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Might Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) Help P?
from Linni

Ed:  I posted this on the PsorChat board but no one seems interested.  Would you care to take a look at it and see what you think?  I was hoping someone would call Dr. Bihari and try to get some info on its effectiveness for psoriasis and report back to all of us.

[From PsorChat posting:]  Have any of you considered trying LDN for psoriasis? I believe a lot of people with MS are using it to stop the progression of their disease.

According to the web site http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/ it is useful for psoriasis. They say LDN boosts the immune system which seems like something you wouldn't want to do with psoriasis but if you read on the reasoning behind this is explained.

Naltrexone is a prescription medication and the site is non-profit.  They aren't trying to sell anything. Take a look and see what you think. 




Ed’s Response:  It’s a very compelling web site.  I think I may understand the complicated relationship between “opioid-induced immunomodulation” and the possibility of improvement for overactive immune conditions like psoriasis — but I’ll re-read a few times and try to do some more research. 

Some of our most popular P treatments were derived from just the kind of associations this web site describes for LDN.  Cyclosporine was found to be effective against P when organ transplant patients who happened to flake improved on cyclo they were taking to prevent organ rejection.  Methotrexate was and is a cancer drug first but also found to palliate P and P-arthritis....  The list goes on.  The test that got underway in Hershey, PN, this year to determine if LDN had a clinically significant impact on Crohn’s disease is also of interest.  Crohn’s and P have often been associated as closely linked to the same kind of immune dysfunction.

The website you refer to quotes this from the November 13, 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine:

Opioid-Induced Immune Modulation: ... Preclinical evidence indicates overwhelmingly that opioids alter the development, differentiation, and function of immune cells, and that both innate and adaptive systems are affected.  Bone marrow progenitor cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, immature thymocytes and T cells, and B cells are all involved.  The relatively recent identification of opioid-related receptors on immune cells makes it even more likely that opioids have direct effects on the immune system.

It is perhaps worth noting that our current raft of biologic drugs for P work by interfering with the protein-generation and response patterns of some of these same cells. 

In short, thanks for bringing this to our attention, Linni.  I saw it first on PsorChat and apologize for not responding directly and sooner.  Please keep us apprized of anything else you learn.  And I would be most interested in hearing from any other readers with knowledge about low dose naltrexone. –Ed

P.S. – In the U.S. Naltrexone hydrochloride is marketed as the prescription drug ReVia to treat alcohol and drug addiction.

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