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“Just Try LDN”: 3 years of insight from over 1,000 patients use of Low Dose Naltrexone

Speaker

Sarah Zielsdorf, MD, MS

Description: 

  • 2018 journal article published in Thyroid “An Online Survey of Hypothyroid Patients Demonstrates Prominent Dissatisfaction” of over 12,000 respondents revealed that the majority of thyroid patients with hypothyroidism are not satisfied with their current therapy or their physicians.
  • Authors concluded that these patients reported higher satisfaction with their treatment and physicians using Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) preparations.
  • Our clinic has a thyroid focus with a reputation for improving quality of life with use of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) and a personalized approach to thyroid hormone prescription and management.
  • LDN has shown to have a variety of benefits other than for thyroid/autoimmune disease (mood, chronic pain, energy/fatigue, cancer prevention/adjunct)
  • We disseminated an online survey to our clinic patients via email and social media, and to both thyroid and LDN advocacy groups on social media sites.
  • Expanding upon ATA’s hypothyroidism survey, we asked participants about expanded treatment options including synthetic T4, synthetic T3, NDT, compounded T4, compounded T3, synthetic T4/T4 combination, glandular thyroid supplements, or iodine.
  • 1108 respondents completed the 24-question survey (1610 unique visits and 68.8% completion rate) between February 19th and March 7, 2019, and took an average of 7:19 minutes to complete

Results of survey:

  • LDN used as adjunct thyroid treatment: 43.4% (479 respondents)
  • LDN treatment dose and duration: 53.6% used 3.6-4.5mg daily, 53.2% used LDN for >12 month duration
  • Amount LDN improved symptoms (ranked 1-10): 20.4% ranked 10 being “strongly improved”
  • Symptoms improved by LDN: 56.9% had improved pain, 55% had improved energy/fatigue, 41.7% had improved mood
  • 14 participants self-identified improved immunity/lowered thyroid antibodies

 

 

Conclusions:

  • LDN is a vital adjunct for lowering inflammation and improving thyroid function, and potentially reversing the autoimmune process in Hashimoto’s/Graves’ pathology.
  • Our findings regarding patient global impression of change on LDN mirrors and expands on Dr. Younger’s 2014 findings with respect to chronic pain.
  • We included NDT+T3 and other alternate treatment protocols (excluded in Thyroid survey), future studies needed.
  • Thyroid treatment should be a personalized approach; no one medication or protocol fits all.

Session Learning Objective: 

  • Insights discussed with respect to use of Low Dose Naltrexone in a Functional Medicine Clinic with insights from other LDN users via social media. Survey results discussed for 1108 respondents.

Session Outline: 

  • Our clinic has a thyroid focus with a reputation for improving quality of life with use of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) and a personalized approach to thyroid hormone prescription and management.
  • LDN has shown to have a variety of benefits other than for thyroid/autoimmune disease (mood, chronic pain, cancer prevention/adjunct)
  • We disseminated an online survey to our clinic patients via email and social media, and to both thyroid and LDN advocacy groups on social media sites.
  • Insight: must be patient! LDN sometimes takes 1 year or more for full effect! Some patients really sensitive, takes a long time to ramp up; others no difficulty. LDN is nearly always well tolerated.