Dr. George Schatz who's an MD from Tuscan in Arizona shares his experience with Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).
I am a medical doctor and currently a third year and chief resident of our residency program at the university of Arizona for family medicine. I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I did my undergraduate training in Ohio at a small college called Hiram college.
I decided to move down to Arizona for my residency training because of the world renowned university of Arizona center for integrative medicine, which I'm looking forward to being one of the residential fellows this year to further pursue training in integrative medicine.
I first heard about LDN trought a patient who came in, who had an Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's flare. I don't remember. I don't recall which, but he had an inflammatory bowel disease flare up. And he had to be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids and for monitoring and everything. He was very sick at the time. It was very early in my training, my third year at medical school. He told me In two weeks, he was going to meet with a doctor in New York city that was going to start in on Low Dose Naltrexone.
I didn't spend much time looking into it. I had a million other things I was trying to learn at the time.
And over the past a few years and months really I've started to hear more about LDN and so I have a few colleagues here who use LDN very commonly and so talking to some of their patients and hearing about what they were taking it for and how it was working with them. And I got extremely interested just hearing the anecdotal evidence of how people's pain is getting better, how people are off of their thyroid medications or their immunosuppressive medications for their auto immune diseases. And I got intrigued. And that's really what led me diving into the research and then using it with my patients with success.
Mostly, I use it for pain, all sorts of different pain,Fibromyalgia or Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Also just chronic low back pain had some improvements. But also Crohn's, thyroid issues as part of a comprehensive and anti-inflammatory or immune treatment program.
A lot of them are on opiods medications for years. I start by
slowly tapering their opiates.
So if they're on a combination of long acting and short acting, we tape it the long acting first because once that's out of the system and they can control their pain with the short acting, we can stop quicker and start the LDN shortly after.
I usually say, "If it's a Sunday night, take your last Percocet on a Sunday night and then, either Monday night, depending on how you are or Tuesday night take the first dose of LDN."
Some people come in, especially when you start at a higher dose, they have that initial endorsement rebound and they tell you that this is the first time they felt like this in years. Of course that's what this is all about. That instant gratification as a professional helps me to continue what I'm doing, but that's not always the case. And I'd say that is almost more the exception.
Typically it takes patients anywhere from two to four to six weeks.
There's a beautiful case study that I read recently on a 35 year old guy who had low back pain. And he had tried on opiates and anti-inflammatories and then the epileptics and trigger point injections and steroid injections.
No improvement in it, of his pain. Once they got them on the 4 milligrams of Low Dose Naltrexone, two weeks later, 30% reduction in pain by six weeks, he's completely back to work. Six months after starting it, when he was totally off of it for, almost four months and he was still having just minimal pain, it was still completely, fully functional back at work. And that's something that I totally see.
Some patients mention a bit of sleep disturbance. It's really not insomnia. It's just a change in their sleep habits that can be remedied quite easily by making sure that we optimize our sleep hygiene prior to initiation of LDN and also by just making sure that we take the proper steps when we're initiating it to not really start too high, but, if we do start at what we think is an appropriate dose and has some issues, we sort of drop it down and again, that take her upwards.
I wanted to mention has a side effect, which I find extremely interesting is if the patients tell me their issues with binge eating have decreased and it doesn't surprise me knowing the mechanism with opioid growth factor and opioid growth factor receptor and beta endorphins. Having that endorphin surge that's the reason why people binge eat for the endorphins to quell some sort of inner pain.
And so having your opioids inside your body or beta endorphin at a higher level which can actually satisfy those cravings and you don't need to binge it's something that is fascinating to me.
And actually that reminds me a formulation of a weight loss drug that's FDA approved in the United States for and that's a combination of anti depressant and Low Dose Naltrexone. It's called Contrave.
I have an integrative medicine practice that is growing every day. Those are the patients that come to me either requesting help in, or having heard of LDN in some specific way.
I can be found at www.georgeschatz.com,
And that's the easiest, quickest way to get in touch directly with me and my team. And I can get you a schedule for appointments starting pretty soon or booking out a couple of months, but pretty soon.
Summary of Dr. George Schatz's interview. Watch YouTube video for the full interview.