untreatable diseases (5).
LDN has been used to treat the following:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Grave’s Disease
- Certain cancers
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Chronic Pain
- Lyme disease
Basically, any disease that lowers your immune system, LDN may help. To find out more about the history, look up Dr. Bernard Bihari and you will find a lot of interviews and research explaining why LDN helps to treat certain diseases.
So How Does LDN Work?
Patients have prescribed a recommended dose between 1.5 – 4.5 mg to help boost a person’s immune system and increase the production of endorphins (5). LDN is typically taken at night but some people have found an increased benefit to taking it in the morning or mid-day. Personally, LDN helps me sleep so I take it at night.
LDN cannot be found in traditional pharmacies and has to be produced by a compounding pharmacy. Not all doctors prescribe LDN. In order to find one, you can find a compounding pharmacy and see if they recommend any doctors that prescribe LDN.
For the most part, people I have encountered with Hashimoto’s take LDN in capsule form but it also comes in other forms such as a lotion.
Side Effects and Dosage
The common side effects of LDN seem to be nausea, headache, and sleep disturbances like vivid dreams. I did not have any side effects and I started at 1.5 mg for a couple of weeks, then moved up to 3 for another two weeks and now I am at 4.5mg.
Like thyroid hormone, everyone is different and will need to be at a different dose. This is something you will need to work with your doctor to determine.
LDN is not covered by my insurance but it is affordable. I pay $100 for a 90 day supply and I have heard other people in my thyroid group have obtained a prescription for cheaper.
In my opinion, LDN is not a cure-all. However, in addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising, I believe it can be a great addition to help improve quality of life.
To find out more about LDN, check out these resources:
These are all great books. The LDN Book was written by Linda Elsegood, who also founded The LDN Research Trust. They have a website full of information and I encourage you to purchase and read the linked books to understand LDN and where it can fit into your journey.
Additional Resources include:
- Isabella Wentz website and LDN articles
- Thyroid Facebook groups
1 – http://www.aace.com/pub/thyroidbrochures/pdfs/Hashimoto.pdf. 2005. Accessed May 25, 2010.
5 – todayspractitioner.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Bernard-Bihari-MD-Low-dose-Naltrexone-for-Normalizing-Immune-System-Function-athm_19_2_bihari_56_65.pdf