Dr Wheldon’s Combined Antibiotic Protocol (CAP)
“The Combined Antibiotic Protocol has enabled me to take up my life again and rebuild my hope for the future. It has started my recovery and halted my relapses.”
Ella Findlay, 28, was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS at 21 which soon got rapidly worse. She lives in Farnham, Surrey and works as a volunteer for two disability charities. She recently did a daredevil sky dive to raise money for the msrc. Ella’s mother, Michele Findlay, is an artist and retired teacher.
Two years ago, no one would have known that I had MS. Although I had had a couple of relapses, I had recovered well enough to appear ‘normal’. But the relapse which started at Christmas in 2005 was different; it went on and on and by March I was unable to stand, could not do anything for myself, and was having difficulty breathing.
When I was admitted to hospital I was pretty bad on the disability scale. I could still swallow and speak, although I found it hard to answer questions, could not sit up or feed myself, see clearly, hold a cup, comb my hair, or wipe my bum. I was very scared and every day I would ask myself when this was going to stop. Not even steroids helped.
Ella’s mother Michele takes up the story: “From the moment of Ella’s diagnosis I had been wondering what had triggered it and about the timing of her relapses. Were they to do with seasonal changes? Had they something to do with stress? Or was there an infectious trigger to these events? Certainly her latest attack seemed to coincide with a bladder infection and the slight levelling out of Ella’s symptoms seemed to happen as she was being treated with antibiotics.
I had a gut feeling that there was something making her very ill, not purely because of the neurological problems, but also because of the pale, sallow colour of her skin, her wildly fluctuating temperature, her body’s inability to keep warm and her sudden loss of thinking capacity.
I remembered Ella’s apparent recovery when she was undergoing antibiotic treatment for the bladder infection which seemed to have triggered this relapse.
So, looking for an explanation, I did an internet search with the words: multiple sclerosis, antibiotics. Immediately I came upon the site of Dr David Wheldon, a consultant microbiologist in Bedford who came up with the Combined Antibiotic Protocol (CAP).
With Ella’s full support, I made an appointment with Dr Wheldon. The consultation took over an hour in which he examined her and explained the treatment.
Ella continues the story: “With my knowledgeable mother by my side, I began the CAP, wondering whether I had the Chlamydia Pneumoniae (Cpn) infection. The best way to find out was by trying the protocol and seeing if I had reactions to the antibiotics. It wasn’t long before I got some reactions; when I first started taking the antibiotics they made me feel sick and depressed.
So Dr Wheldon cut back to one antibiotic - doxycycline. It was about two weeks before I was able to tolerate the second antibiotic, Azithromycin, and when I started taking it again I only took 1 a week, gradually increasing to 3 a week.
I carried on taking only these two antibiotics, during which time I gradually recovered some function, became more stable, and experienced fewer fluctuations in my symptoms. I was also looking more healthy, had more energy, had lost the brain fog and was able to start living independently again.
Support From Other People
During that time I received a lot of support from the other people on the www.cpnhelp.org site who are following the same protocol as me. This has been so important because some of the symptoms people with MS experience on this treatment, especially when starting the third antibiotic, appear remarkably like another relapse.
For example, when I started taking the metronidazole (the killing antibiotic) 6 months after starting the other two, I had a marked loss of function in my right arm. It was so bad that I could no longer write, or carry anything. This loss of function lasted for about 4 weeks and then slowly, over the course of 3 or 4 months and without the benefit of steroids, the function returned.
Not only did it return but I now found my hand to be stronger and more dextrous than it had been before. The difference between these pseudo relapses and a real MS relapse is that after you recover from it your function is marginally better than before it happened and as time goes by the improvement continues slowly.
These events can be explained by the action of the antibiotics and the immune system on the colonies of Cpn bacteria. The antibiotics cause inflammation and cell death at the site of the colonies and that results in loss of function.
The doctors involved in the CAP believe that the immune system is not damaging the brain or central nervous system without cause. They explain that there is an infection at these sites and the immune system is doing a clean-up job as it is supposed to do but at the same time it causes collateral damage to the tissues.
The reason most doctors do not suspect an infection as the cause of MS is that Cpn and other stealth pathogens do not cause high fevers or other readily -noticed symptoms of infection. The antibiotics alone are not sufficient to rid the body of this bacterium but it will give the immune system a head start by reducing the load.
Taking the third antibiotic Flagyl (metronidazole) does precipitate symptoms and this can be scary, but as time goes by you learn that these are good signs and will lead to healing.
