Advising on and perhaps prescribing Low Dose Naltrexone NEVER to become common practice?

THE BOTTOM LINE: Perhaps the greatest medical breakthrough ever, NEVER EVER to become common practice?

One of our readers, a retired GP, says that over the years, (perhaps over the last 80 to 100 years???) there have been four really significant medical breakthroughs – Antibiotics, Antidepressants, Anti-inflammatories, and Immunization. And he says that to these four can now be added a fifth, which he says is as significant as any of them – Low Dose Naltrexone.

And he also says that he read once that, on average, it takes 17 years for medical breakthroughs to become common practice!!!!!

Putting these two things together is disturbing enough, but there’s far more disturbing news in relation to Low Dose Naltrexone – and that is that prescribing it may NEVER become common practice!!!!!

Why, you may ask.

Because what usually happens, is that when a new drug is discovered, the big pharmaceutical companies, (often referred to as “Big Pharma,”) having taken patents out on it, carry out extensive testing on it, (which always costs lots of money,) to the point that government approval is granted for it’s treatment for such and such health problems. So that when you see a doctor, they are normally going to say, “Right, you’ve got such and such health problems, and these are the medications with government approval for the treatment of these problems,” – doctors don’t usually take any other approach, they don’t usually prescribe anything that doesn’t have this government approval. So that Big Pharma makes it’s money by supplying these medications, which their competitors are precluded from supplying by the laws that apply to patents – until their patents run out, after 20 years or so.

But this is NEVER going to happen with Low Dose Naltrexone.

Again, you may ask why?

Because Naltrexone was discovered in 1965, and government approval was eventually gained for it’s treatment of patients dependent on heroin, with 50 mg doses. But, by the time it started  to be discovered how effective it was when taken in doses as small as 5mg or so, (hence the name, “Low Dose Naltrexone,”) all the patents on it had run out. So Big Pharma was/is NEVER going to outlay the money required to get government approval for it’s uses in this way, for the very good reason that they feel they are never going to be able to get their money back in the way that they do when they are an exclusive supplier.

And we feel there’s another factor here, in that the main uses of Low Dose Naltrexone are preventative – to prevent patients from suffering various health problems. And doctors are just not used to prescribing anything if there’s nothing wrong with you at present, and you just want help in preventing you from getting problems in the future.

So, is it too much to hazard a guess that prescribing Low Dose Naltrexone may NEVER become common practice, NEVER NEVER?

Apparently, according to one of our readers, Low Dose Naltrexone may be of help to patients of neurologists, rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, dermatologists and immunologists, and we have sent over 50 emails to different Sydney specialists practicing in these fields, asking if “advising on and perhaps prescribing Low Dose Naltrexone” was within their areas of expertise, and if not whether they could recommend anyone who does it – and have got no more than 3 or 4 replies, (the other 50 emails have been ignored,) each indicating “no” and “no.” Seems like prescribing Low Dose Naltrexone is not going to become “common practice” any time soon, in Sydney at least, doesn’t it?

(A story that fascinates us, and is perhaps only partly relevant, which may be too good to be true! Peter Drucker, the famous management writer, used to claim that the conventional wisdom in 1911 was that the best way to discover ways to kill bacteria was to first grow significant cultures of them to experiment on. And that, in 1911, penicillin was fully known, understood and documented as a pesky fungus that used to hinder the growth of these significant cultures. And that it was more than 25 years later that it started to occur to people, “Hey, penicillin may be what we’ve been looking for all this time – something that kills our bacteria.” Oops!)

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