My Experience with Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Since being diagnosed with chronic dry eye and corneal neuralgia, I have become a huge proponent of doing my own research and driving my own care. I like to work hand-in-hand with my doctor, asking questions about different research that I’ve read or different treatments that I’ve heard about.
What research I've come across
While researching corneal neuralgia, I came across a study in Ocular Surface titled “Low-dose naltrexone is effective and well-tolerated for modulating symptoms in patients with neuropathic corneal pain.” I was intrigued as I continued reading about the drug because, as an opioid antagonist, it is used in higher doses for people with opioid or alcohol addiction. However, it can be used in low doses for people with chronic pain.1,2
An article in Ophthalmology Advisor said a low dose of naltrexone can temporarily block opioid receptors and boost endogenous endorphins.
What one study showed
Here are the results of the study I mentioned above, after LDN use by the 30 patients who were analyzed: 16 patients experienced a 50% or greater reduction in pain, 9 expressed a 1% to 49% improvement, and 5 showed no improvement.1
I decided to give the drug a try, as I think the risk of side effects is low. I was in between seeing my eye doctor, so I found a company online, Ageless Rx, that offered a prescription after a virtual appointment with one of the company’s doctors. I uploaded my information and medical history and reason for wanting to try the drug online, and then a doctor contacted me at a scheduled appointment time. After my prescription was approved, the company shipped me a three-month supply.
Trying it myself
I was instructed to start out with 1.5 mg at bedtime for ten days, and then increase to 3 mg, and finally increase to 4.5 mg. The reason for the incremental increase is that LDN can sometimes cause insomnia, vivid dreams, and headaches. These side effects can be decreased with a slow progression of use.
I did have a little trouble sleeping the first couple of weeks, and I did experience some vivid dreams. However, I did not have any headaches. After a couple of weeks, I was sleeping normally, though.
When I saw my eye doctor at my next visit, I told him that I was using LDN, and he said, “It looks like you’ve been doing your own research.” He was on board with my using it and thought that it could help me.
I tried low-dose naltrexone for about three months, but I did not notice significant improvement from using the drug. In turn, I decided that the cost of the medication was not worth its continued use.
Have you tested your dry eye knowledge?