I have learnt from my communications with other people undergoing this treatment that each person is different. There are MS people who started the CAP soon after their diagnosis who do not have reactions at all and are getting better, and there are others who have more marked reactions than I do but are still getting better if more slowly than me.
There is also a minority of people for whom the treatment is so uncomfortable that they cannot continue or some for whom it may not work.
It is important to realise that the CAP is not a magic bullet, it won’t cure you overnight, but it will give your immune system a helping hand and give your body a chance to heal itself.
This treatment also works for those with primary or secondary MS. Dr. Wheldon's wife Sarah had very aggressive SPMS and there are several people on the Cpnhelp board with these sorts of MS who are gaining benefits.
Now, some 18 months after starting I continue to improve. I am in a stable condition, my eyesight is normal, my body is slowly healing but there is still a long way to go. My EDSS score at the moment is 5.5.
It isn’t easy, but I have hope for the future now and I believe it is not foolish to believe I can regain full use of my body.
What Is Combined Antibiotic Protocol?
It began with Drs Stratton and Sriram in Vanderbilt (US). They had been researching Chlamydia Pneumoniae (Cpn), a distant cousin of the better known Chlamydia Trachomatis, and had discovered that people with MS had colonies of this Cpn bacterium in their brain and central nervous system. They then formulated an antibiotic protocol to try to eradicate it.
Cpn also affects people who do not have MS, It is initially a respiratory disease which can cause asthma, sinusitis and a host of other diseases. Unfortunately for MS patients, the bacteria have crossed the Blood Brain Barrier and infected the Central Nervous System.
To start with, that treatment was so unpleasant, many people dropped out. Then Dr Wheldon suggested some changes that would give people the option of going more slowly but without inducing possible bacterial resistance to the antibiotic.
One problem with treating Chlamydia Pneumoniae with a CAP is that the dying bugs tend to make people feel worse than they did before until the bacteria are substantially reduced.
Another problem is that Cpn has three phases to its life cycle. In its first phase it migrates as Elementary Bodies (EB) to colonise other parts of the body. When it finds suitable cells it infiltrates them, steals their energy, and becomes a parasite.
When in the cell it starts reproducing in vast numbers. If the environment is suitable, the cell will burst open and release these EBs into the bloodstream to colonise more cells. If the environment is not suitable, Cpn will remain dormant within the cell. The fact Cpn hides mean that it is sometimes difficult to detect. If it is dormant, no one will know it is there as it may not be apparent in the blood.
Three Combined Antibiotics
Three antibiotics are used to treat Cpn; two to stop Cpn replicating and one to kill Cpn within the cells. Patients usually take these antibiotics for months and years rather than day and weeks, to makes sure that all dormant Cpn has been eradicated. So treating Cpn takes time, patience, and tenacity. The antibiotics used are:
• 1) Doxycycline, 200mg once a day.
• 2) Azithromycin, 250mg three times a week (Mon Wed Fri)
The combination of Doxycycline and Azithromycin work in synergy to prevent the replication of Cpn; not only are they more effective together at stopping it from replicating but Cpn cannot find a way round the twin antibiotics that enables them to evolve a resistance to them.
* 3) Metronidazole, (‘Flagyl’) 400mg three times a day.
Metronidazole is taken in five-day bouts every three weeks or so. This antibiotic kills Cpn and causes the dying bacteria to release toxins which can cause some discomfort.
Initial treatment is a minimum of a year with many patients treated for much longer. So treating Cpn takes time, patience, and tenacity.
These antibiotics cost very little, especially compared to the usual MS drugs, but doctors often feel reluctant to use this as a treatment for MS because of the resistance problem. Dr Wheldon explains that if the antibiotics are taken as recommended there is little chance of resistance.
Additionally, patients take a complex list of supplements to support the metabolism and digestive system.
* B-12 5000mcg sublingually every day
* Best quality Omega 3 fish oil 4000mg
* Vitamin D 4000mcg
* Vitamin B complex with C 1g a day
* Vitamin E 800mcg
* Selenium 100mcg
* Co-enzyme Q10 200-400mg a day.
* N-acetyl cystein 600mg twice a day *Combined Acetyl L-Carnitine 1000mg and Alpha Lipoic acid 300mg per day.
* Magnesium 300mg
* Calcium 500mg
Calcium, magnesium and acidophilus should be taken at least 2-3 hours after doxycycline.
* Acidophilus or lactobacillus sporogenes, as required.
Those interested in the science and biology of this infection and the treatment to eradicate it should visit Dr Wheldon’s site: http://www.davidwheldon.co.uk/ms-treatment.html
Or visit the CAP for Cpn website where you will find both support and information: