A drug developed to combat addition could be used in the future for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), it has been claimed.
Low dose naltrexone (LDN) is not currently licensed to treat the condition as full clinical trials have not yet been conducted and it is available only on prescription from doctors.
The Daily Express has hailed the medication as a "wonder drug", claiming that it helps to ease some of the side effects of MS in patients and quoting a superintendent pharmacist stating research indicates it alters the way in which the body responds to inflammation.
Speaking to the newspaper, former bank manager Linda Elsegood, who has MS, said she scoured the internet for a way to alleviate symptoms of her condition and came across LDN therapy.
A low dose of the drug on private prescription had helped to alleviate a number of her symptoms, including cognitive impairments, balance problems and difficulties swallowing, after just three weeks of taking it. "LDN isn't a cure for MS, but it's given me a life rather than an existence," she explained. Ms Elsegood, who lives in Buxton and has two daughters, founded a charity called the LDN Research Trust in order to help others with MS and is pressing for clinical trials to be carried out for the condition.
Since 2004, the non-profit making organisation has helped 16,000 people to obtain the medication to treat autoimmune disorders, including Crohn's, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer and ME, as well as MS.
Costing less than £30 a month per patient, LDN is licensed for the treatment of alcohol and heroin addiction and is taken in a much higher dose in such cases than those found to help alleviate MS symptoms.
MS is an incurable neurological autoimmune condition that affects the central nervous system. More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS and it has a wide range of symptoms, with each person affected differently by the disease.
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