Astrodiana's story: Cure from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Dr. Stratton's original protocol
PCRi of Chlamydia Pneumoniae - positive in blood
His protocol has changed and gone thru several permutations since the one I was prescribed, but it worked for me!! Below is what I have written about it over the years - I am not sure that the things I state as "fact" are really fact, but it is my interpretation of what I was told:
The organism is Chlamydia pneumoniae, not to be confused with the sexually transmitted Chlamydia...it is a bacterium that acts as a retro virus...it is estimated that most (if not all) of the population has contracted this bug by the time they reach 80 - some at 6 mos. some when they are older. For the most part, it does little or nothing to a person...kind of like the herpes virus present on all of our skin, but only giving a cold sore to people whose immunei system allows it in.....Dr. Stratton's research included I think about 2500 people with CFSi - about half of all the people he tested for CFS had the CP DNA in their blood, cells and organs from what I understand....they had to do a titers test...unfortunately, his research lab closed down due to his research funding on this drying up. I was one of the last ones, in fall of '98 to be able to send my blood to him to be tested. I believe that after his lab closed down, there were a couple of other labs in the country that did a PARTIAL test for this, but the test they do did not show the whole story...it showed if the organism is in your blood, but not if it's still active and replicating in your organs at a lower amount. Now, in 2006, I think there are labs that do the complete blood work which Dr. Stratton did at his lab.
I had two MD's in Chicago who conferred with Dr. Stratton to be able to prescribe his protocol to me rather than me having to travel down to Tennessee to see him at his office. The girl who told me about Dr. Stratton, a former client of mine, whose father is a doctor and sent her from place to place for a cure for her CFS (for many years) now lives in Boston and has been prescribed her protocol by the head of infectious disease at Boston University Hospital...she told me I would be welcome to travel there and get the prescriptions for a year at a time if I couldn't find a doc here in Chicago to do it for me. I believe she knows of a couple of other doctors in the country who have prescribed this protocol. Everyone that my friend knows who has done the protocol has been cured of the chronic fatigue and all of its symptoms. I know another holistic MD here in Chicago who was also open to conferring with D. Stratton - Stratton gladly e-mailed any doctor who wanted to prescribe it for their patient - although it might not be easy to reach him anymore. In any event, my client/friend got a doctor here in Chicago to agree to prescribing the protocol for me - she had originally gotten it from this same doctor, Dr. K, and his wife and daughter were also about to begin the protocol. After I was on the protocol for about a year, Dr. K said his wife and daughter were no longer taking the antibioticsi because they could not tolerate them - he began to question the wisdom of antibiotic treatment (and preferred natural means) - and so he wanted me off the protocol for a while and to cycle the antibiotics, on six weeks and then off six or twelve weeks. When I talked to Dr. Stratton about this, he said that the meds should not be cycled on and off, because the organism had to be continually bombarded with meds until it was eradicated, otherwise it could gain a foothold and be more difficult to get rid of. So - just as I was about to travel down to see Dr. Stratton at his office and have the protocol prescribed to me by him, my current doctor offered to prescribe it for me. Dr. Stratton said that from cases he has seen, I may have been born with cp and another doctor told me it sits in the ovaries...
The protocol is a "cocktail" of several antibiotics - over the years he has tweaked the meds to see what would be more effective - he also has alternates for anyone who is allergic to specific antibiotics. The various meds are meant to combat the different stages of growth of the bacteria. Often, he has found that people with the CP organism feel better while they are on antibiotics...that is only anecdotal, though. It was VERY true of me, to the point that I had discovered if I could just get some antibiotics from my doctor (difficult with a constantly low temp) I could get a little energy while on them..
Dr. Stratton explained to me that the chronic fatigue was cyclical....at first, some bad days or weeks followed by good days weeks or months, where the person sometimes even thinks they are over whatever had been making them sick...but as time goes on, the good weeks happen less often, and become only a few good days here and there, while the bad days turn into bad months and years. When a person has C. pneumoniae replicating in them and taking over all of their cells (by scooping out your mitochondria and setting up little reproductive factories in them and your organs), Dr. Stratton said that eventually it leads to death. He told me that at my numbers, he was very surprised I was functioning at all. Dr. Stratton also told me that he was quite certain that once I was cured of the cp, my allergies and sensitivities would disappear - including an allergy to sulfa drugs I had and an allergic reaction to metronidazole I had experienced. I am no longer allergic or sensitive to anything.
