CLL Alternatives

CLL Leukemia and Low-Dose Naltrexone

Posted by: Denise on: November 12, 2010

low dose naltrexone

Low-dose naltrexone is available only from a compounding pharmacy, by prescription.

I like to keep a file of possible protocols (read: cures) so that I have something to fall back on should there be a less-than-stellar blood test.  Low-dose naltrexone was in that file for more than a year before I was able to use it for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The Story Behind the Drug. First, you need to know the story behind the of-label use of this drug.  Naltrexone started out as a pharmaceutical treatment for drug addicts, many of whom had AIDs.  A Dr. Bihari of NYC discovered that these addicts would go into remission while on the drug.  He was using naltrexone for both purposes when a friend with lymphoma asked if she could try it for her condition.  He complied — and it worked!  Read the whole story of low-dose naltrexone here.

How it works. in the low dose of 3 mg – 4.5 mg each night before bed, naltrexone is an immune enhancer.  It works  with your body, rousing your natural killer cells to do their job and restore you to good health.  Once again, go to the low-dose naltrexone web site for more information on how it works.

Does it work? As of the writing of this article, I’ve not yet achieved remission.  That’s the downside.  The upside is that I’ve been stable for years.  I’ve been on low-dose naltrexone since late summer 2008.  Is it the reason I’m doing well?  I’m not willing to stop it, just yet, to find out.  So I’d have to answer that question with a qualified yes.

6 Responses to "CLL Leukemia and Low-Dose Naltrexone"

Hello Denise et Al,

I don’t know how I missed this post but boy I’m so excited. I was eating the kernels a year or so ago and my count was declining but wasn’t sure what was doing it as I was trying so many different things. I got used to the taste but they are ‘utterly bitter.” However, I started again a few months later but only ate around 7-10 a day and when I did every day, my count lowered, not significantly but still decreased. Then I’d forget to eat them and up it would go again. Stupid me! Maybe there’s a correlation.

Last few weeks I’ve been diligently eating and my lymphocyte count lowered however some Reactive lymphocytes popped up but I’m too afraid to find out what in the world that means. My naturopath didn’t know either (really!!). Anyway, I recently started to see a new naturopath who ordered all kinds of tests and some through Genova Lab, I’ll sure be back to post after a discussion with her. In the meantime, I’ll keep eating those kernels.

PS- I too feel ill after having the apricot kernels only on an empty stomach. I read an online article years ago that stated to always take vit A soon after you have them to deal with any symptoms – works each time. I simply take 1 10K IU after my kernels.

All the best,

HI Nathalie, So glad this message is on the web site and not just in my email. So I will answer this again. Your post is VERY EXCITING! You deserve to be excited!!! I’ve tried bitter almonds (apricot seeds) myself, but gave up when I because ill (cyanide poisoning symptoms) when taking about 30/day. I had to go home, dizzy, whoozy, ill. So I discontinued. This despite the fact that I’d spoken to Wayne, a man in Oklahoma, who had reversed his CLL with apricot seeds alone. He hadn’t really changed up his diet otherwise. He simply ground up the apricot seeds and put it in his grape juice each day. Your suggestion of vitamin A can be a life changer (and saver!) I have already purchased both the seeds from Apricot Power online and the vitamin A (from iherb).

Here is the definition of REACTIVE LYMPHOCYTE from Wikipedia:
Reactive lymphocytes or variant lymphocytes are cytotoxic (CD8+) lymphocytes that become large as a result of antigen stimulation.

Here is the definition of CYTOTOXIC from Wikipedia
Treating cells with the cytotoxic compound can result in a variety of cell fates. The cells may undergo necrosis, in which they lose membrane integrity and die rapidly as a result of cell lysis. The cells can stop actively growing and dividing (a decrease in cell viability), or the cells can activate a genetic program of controlled cell death (apoptosis).

Here is a definition of APOPTOSIS
It is programmed cell death. Cancer/leukemia is an overgrowth of a cell type that doesn’t die as it should, resulting in tumors and the body being taken over. The body is supposed to create the situation where the cells die off and leave the body (think of a bathroom break, a very therapeutic bathroom break.)

