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Drawer of drugs not needed

After almost 10 years with multiple sclerosis, during which she used a morphine patch, Vicodin and even OxyContin on some days to make the pain bearable, Vicki Finlayson still displays her drawer full of drugs to remember how she got her life back.

Over the years, other prescription drugs and injections were not working to stem her MS, and she found herself lying on her south Nevada County couch day after day. One drug she was prescribed gave her violent thoughts and she began wondering if it was all worth it.

She knew suicide would be too rash because when her brother killed himself, the devastation to the family was beyond description. There was no way she could harm her daughter, Telsha, or husband Steve.



Vicki remembers that moment in tears now.

“I wanted to see Telsha get married and I wanted to be with Steve,” she said. “I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I just thought if I didn’t wake up one day, OK.”




When they first came to Lake of the Pines, “we were hiking and golfing,” Steve remembers. “It got to a point where she couldn’t even get in the golf cart.”

Tired of seeing his wife’s life deteriorate, Steve got on the Internet and found something intriguing. People were using low doses of Naltrexone, or LDN, to deal with their MS and were getting results.

Naltrexone is normally used to help people addicted to narcotics or alcohol. It stops the craving for booze and blocks the effects of hard dope.

Steve, the self-professed world’s largest skeptic, didn’t tell Vicki about LDN for six months.

“I thought it was another snake oil,” he said.

The National MS Society noted in an April 2005 article there is no published data about LDN. The society is open to it and is encouraging those trials to occur, though it is still far short of endorsement.

But Vicki and Steve figured they had nothing to lose, so Vicki called Dr. Bernard Bihari in New York City and got an LDN prescription. Steve’s research found Bihari had been having success using LDN with AIDS and MS patients.

Vicki started taking three milligrams of Naltrexone once a day last November.

“I felt better within three to five days,” she said. “I’m still a little sensitive, but nothing like I was,” when she often experienced pain due to wearing clothing.

“We can go out and do stuff now, and she can talk again,” Steve said. “It used to be she would say the opposite of what she was thinking. She’s had quite a turnaround.”

It turns out she is not the only one.

Linda Elsegood is a woman with MS in the United Kingdom who Vicki found through the Internet and her LDN Research Trust. She was diagnosed with MS in 2000 and began taking LDN in December 2003.

“The results were amazing,” she said in a story she sent to The Union. Within one year, she reported being able to function again and decided to start the research trust.

Now Vicki and Elsegood are trying to raise the seed money to get a clinical study done on LDN for MS. Vicki suspects one hasn’t yet been performed because the drug is so inexpensive, pharmaceutical firms might make a only a pittance of profits with a new use.

Ruth Krasner of Auburn is another LDN user who was diagnosed with MS 10 years ago.

When she first heard of LDN, her doctors would not write her a prescription because of the lack of trials. Once she was able to get a prescription and began taking it, she said the frequency and intensity of her muscle spasms decreased.

“It’s made a big difference,” Krasner said. “My muscles are not as tight, so I use less energy. My massage therapist said my body feels better than it has in years.”

Vicki acknowledges that LDN is not for everybody and admits that detoxing off her pain medications so that she could take the new drug was excruciating.

“It was nasty. I had physical and mental withdrawal,” Vicki said. “I had the shakes, sweating, and my skin was crawling.”

Seven days later she came out the other side and has now become an enthusiastic LDN advocate. She understands the reluctance of physicians to prescribe the only drug she takes now without the benefit of trials.

“The doctors don’t want to get sued,” she said, “but Dr. Bihari should get the Nobel Prize.”

ooo

To contact senior staff writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

LDN Web sites

To find out more about Low Dose Naltrexone for MS and other diseases, you can consult the following Web sites:

http://www.ldninfo.org

http://www.ldnresearchtrust.org


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