A Milford Haven woman and her partner are spearheading a campaign to trial a drug that has made a huge difference to both of their lives.
Jayne Crocker and her partner Andrew Barnett are both prescribed low dose naltrexone (LDN). They say the generic drug has been used to successfully treat cancer, autoimmune systems and central nervous system disorders.
In 1986 the drug went out of patent. It was introduced into the UK by Dr Bob Lawrence, a Swansea-based physician, in 2000. About 200 doctors in the UK currently prescribe the drug, many more are reluctant to do so because it has not yet been approved by the FDA.
The couple has launched a petition to urge the Government to fund comprehensive trials of the drug so that doctors are aware of it and are confident in prescribing it to patients.
At present, a handful of small-scale studies exist, but there has never been an extensive trial of LDN.
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb helped them word the petition, which is currently ranked in the top 50 of all petitions submitted to the number ten Downing Street website and has already attracted nearly 3,000 signatures.
The drug works by blocking endorphin receptors for a limited period of time which then boosts them five-fold. This stimulates the immune system to produce cells that repair the body.
Andrew has secondary progressive MS, and began to see huge changes after taking it. He has now been on LDN for ten months and is prescribed it by Dr Lawrence, as his own GP was reluctant to prescribe it.
“Before LDN I was crawling to my car and giving myself injections every week,” he said. “Within two weeks of first taking it I was up on my feet again.”
After seeing the dramatic improvement in Andy’s condition, Jayne decided she would use LDN for ulcerative colitis, which she has had for 25 years.
“Within the first month I was no longer in pain,” she said.
After taking LDN for three months it also helped her arthritis.
“It’s not a wonder or a miracle drug but it does work for a lot of people,” Jayne added.
The couple believes that the drug will never be trialled by drug companies as it is cheaply available. It costs between 50p and £1 a day, and would not make the pharmaceutical companies enough profits, they say.
To find out more about LDN and the petition, visit www.ldnnow.