Treating Hepatitis B With Low Dose Naltrexone
My 7-year-old adopted daughter has chronic active hepatitis B. We learned of this after we got back from her birthplace in China and had all the routine tests completed. We've been monitoring her every year since 2001.
My daughter's liver enzymes and viral load started going up in 2006, and her liver biopsy result in the spring of 2007 rated both her 'Inflammation' and 'Scarring' scores at 2 (mid-range in the scale 0-4). Based on her lab results and biopsy, my daughter's doctor said we needed to start treatment in the very near future. So, her doctor contacted Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland, and together we decided my daughter would be a good candidate for the upcoming Entecavir pediatric drug trial that was starting in the near future. My doctor left the decision (Interferon or Entecavir) to me.
While we were waiting during the summer of 2007 for the trial to start, I spoke with an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who, over the past two years, had really helped me with my daughter's food allergies and horrific eczema. We worked on healing her leaky gut with probiotics, Omega 3's, and antioxidants with great success. You cannot even tell she has eczema now!
The APRN was excited about my daughter getting into the drug trial, but I asked if she could think of anything that would help boost her immune system. She thought about it, and then recommended I investigate Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) to see if I was interested in trying it. Since LDN basically works to upregulate the immune system, was being used in children by other doctors to treat autism, and is really cheap (less than $1 a day), I was eager to try this before the Entecavir study to see if maybe the two together would help her.
Before we started LDN, I wanted to ensure being on the drug would not preclude my daughter from getting into the Entecavir Study at Johns Hopkins (because, back then, we had no idea how good LDN would actually prove to be).
I spoke with our doctor in June, 2007, to see if it was alright to try LDN (especially as he was not the prescribing LDN doctor), and to make sure he was aware of our attempt to prime my daughter's immune system with LDN before the trial.
He concurred with our trying LDN prior to the Entecavir study. While he didn't know if LDN would do any good, he didn't think it could do any harm, since he had other liver patients on a higher dose of Naltrexone for pruritus. I also consulted my daughter's pediatrician to ensure she was aware of us trying the LDN.
In July, 2007, we started my daughter on a dose of 1 mg nightly of LDN, and we saw great results as her immune system began fighting the virus. Within one month, her liver enzymes had returned to normal range and her viral load had gone down from 59.2 Million to 170,000 (a huge decrease). At that point, we no longer even qualified for the Entecavir study--yippee!
I contacted my daughter's pediatric gastroenterologist when we got her lab results in mid-August of 2007. I said to the doctor, "Isn't this good news?" He replied,"No--this is GREAT news!" We noticed that LDN appears to be causing a similar response as is achieved with other anti-viral drugs.
The doctor said he had one teenager on Entecavir and this patient also saw dramatic results within the first month. However, the advantage of LDN is that, because it isn't an anti-viral Hep B drug, we don't have to worry about the gradually acquired resistance that can be a problem with other anti-viral drugs.
If the LDN does not appear to be working in the future, we still have the option of starting anti-viral drugs. The doctor had not prescribed the LDN, but he said to keep doing what we were doing because it appeared to be working!
The advanced practice pediatric nurse who prescribed the LDN is ecstatic with the results. Since LDN has produced such good results with AIDS and other immune-related illnesses, she had thought that maybe it would help prime my daughter's immune system. The only thing that changed in how we were handling her Hep B between May through August, 2007, was the start of LDN in July. It appears my daughter's body may have entered into the 'Immune Clearance' stage due to complementary treatments we'd used since 2005, and that LDN further stimulated her immune system to dramatically fight the virus.
While I'm not pretending to be a doctor, LDN might be something you want to investigate and talk to your doctor about as another treatment alternative.
June, 2009, Update:
We have continued our success on LDN with my daughter's hepatitis B. Her sero-conversion of the HBeAG ('e' antigen) and gaining the HBeAB ('e' antibody) has been maintained over the past 18 months. Additionally, her viral load is undetectable, and her liver enzymes are in the normal range.
To spur discussion of and research into LDN as a treatment for hepatitis, I created the Hepatitis_Children_and_CAM_Alternatives Yahoo group. It currently has a membership of 121. Of these, the following members have started using LDN: ten with hepatitis C, two with hepatitis B, and one with autoimmune hepatitis. Thus far, every person using LDN has seen improvement in their condition as revealed by lab tests (either by reducing liver enzymes and/or viral load). We are excited about the possibilities that LDN has to offer the hepatitis community.
Three cheers for answered prayer and LDN!
An Introduction To Low Dose Naltrexone
How To Obtain Low Dose Naltrexone
Drugs To Avoid When Taking Low Dose Naltrexone
Side Effects & Dosing of Low Dose Naltrexone
Why I Became An Advocate For Low Dose Naltrexone
Click to join Low_Dose_Naltrexone
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