Have studies explored LDN therapy and MS?
In three small studies, LDN was found to be safe and well tolerated in patients with MS. A 6-month phase 2 study in Italy also showed that spasticity levels were significantly improved in patients with PPMS (n=40) who took 5mg of LDN daily. Five participants dropped out of the trial and two participants experienced major adverse events. One participant experienced increased disability. Common side effects included urinary tract infections, mild agitation, sleep disturbance, and increased liver enzymes (Gironi, 2008).
In a 17-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, crossover study in persons with RRMS or SPMS (n=96), no statistical difference was seen in things such as pain, energy, emotional well-being, social, cognitive, and sexual functions, role limitations, health distress, and overall quality of life in patients taking LDN compared to those taking placebo (Sharafaddinzadeh, 2010). However, researchers note that health perception scores were statistically different between the groups throughout the trial and suggest a longer trial is needed to determine LDN’s effect on quality of life for people with MS.
In an 8-week doubled-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, patients with MS taking 4.5mg LDN (n=80) reported significantly improved quality of life related to pain, mental health, and cognitive function (Cree, 2010). LDN had no impact on physical symptoms such as fatigue, visual function, or bowel, bladder, and sexual function. Unfortunately, complete data was only available for 60 of the original 80 participants due to dropouts and incomplete data which severely reduces the study’s statistical power.
In a pilot study funded by the National MS Society, low-dose naltrexone, but not high-dose naltrexone, was found to be protective against the development of signs of neurological disease in a mouse model of MS called experimental autoimmune encephalomy (EAE) (Zagon, 2009). In a follow-up study in mice, low doses of naltrexone were found to halt progression of the MS-like disease, reverse neurological deficits, prevent the onset of neurological dysfunction over time (Rahn, 2011).
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Have You Tried Low-Dose Naltrexone?