What is PCOS?
PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting as many as 5 million US women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant; their bodies can make insulin but can’t use it effectively, increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes. They also have higher levels of androgens, which can stop eggs from being released and cause irregular periods, acne, thinning scalp hair, and excess hair growth on the face and body.
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Low Dose Naltrexone is a compounded prescription medication containing naltrexone in doses usually from 0.5mg-4.5mg. LDN helps to modulate your body’s immune system by blocking the OGF receptors, and over time can boost your body’s natural production of endorphins while decreasing the inflammation related to disease caused by IL-6 & IL-12 pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Multiple studies have indicated Naltrexone has PCOS benefits.
Study 1: Effect of long-term naltrexone treatment on endocrine profile, clinical features, and insulin sensitivity in obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
About: Evaluation of clinical and endocrine effects of naltrexone administration (50mg) in obese women with PCOS for a period of 6 months.
Results/Conclusion: BMI significantly decreased during treatment. The menstrual cyclicity improved in 80% of PCOS women. Plasma levels of free T, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and cortisol significantly decreased. Fasting glucose-to-insulin ratio improved in women with insulin resistance.
Study 2: Medical management of metabolic dysfunction in PCOS
About: PCOS is associated with metabolic derangements including insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. Naltrexone was evaluated as a treatment option.
Results/Conclusion: Oral administration of Naltrexone in PCOS women resulted in a significant reduction of fasting insulin level following glucose load without adversely affecting glucose levels.
What are the side effects of LDN?
- LDN is well tolerated in most patients and side effects are usually transient. However, care should be taken to slowly titrate/increase the dose to avoid side effects, so it is essential to follow the instructions provided on the prescription.
- Common side effects: sleep disturbances/vivid dreams, gastrointestinal upset, nausea, mild headache, mild agitation
Where can I get LDN?
- LDN has to be specially made in a compounded pharmacy because it is not commercially available.
- PCOS and Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated March 24, 2020. Accessed March 15, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/pcos.html
- Naltrexone. Lexi-Drugs. Lexicomp. UpToDate, Inc,; 2021. Updated Dec 16, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2022. https://online.lexi.com.