I spoke with a rheumatologist in California, Dr. Michael Powell, who is cautiously using a combination of antibiotics in conjunction with standard therapeutics for the treatment of nanobacterium (including Cpn) in patients suffering from FM, CFS and autoimmune disorders. His results with this treatment program have been encouraging. He faxed me some examples of patient feedback forms, excerpts from which you can see below. Recovery is not instantaneous, but tends to occur over a 6 to 12 month period. The graphs of subjective improvement are drawn from visual analogue scores compiled during each visit. When summarized in this manner these data give a time-lapsed impression of the response to treatment.
One of the interesting things he mentioned was in relation to negative patient serology for Cpn when other clinical signs lead him to suspect some involvement. Serologic assays for IgG, IgM and IgA are sent to confirm infection prior to treatment. He would like to see a positive serology in patients before engaging them in a combination antibiotic protocol, but recognizes that patients may not have antibody reactions. This may be due to the ability of intracellular organisms like Cpn to evade a humoral response (antibody production), immunoglobulin depletion, or other factors. In these cases, when there is a high index of suspicion for the infection without a humoral response, he tests the spouse of the partner for Cpn. He sees the "non-symptomatic" partner as a good indicator of Cpn in the patient, given the infectious nature of Cpn. Thus far, most spouses are positive when an ill family member is non-reactive.
In our discussion Dr. Powell pointed out the many similarities between TB and Cpn. Both organisms can evade our immune system. Both organisms can be carried from the lungs, the original site of infection, and infect other tissues. Both require prolonged treatment with multiple drugs to eradicate the infection. Both are sensitive to stress levels. Optimal therapy is being evaluated at various research centers and new medications for Cpn are on the horizon (see activbiotics.com).
INH and supplements for endotoxins-
Dr. Powell finds most patients improve on a standard combination antibiotic protocol for Cpn. Rheumatologist have apparently been using doxycycline for many years with success for inflammatory arthritis but there is evidence that using doyxcycline in combination with rifampin is even more effective. Some patients plateau after about 8 months of treatment he has found variations in the treatment protocol have made a difference. One protocol he uses involves the use of NAC 600 mg twice daily, INH 300 mg once daily before breakfast, and metronidazole 500 mg twice daily pulsed with 5 days on and two weeks off. It is essential to start each agent separately and gradually increase the dose over weeks or months as tolerated. The use of Vitamin C 500 - 1000 mg four times daily (the half life of vitamin C is 30 minutes and little remains after 3 hours) to offset the release of toxins during therapy. B6 is important to control INH related peripheral neuropathy. Monthly laboratory evaluation of AST, ALT, Cr, and CBC are recommended for all who engage in this protocol. It is not uncommon for liver enzymes to show a mild elevation during the initial stages of treatment. Antibiotic therapy should be temporarily discontinued during periods of toxicity, should it arise. He emphasized the importance of insuring that yeast and fungal infections do not overgrow during protracted antibiotic use. He recommends the use of acidophillus, nystatin, diflucan, oregano oil, and/or grapefruit seed extract as needed to prevent secondary opportunistic infection during treatment.
Covering for the possibility of yeast and fungal overgrowth during antibiotic therapy is essential. If diarrhea develops, stool must be evaluated for antibiotic associated diarrhea (C. difficile). This is not a simple protocol and it is best if it is guided by an experienced clinician who is familiar with the medications and methods of minimizing toxicity related to killing the nanobacterium.
A link to Dr. Powells clinic may be found on our links page. Dr. Powell does do telephone consultations by arrangement and may be a resource for those who have had difficulty finding a Cpn knowledgeable doctor in their area. He requires an initial visit with a physical examination before initiating therapy (lab work can be performed prior to the initial visit to facilitate diagnosis and treatment), and monthly laboratory testing with monthly phone consults are then the norm. Treatment of related hormone imbalances in the thyroid system and nutritional support, temporary antidepressant support as needed, and sleeping medications are useful adjuncts to the antibiotic protocol. It is necessary for patients to have a primary care physician to monitor health matters that are unrelated to FM, CFS and autoimmune disease.