Given that research has shown that low dose naltrexone (LDN) can have powerful immune modulating effects, it would seem worthwhile to examine the use of low dose naltrexone in patients who are afflicted with IBS and IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease. The two main types of IBD, Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, can lead to debilitating complications and often leave patients with a lowered quality of life. While certain prescription medications can often lead to decreased symptoms and improved quality of life for patients, they may do so at the cost of side effects that can be intolerable to come patients. While the use of low dose naltrexone in Crohn’s and UC is not meant in any way to replace traditional prescription medications that are approved to treat these conditions, some patients may benefit from LDN therapy.
One open-label pilot study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that Crohn’s patients who received 4.5mg of low dose naltrexone once daily at bedtime. In this study, 89% of patients responded to therapy, while 67% achieved a remission in symptoms. It should be noted that in this study, low dose naltrexone was added on to a patients current medication therapy.
Another recent systematic review looked at 2 different studies – one in adults and one in pediatric patients with Crohn’s disease. In both studies, both adult and pediatric patients received a dose of 4.5mg of naltrexone, which as we’ve discussed before is often considered the “gold standard” in terms of dose for low dose naltrexone. Each study produced outcomes that appear promising concerning the use of low dose naltrexone in helping ease Crohn’s symptoms. For example, the study in adult patients found that 83% of patients who received low dose naltrexone reported improvements on a 70 point clinical response rate scale, compared to only 38% of patients who got a placebo drug. Additionally, 72% of patients achieved an endoscopic response, compared to 25% of patients who were given a placebo.
The great news is that in both studies, patients didn’t report any serious side effects, and no patients dropped out of the study for any reason. While the author of this review concluded that no firm conclusions could be drawn, it’s easy to see that low dose naltrexone could be of some benefit to patients currently suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Another recently completed clinical trial examined the use of low dose naltrexone in patients with active Crohn’s disease. Over the course of 3 months, patients were split into two groups, with one group receiving placebo treatment and then low dose naltrexone, and the other simply receiving LDN from the start of the study. By the end of the the 12 week period, 88% of patients who had received low dose naltrexone experienced at least a 70 point decline in CDAI scores ( a scoring system used to measure the severity of Crohn’s disease). Patients who received low dose naltrexone also experienced remarkable improvements as seen by Histology Inflammation Scores via colon biopsy. This has lead researchers to believe that low dose naltrexone actively works to potentially reduce GI inflammation and enhance healing in patients with active Crohn’s.
Given the fact that patients generally don’t experience any side effects from low dose naltrexone therapy, it would seem worthwhile then that LDN is a reasonable option to consider adding on to a patient’s therapy regimen. Several studies suggest that low dose naltrexone may be a valuable therapy option to consider in a patient with active Crohn’s disease or IBS. Additionally, patients that suffer from Ulcerative Colitis may also find benefit in low dose naltrexone therapy, given LDN’s ability to help modulate the immune system and possibly decrease pro-inflammatory compounds. Contact Trinova Health today to find out how we may be able to help!
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