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Low Dose Naltrexone, LDN, and Chronic Lyme Disease

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Low Dose Naltrexone, LDN, and Chronic Lyme Disease

Low Dose Naltrexone reduces cytokine levels and improves immune function in the body; it is helpful in relieving the chronic symptoms of pain, inflammation and auto-immune response in chronic Lyme Disease infections; these benefits can extend to fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS and even cancer.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through tick bites. The infection is most usually of Borrelial burgdorferi, although other Borrellia organisms may be involved.

Chronic Lyme disease is, however, most usually the result of multiple co-infections with other bacteria and parasites involved.

These multiple co-infections may suppress the immune system or may cause a nonspecific stimulation of the immune system, typically called an auto-immune system; either can lead to inflammation, pain, and immune system problems.

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is an FDA-approved ‘opiate antagonist’, and is primarily used to manage alcohol or opioid dependence. It can also be used to manage or block the effects of any narcotic medicines a person takes – e.g. prescription medicines for pain, cough, or diarrhoea.

Levels typically prescribed are 300 mg.

Naltrexone is sold under the brand names ReVia and Vivitrol among others.

An opioid-dependent person should not receive naltrexone before detoxification. It is taken by mouth or by injection into a muscle.

What is low Dose Naltrexone?

In a low dose – typically starting at 0.5 and increasing to 4.5 to 6 mg – it is referred to as ‘low dose naltrexone’. In this form it is proven to boost the immune system and can also provide pain relief.

It has been shown to help people with a variety of illnesses from Fibromyalgia to HIV/AIDS. A study from the University of Alabama(1) showed an 8 week course of 4.5 mg LDN before bed reduced inflammatory cytokines. This is important, for example, where Lyme disease patients with an erythema migrans rash have been found to have elevated levels of these cytokines and, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, these levels can remain high in patients even after three weeks of antibiotics.

Where LDN is used to help people manage the symptoms of Lyme Disease, it can:

  1. Decrease autoimmune illness triggered by the disease
    2. Improve nerve, muscle and inflammation pain,
    3. Lower cytokine inflammation, and
    4. Improve immune system function

Thus it can help manage or relieve symptoms but is not a cure for Lyme disease.

LDN also works with your body’s immune system by reacting with natural endorphins. Endorphins typically manage the stress hormone cortisol and restrict chronic inflammation in the body via the Cox-2 pathway. They play a role in mood, the immune system, pain relief, and even cellular growth and angiogenesis in cancer.

Go to: LDN and cancer


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5489802/