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Low Dose Naltrexone Associated With Reduced Medication Use In Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Evidence is emerging that Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has a valid place in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Naltrexone is pain receptor blocker. I use high doses of its relative Narcan to revive people with overdoses from pain killers in the hospital. In very low doses it has multiple interesting beneficial effects on the body including anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-cancer and more. 

This study was creatively undertaken with prescription data from over 500 patients with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory gut condition that causes pain, bleeding and often necessitates the use of potent steroids and anti-inflammatories and immunotherapies (with all their potential side effects). About half of the patients were on LDN and the other half were not treated with LDN. The researchers could see the prescriptions filled by both groups and noted some distinct differences.

The LDN group filled about half the amount of steroids (44% and 53% reductions in Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis patients). Overall there was a 12% reduction of their filling (and presumed need) of all medications. This study is done in Norway where access to health care and prescriptions are not a potential confounding issue. LDN was associated with less use of anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressants. There are several helpful lifestyle modifications and natural medications to help manage Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease and now there is even more exciting evidence that LDN is a cornerstone of treatment.