Here is the definition of ANTIGEN, also from Wikipedia.
In immunology, an antigen is a molecule capable of inducing an immune response (to produce an antibody) in the host organism. Sometimes antigens are part of the host itself in an autoimmune disease. Antigens are “targeted” by antibodies.

Here is some information about reactive lymphocytes. It sounds to me like your lymphocytes are reacting to the B-17 and very likely destroying some of the leukemia cells. Hence the reactivity. This is only an educated guess; I am not an expert. I will be very interested in hearing about your further blood tests.

Here are the Wikipedia links:

Please know that I am not a doctor or a scientist. I’m only trying to glean information that might explain your reduced WBC and the term “reactive lymphocytes.” Of course, I’m hoping that my conclusion is accurate and that the reaction seen in your blood test reflects anti-cancer activity.

My apologies for all the Wikipedia references, as there are probably others that are better or more respected. However, I think all the information is accurate, and could be explaining your “reactive lymphocytes.” Your next test should tell. Please report back! Also interested in finding out if your reduction in WBC continues.

Thanks so much for reporting in!
All best, Denise

Hi Denise,

I notice your article was written in 2010. I have just recently been diagnosed with CLL from a blood test. More tests are being done and I’ll be talking to my Oncologist for the first time on Thursday. A Naturopath put on low dose Naltrexone and so far I have taken four tablets. How are you feeling now? Have you had any luck with other treatments?



Hi Pat, So very sorry about your diagnosis. I know it’s a lot to deal with. About your low-dose naltrexone question, I’m sorry to say that this did not work for me. This doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you. Like all treatments (conventional and unconventional) it works for some people and not for others. (This is true of chemo, too; but with much more dire side effects.) If I were you, I would continue with the prescription and keep track of your blood tests and any symptoms (if you have symptoms). If you don’t improve, I would try going without and see if you remain the same.

As to your question of how I’m doing, as of my last blood test, I’m doing very well. My WBC went back into the teens where it hasn’t been for years, so I’ve been very encouraged. Unfortunately, there is no one magic bullet. I’ve been eating either raw or lightly cooked organic vegetables, and only grass fed beef or cage free organic chicken, or wild caught fish. Also been eating (nearly daily) whole oranges and lemons (with the whole skin and seed) via my smoothie or at least having gone through the Vitamix blender.

There is a lot more. Please read other postings to see what I do, and watch for new, as I’ve resolved to post more often.

I hope the Naltrexone works for you. Even if it does not, there is so much you can do, I wouldn’t get discouraged.

Wishing you the best of health! – Denise

Hi Patrick,

How have you been going with your low dose Naltrexone?

I was diagnosed with CLL in December 2007. I haven’t tried low dose Naltrexone, but something that really works for me is apricot kernels.

I started taking them 3 years after diagnosis and my white cell count gradually dropped and now remains stable. I have experimented 3 times and stopped having them, and each time my count more than doubled very rapidly.

It may not work for you, but it’s worth a try. I have 28 per day – 7 at a time, 4 times a day. I just chew them – I don’t mind the taste, but you can blend them if you don’t like the taste.

I order them online through Chitree.

Hope this is helpful to you.


Hi Sue, This is Denise responding. I’ve tried the seeds before, and I’m afraid that I react badly to them. I worked my way up to about 30/day and started to have symptoms of cyanide poisoning. (I recovered quickly by discontinuing.) Symptoms are severe dizziness and a general feeling of unwellness. That said, I do know of a farmer (I’ve spoken to him) who does quite well by taking apricot seeds daily. He, too, has improved tremendously and credits the apricot seeds. I might consider resuming, but at a lower number — maybe 10 or 12/day for me. The way I dealt with the taste was by holding in my mouth and waiting till the bitter taste became more palatable. Then I would chew and it was okay.

You recommended
I see that my favorite supplement supplier also carries it:

If you decide to try this, please do so with caution. Start with 4 or 5 seeds a day and work your way up, but adding a few to your count every few days. I personally can’t handle too much, but now, because of you, Sue, I know two people who’ve had good results!

Thanks for writing!!! – Denise

PS If anyone else has experience with this, or gives it a try, please write and let us all know how it works for you.

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