The ideal is if you have a doc who you already know who is willing to treat you according to Dr. Stratton's protocol. My friend was not on thyroid or any hormone and has had a remarkable recovery. I am hypothyroid, had weak adrenals and multiple allergies and sensitivities - my hypothyroid has stayed but I am fine as long as I take the thyroid hormone - all of my other problems, allergies, symptoms, etc have disappeared.....my friend has had to stop the protocol three times to become pregnant and give birth, but got remarkably better on it - now I believe she is dealing with it a different way, strengthening the adrenals and also watching her children for the illness. (I could find out more about what she is doing for it now) - Dr. Stratton seemed to be helping and curing people with MS and he has found cp implicated in lupus. Other research has found that when a person has a heart attack, CP could be released into the bloodstream and cause another one within 2 months later...they counteract this by giving Zithromax for 5 days after the heart attack.....
So - here's what I took:
500 mg. Amoxicillini 2xdaily
500 mg. Probenecid 2xdaily
300 mg. INHi - Isoniazid once daily
250 mg. Zithromax Mon-Wed -Fri
(I took 500 mg 3x weekly for the first 4 years)
I began with the 500 mgs Zithromax three times a week and added another drug every month. I never saw a copy of the protocol until I had been taking the meds for over 3 years, at which time I realized that Dr. Stratton had recommended introducing the various drugs slowly, First once a week, then gradually upping the dose on each med until you were finally on the full protocol. he also recommended taking the amoxicillin first, which I didn't do...I trusted that since Dr. K's wife and daughter were on the protocol, he knew how to prescribe it!! When my Dr. Bain took over prescribing, he just continued to prescribe the protocol I had been on...he trusted I knew what I needed to do with the meds. In any event, I tolerated the drugs well and got continually better. The first thing to improve, was the chronic cough I had developed... within two months of beginning the Zithromax and then the amoxicillin, the cough was GONE!
Dr. Stratton wanted us on a no red meat diet, with a lot of simple carbs, as I remember it, but I didn't find that worked well for me. I had been doing my best on a high protein diet for low blood sugar since the 70's. He wanted us to take 500mg L-glutamine, which I took for two or three years and then stopped, and felt no difference with or without it - basically, though - Dr. Stratton wanted us on the glutamine to feed our cells while the organism was dying.
B12 shots 3x weekly - to help with the die off pains...this organism releases a toxin into the body when it dies - Dr. Stratton has since found the sublingual B12 works just as well...but since the die off happens mostly at night while you're laying down, you need to have that by your bed (5000mcg sublingually twice a day)...it is HORRIBLE, EXTREME pains in the arms and leg muscles - or any place you have a weak spot - mine was ankles and neck...he also recommends activated charcoal, 4 grams 3x daily - two hours before or after meds, so that it doesn't interrupt absorption...it keeps the toxins released into your system from being reabsorbed thru the gut and gets it out of the body...my friend won't take this...I did for some years,. because it does cut down very much on the horrible die off pain. And yet the pain is bearable, because you know the little bugger is dying! I took both the sublingual B12 and also the shots, because they gave me fantastic energy. Later in the protocol (about 2 years into it) Dr. Stratton also suggested I take metronidazole (Flagyl), but my face and eyes swelled up from it, in a classic allergic drug reaction - so he told me not to chance it... I gave myself the B12shots intramuscularly usually a couple of times a week and they helped me enormously. I have never had leaky gut, or a problem with yeast, so it is possible this is why the Flagy never helped me...some of the girls on the Flagyl said it gave them energy and helped them a great deal.
When I spoke with Dr. Stratton I told him I had times when I got very bad diarrhea from the Zithromax and I asked about using something like Imodium to relieve it. He said that it was a good idea to take 3 Pepto Bismal tablets (I got the generic brands) after each meal whenever I felt my digestive system wasn't going to deal with the food well or when I had diarrhea. Since antacids are not good to take within a couple of hours of some of the meds, the Pepto Bismal was very helpful, although I didn't have to take it too often.. But now, I see that if a person is taking doxycycline, anything containing bismuth is also contra-indicated. In any event if you need these things, you can separate them from the meds by at least two hours.
