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An immune modulator
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Effects of Naltrexone on Immune cells from blood counts - NK, T and B cells

Naltrexone is usually used for the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addicts, however at much lower doses it is also capable of modulating the immune system.

It appears to be useful for some CFS patients, specifically those who seem to be deficient in their Cell Mediated Immunity, which usually means those who are plagued by allergies and sensitivities. Advocates suggest that Naltrexone is useful for cancer, HIV and autoimmune conditions.

On this page I show graphs of my blood counts for the 10 years before I started Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) and for the couple of years afterwards.

The dosage was taken from the work of Dr Bihari with his AIDS and CFS patients - I took 3mg each evening for the entire period from October 1998 to 2001 - that is, for about 2 1/2 years.

At this point, look at the graphs of my NK and T cell counts. Click here to open the graphs in a new window while you continue reading.

You can see that before starting LDN, my T and NK cells were on a consistent descending path, and by 1998 most were outside "normal" limits. The change after starting LDN can only be described as impressive for the first year. Although there is no way of knowing if this is coincidence or due to some other change, I am fairly convinced that the changes were in fact due to Naltrexone, partly because the changes were so consistent from exactly that time - every test was better than the last. Look at the trend lines I have drawn over the graphs. B-cells have been completely unaffected throughout.

Note that nothing in particular was observable in the short term after starting LDN, and that it took around 6 months before improvement was measured.

Note also however that on my last test in Mid-2000, things had gone back to around the starting point - shown as red data point. I have no idea why this is so, but can say that I still feel and perform generally better than before the LDN. I am still not susceptible to every infection (cold, flu) that goes round, but this may be due to the Transfer Factor that I take. I am having more tests done to see what is happening now.

I have heard that Dr Bihari is now recommending that adult patients take 4.5mg per day instead of 3mg. It may be that the higher dose would continue my improvement, or it may be that the improvement only lasts for a year or two. I have not heard any other patients report that their improvements only lasted for a certain time, but then I don't know of any other CFS sufferers using LDN for long periods either.


Links for further information (Top)

For info on LDN, look at:

Dr Bihari's website

A page on LDN mostly related to cancer

A fair summary by Vera http://www.geocities.com/~vera_b/alts/naltrexone.html

How to get and take Naltrexone (Top)

Naltrexone is now available on prescription from any doctor, at least in Australia. The difficulty of course is convincing the doctor that it is likely to help and will not have side effects. For this you need to gather information such as that given via the links above, or email me for a file containing a collection of various information on LDN. Side effects are not an issue, if only because the dose is around 1/16th of the normally prescribed dose.

It is only available as far as I know in 50mg tablets, marketed as Revia. Many people use complex compounding techniques to split the dose,but I have found it easy just to cut the tabs into the required number of pieces.

For 3mg, cut each tab into two, then divide each half into two quarters, repeat the process twice more. You will then have 16 small pieces of varying size, but roughly 3mg each. For 4mg I just divide by 2, 2 then 3 i.e. 2x2x3 = 1/12th of a tab = 50mg/12 ~= 4.2mg.

It is important to take Naltrexone only just before going to bed each night. This is because it works by temporarily blocking endorphins (while you are sleeping for a few hours), followed by a lasting increase in endorphin levels for most of the time. It is the elevated endorphin levels that are believed to cause the immunological effects.

My test results (Top)

Some of my immune test results 1988 to 2000 are shown graphed here .

Copyright © 2003 Julian Robinson
This page updated: 08Sep2001/13Apr2005  

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