Autoimmune Medications

What Are Autoimmune Disorders?

Autoimmune disorders are attacks on your body by your own immune system. Normally, your immune system helps you stay healthy by fighting germs like bacteria and viruses. It’s programmed to send out a fighting battalion of cells (antibodies) to attack foreign cells that invade your body. Normally, it can tell the difference between foreign invaders and your own cells but, in an autoimmune disorder, your immune system is confused. It may attack one part of your body, like your joints or a single organ like your pancreas. Or it may launch a general war on many parts of the body.

No one is sure what causes this mistaken response. Theories include genetics, diet, infections and, because the incidence of autoimmune diseases is rising, exposure to chemicals in our modern environment.

Common Autoimmune Disease Type

There are more than 100 types of autoimmune diseases, some of them rare. Some of the most common ones, with the organs they target, are:

  • Type 1 diabetes — pancreas
  • Rheumatoid arthritis — joints
  • Psoriasis — skin
  • Multiple sclerosis — protective coating on nerve cells
  • Lupus — many organs, including skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and heart
  • Inflammatory bowel disease — the gastrointestinal tract
  • Addison’s — adrenal glands
  • Grave’s — thyroid
  • Hashimoto’s — thyroid

What Autoimmune Medications Are Available?

Some medications for autoimmune disorders address the symptoms of a specific disease. For example, Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin, to replace what the pancreas can no longer produce. Psoriasis is treated with a variety of medications that affect the growth and inflammation of skin cells. However, since all these disorders involve a hyperactive immune system, drugs that reduce your immune response can be an important part of an overall, multi-pronged treatment plan.

Low dose naltrexone (LDN) has been used to help with many autoimmune disorders. It works by increasing the amount of endorphins your body releases. Endorphins can modulate the immune system. LDN also reduces inflammation, a common autoimmune symptom. Benefits can include less pain, better sleep, reduced anxiety, more mobility, less brain fog, fewer headaches, etc.

Learn More About LDN

Who May Benefit From Autoimmune Medications?

Many autoimmune disorders have similar symptoms. Often, the first signs are fatigue, muscle aches, and a low fever. Inflammation is also often involved, which can cause redness, pain, and swelling. If you have any of these signs, unexplained by other conditions, discuss with your doctor whether an autoimmune disorder could be the cause.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, you may benefit from including low dose naltrexone in your treatment. Many autoimmune disorders respond to low dose naltrexone, including chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune thyroid, and adrenal diseases, Crohn’s disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.

Who Should Avoid Low Dose Naltrexone?

LDN has relatively few side effects compared to some other autoimmune treatments. However, tell your doctor immediately if you have or have ever had:

  • Hepatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Depression
  • Kidney disease
  • A bleeding disorder such as hemophilia

Your doctor may want to consider a different form of treatment for you.

Common Dosage Forms of Low Dose Naltrexone

At Belmar, our expert pharmacists compound low dose Naltrexone in a variety of dosage forms and strengths to suit specific conditions and patients. Dosage forms include:

  • Oral Tablets
  • Sublingual Tablets
  • Capsules
  • Cream
  • Oil

Learn More About Autoimmune Medications

If you’re dealing with or concerned about one of the conditions listed above, visit our Conditions page to find resources and guides to help you discuss compounding solutions with your doctor.

If you’re a clinician who’s interested in prescribing compound medications for your patients, visit our Treatment Options page to find a formulary and learn more about the solutions Belmar offers.