Dr. Stratton recommended that I switch to Rifampin instead of the INH - Isoniazid (he was having better results with Rifampin) - also a drug for TB and other bacilli - but it is stronger and I was frankly afraid - so I stayed on INH and was satisfied that it was doing the job. I know all of those with MS were on Rifampin and took carnitine. He wants you to drink 6 quarts of water daily - let's say I did what I could in this regard! Some days, I come pretty close! I have had NO bad reactions to the long term antibiotics, but he would answer your e-mails if you were having a problem and always seemed to have some kind of suggestion or solution. The Zithromax can cause some pretty awful diarrhea at first - first month or so. It is advisable to take a probiotic daily to keep your intestines healthy, but I rarely did - I can only think I had so much of this bacteria in me to kill, the antibiotics did nothing but good for me. I have never had candida or yeast overgrowth but most he has treated have had this. It is possible that the charcoal helped my intestines deal with the toxins also. You will find that the periods of time when you feel well get longer and the exacerbations get shorter and further between....I went from what I would call 2% total energy and no days where I could lift my head for more than one hour daily, to probably 95% or more energy now - I have a life! The first year on the protocol, I found my good days with a little energy happening more often and my really bad day were slightly better...each year I got more and more weeks and months where I felt pretty good, but still energy only until about noon - maybe a nap and then a couple more hours of staying awake and functional. My fibromyalgiai was the last thing to leave me, although it was no longer with me every single day and only got bad when I was tired or had done something strenuous. Probably the fourth year on the protocol my fibro was gone and only appeared about once every three months when I had done something extraordinarily active. I stopped taking the meds in Feb, 2004... Last year, in 2005, I had a couple of colds, but my immune system is quite strong now. The colds were not as severe as the others in my family had them either and I was not "laid up" with them. When I get sick now, it isn't like before, when it would put me in bed for a week unable to function at all. I can wake up at 7 AM and have a full day, no naps, and get into bed by 10 or 11:00 PM without an ache, pain of any kind, sore throat or sore glands. I feel fantastic. My muscles have strength again. I can do strenuous things and walk for miles without a problem. Good luck to everyone interested! Back in the time of his research lab, Dr. Stratton said that you have a 50% chance that Cpni, is your problem if you have CFS. If the organism is found in your blood, the protocol will almost certainly get rid of it for you. So the test would be the starting point for you. I was tested for leaky gut syndrome and did not have it, but my doc told me that most people who have the cp also have that (which obviously complicate the ability to tolerate the meds and the problem of the dying toxins recirculating into your blood)....he attributed me having a healthy gut to all the antioxidantsi I have taken for so many years (over 30 years). Some have been rid of the organism in 18 months...he said 3 or more years was common, but I had been told that I had the highest amount of titers his lab had seen, so I guess it took longer...I was tested for liver function during the 3rd, 6th, and 9th months after I began the INH - my doc, being very intuitive, didn't test me more than twice to see if I still had the organism in me, but just worked with me on this and prescribed more when we felt I still I needed it. I began the protocol on Dec 1, 1998 and in Jan, 2004 my doctor and I felt the organism was gone. I was not tested a lot along the way...I am afraid we depended on Woo-Woo science (our intuition) to help me thru any obstacles I came to along the way and to finally ascertain if I was cured. From time to time, when I was feeling well, we would try muscle testing and ask my arm if I was rid of the cp yet. finally, In January of '04 my body replied "yes- it is GONE!!" My energy was back...my fibromyalgia is gone, my immune system is strong and all of my allergies and sensitivities are gone , except the tree pollen allergy I have had since I was a child (and even that isn't very severe any more) Dr. Stratton is a wonderful and very humanitarian man...but very busy - he was available by phone years ago, and the best way to reach him was by e-mail and I have recently heard that nobody has been able to contact him.
I stopped taking the protocol in February 2004...and am rid of the Cpn I feel great! More labs across the country are testing for this, as well as the arthritis foundation, which also tests for mycoplasma infectionsi. I know the arthritis foundation confers with people and suggests a much lesser anitibiotic regimen for cp. http://www.tarci.net/ Dr. Coker-Vann is always available to talk with your doctor about the tests, the results and the suggested treatment for the stealth infections. My son was tested here for the mycoplasma infections. cp and ASO (strep)...often more than one infection is present. I got rid of my mycoplasma infection and my resulting rheumatoid arthritis by taking 100mg minocin daily for a year, back in 1993. But obviously Minocin for a year did not put a dent in my Cpn infection.
I wonder if it works? and if it gets rid of the organism for good? I have had many doctors tell me that this protocol I was on is overkill - much more than needed... but I am not sure I could have gotten rid of the cp any other way.