59-year-old business owner John Tarr from Nottingham suffers from Crohn’s Disease and until recently had been living with debilitating flare ups in his bowels for over 7 years. He was on a constant merry-go-round of trying out different medication and treatments in an exhausting attempt to alleviate the incredibly painful symptoms of his incurable condition, but nothing seemed to work.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, affecting millions of people worldwide, which causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptoms like abdominal pain and distension, fever, diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss, anaemia and arthritis. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people, most commonly the small intestine, and can often spread into the deeper layers of the bowel. In severe cases, the inflammation can lead to bowel obstruction and those suffering from the disease are at greater risk of colon and small bowel cancer. The precise causes of the disease are unknown, but thought to be a combination of genetic, environmental, immune and bacterial factors.
While there are many treatment options available for Crohn’s disease, including medications and surgery, these options often come with unwanted side effects and are not always effective.
John explains more about living with his condition:
“With Crohn’s disease, it comes and goes in flare ups. I’d go into remission and have nothing, then all of a sudden it would just come back and get me and I wouldn’t be able to leave the house, I’d want to go to the toilet all the time and I’d just feel incredibly uncomfortable. I was in so much pain and absolutely exhausted, like the energy had been zapped right out of me.”
There is currently no cure for Crohn’s, with treatment options aimed at reducing symptoms, maintaining remission and preventing relapse. After trying various medications over the years, John just couldn’t find one that fit with his lifestyle and eased his painful flare ups.
“One treatment involved going to the hospital and sitting there for three-hour infusions of auto-immune system suppressing drugs to stop your body attacking itself, which is what Crohn’s is. But when we went into COVID, taking drugs to suppress my immune system was obviously not the right thing to do, I had to sprint away if I heard someone coughing.
“I’d been self-injecting every two weeks for about three years with that, then had some awful oral tablets which were chemotherapy drugs. They did keep the Crohn’s away, but they just knocked me sideways.”
That’s where Bodyline came in.
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John’s Low Dose Naltrexone Journey with Bodyline
Just when John had reached the conclusion that nothing was ever going to work, he heard from a friend that Bodyline Medical Wellness Clinics were offering a Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) treatment service and, after some extensive research, made a decision that would end up changing his life.
John attended an initial consultation with Dr Morgan Toerien, Bodyline – Clinical Services Lead LDN, and was prescribed an extremely low dose of Naltrexone, with the dosage slowly increased in small increments over the course of 3 months.
Naltrexone has been used for years to treat addiction by blocking the effects of opioids. However, in low doses, it has been found to have incredible effects on the immune system and inflammation. LDN binds to certain receptors in the body that are involved in regulating the immune system and has been shown to reduce the activity of the pro-inflammatory proteins in the human body which are involved in the development of Crohn’s disease. By taking just one tablet of the medication every night, John saw an incredible reduction in his symptoms coupled with a dramatic increase in his both his energy levels and his quality of life.
“I’ve got so much more energy and I’m actually able to sleep now. I used to get really hot at night due to the inflammation, which meant I had difficulty getting to and staying asleep. I’m also clearer in mind, I know it sounds odd, but I can think a lot quicker. I just feel so much more energetic and I’m actually able to exercise now as well, which was a real problem before. I haven’t experienced any side effects from the medication, and I don’t take any of the other drugs anymore either.
“10 months in, I have a better standard of living and I can finally go travelling. I can just jump on a plane and go anywhere, whereas before I really had to consider how Crohn’s would affect me. I’m not nervous anymore, I can do anything!”
The clinician led support and bespoke titrated treatments at Bodyline allowed John to finally start living life free from the shackles of Crohn’s disease, whilst providing him with advice, guidance and reassurance along his LDN journey.
Dr Morgan Toerien, Bodyline – Clinical Services Lead LDN, had this to say:
“At Bodyline, we have seen positive patient outcomes when prescribing Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) as part of a treatment plan for Crohn’s disease. For Crohn’s disease sufferers, LDN has emerged as a promising, effective, well-tolerated and safe, supportive adjunct in the treatment of chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. LDN modulates the immune system and regulates the effects of certain neurotransmitters, leading to reduced inflammation. There is evidence from Bodyline’s patients, John included, that LDN can be effective in relieving some of the debilitating symptoms in Crohn’s disease and improves quality of life.”
“Morgan, my specialist, is just excellent. He’s incredible and such a great guy. He’s so knowledgeable about what he’s prescribing, and he explains it all so well. Without Bodyline I might never have discovered LDN as its publicity isn’t particularly big and I’d never heard of it before. They’ve helped me to discover LDN and finally find a way to go forward in my life. If you have Crohn’s and you’re thinking about it, you have nothing to lose – just go for it!
“I can honestly say that I feel like a new man!”