Monday, June 8, 2009

Low Dose Naltrexone and Parkinson's Disease II: Side Effects

LDN Revisited - Information for Any Patient Considering LDN as a Treatment
Just a brief update about Low Dose Naltrexone side effects, expectations and caveats. Our original article appeared on May 31, 2009. A follow up article was posted on June 19, 2009.

There can certainly be side effects. If your are already taking a medication containing an opiate, LDN is not for you.

If you have MS, you may find that your symptoms seem to worsen during the first month. A darkest before dawn result. To counteract that you might want to ease up to the dose recommended by your doctor even though it is already a low dosage but consult your physician first.

A recent site for LDN use for Multiple Sclerosis is a good read for anyone considering taking this medication. The site is Friends with MS. They do list side effects they have observed. Keep in mind that there could be interactions with MS meds causing the symptoms or brain chemistry particular to MS. The general report is of positive results using LDN.

Another helpful site is specifically Side Effects of Low Dose Naltrexone. In it the author points out that daytime naps can be helpful and healthful.

We would also suggest a look at the Mayo Clinic website on LDN possible side effects.

It is not unusual for patients to feel tired and yet there may be some sleeping issues. Feeling nervous, restless or anxious are more common symptoms. There may be a variety of digestive tract issues such as nausea, stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea. Another area of discomfort can come from headaches, sinus issues, loss of appetite or weight gain, increased blood pressure, rapid pulse, irritability and thirst. On rare occasions there can be a skin rash and itching, blurred vision, frequent urination (several patients found the reverse) as well as fever, disorientation, mood changes, hallucinations, tinnitus, and chest pain.

Frankly, read the side effects from whatever you take now. You'll find most of the above listed there as well. What we have read is that most patients don't seem to experience many if any side effects. LDN is something to consider in the PD treatment arsenal.

Although the Parkinson's LDN database at LDN World Database is small, it will provide some helpful information. If you are using LDN for PD or know someone who is, it would be a great idea to make your addition to the database.

addendum: 6/27/11
If you do use LDN, it is important to wear a Medical Alert Bracelet with that information: Low Dose Naltrexone 4.5mg.
In the event of a bad fall or injury, narcotic painkillers might be administered. Your suffering will be 10x the suffering because of the reaction your LDN body will have to the narcotic.
There are a few companies which offer dog tags, pendants, wallet cards, bracelets and the like. It is important that the information be on the tag itself.

addendum: 9/27/11
Clinical Trial NCT01052831 is enrolling now for the study of LDN, Low Dose Naltrexone for Impulse Control Disorders (ICDs) in Parkinson's disease.

addenda: 4/02/12

See an informative 10 minute video taken at the Parkinsons Recovery Summit posted in the blog, About Parkinson's Disease blog of Robert Rodgers, PhD. The speaker is a woman with PD who is now taking LDN on a regular basis.


  1. I have been on it for almost a year and have no side effects unless you count 1) psoriasis is gone and 2) IBS is gone and 3) sleep is deeper and more restorative. (It does not help me fall asleep, however).

    The first 2 weeks were full of dreams. Other than that, this has been the best thing to happen to me.

  2. I have had M.S. for 15 years. The last year my body has been full of pain.

    3 days ago I started low dose naltrexone.

    The people that see me everyday can hardly believe what they are seeing when they look at me.

    Naltrexone is a miracle for my body! 3 DAYS!!!

  3. This site has some miss information, if you use narcotics for emergency make sure its 12 hours after your LDN or the narcotic may not work as well as it should, Please read it has all the info you need, its ran by Doctors, I think from Penn State ? LDN is great for many autoimmune issues, will give you great info!!!

  4. Been on LDN for about a month now, after not doing well on other drugs for Parkinsons. Am experiencing flu-like symptons, but no wild dreams. Been real tired at the end of the day,but sleep really well.

  5. From what we've read, flu-like symptoms should abate. Being able to sleep well is fantastic. Congratulations.
    Please keep us informed.

  6. Hi,
    I can't find any readings about people with PD that took/take LDN and got better?
    Does anyone has info bout this?

  7. Please remember that thus far there are only treatments but some, such as LDN, appear to be quite effective in providing symptomatic relief if taken regularly.

    Here are a couple of links which you can copy and paste to your browser. They will also be added to the article for a click to open in a new window.

    A long and informative video posted in Robert Rodgers, PhD's blog 'About Parkinson's Disease'

    and the link referenced in the video:

  8. I have young onset PD for 4years. I have been on vitamins ,Coq10 isradipine and LDN 4.5mg.only .Now,my neurologist wants me to stop all including LDN and isradipine (15mg a day) that really has stabilized my blood pressure and to start on sinemet.I try a very low dose 1/2 of 25/100 twice a day and had the worst adverse reaction .All my PD symptoms10xmore Does any one had this reaction ? I would like to know if it is o.k. to take LDN, Isradipine with sinemet.Thanks

  9. From our experience, there doesn't seem to be a conflict (drug interaction) when taking the Calcium Channel Blocker Isradipine with Sinemet (levodopa-carbidopa)
    Our guess is that by stopping all other meds and supplements, the neurologist had a clearer view of the symptomatic relief of Sinemet.
    Does your doctor know about your adverse reaction?
    You don't need an appointment to relay the information.
    Best Wishes and keep us informed.


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