When to Start and Stop Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) Before and After Surgery?

LDN Specialist Pharmacist Stephen Dickson
Pharmacist Stephen Dickson

When to Start and Stop Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) Before and After Surgery?

After I have been for surgery how long until I can start my LDN dose again?

As long as you are off painkillers and it's been two weeks then you can go straight back on the dose you were on before. If it's longer than two weeks after surgery or you're still on pain killers then you need to wait until you're off of opiate painkillers and you'll have to titrate back up. You can maybe titrate up quite quickly but that will be up to you. 

Another question: I am due to go to the hospital next month for day surgery under general anesthetic. I'm currently taking LDN for long COVID pain and also for Sjogrens syndrome. My understanding is I'll need to stop the LDN for several days prior to surgery in case I'd require opiate pain relief. Is this what you would recommend?

Absolutely. If you're going in for surgery you need to stop LDN a minimum of two days before you go in for surgery just in case you need to get opiate doses but also the anesthetics often contain opiates or analogs of opiates. If you take LDN on the day that you go into surgery then the anesthesiologist would have to be aware of that in order to make sure they don't either accidentally over or under dose you. It is better to get off of the LDN for two day and do that before any general aesthetic or surgery. 

Another question: I am due to have my gallbladder removed and have not started LDN yet. How long after surgery should I start? I also have Hashimoto's. Should that make a difference?

After you've had surgery you tend to need pain control. Basically you can start LDN as soon as after surgery as you don't need long term opioid control. For Hashimoto's the advice is we like to have patients starting at 0.5 milligrams and increasing at a frequency of no more than every two weeks from 0.5 to 1.5 to 2 every two weeks, until you get to your maximum tolerated dose or 4.5 milligram. Please make sure that you have your blood tested for your thyroid levels on a regular basis.