Helminthic therapy and scleroderma

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    Scleroderma is a disease that may only exist because of an absence of helminths.

    The missing communication cues from the helminth to the mammalian host can cause exacerbated and uncontrolled immune responses, which in turn can cause widespread vasculopathy and fibrosis, including the pulmonary arteries. It follows that treatment with medical helminths… could provide novel means of intervention for SSc, SSc- associated pulmonary hypertension, and other autoimmune connective tissue diseases. [1]

    The reintroduction of helminths can be very beneficial for those with this disease.

    I was on minocycline antibiotic protocol for scleroderma. My helminthic therapy (HT) supplier felt there was no point starting HT whilst on minocycline. I had only been on minocycline for 3 months and I felt good on it and I have certainly heard of many having success for scleroderma on it. I met one woman who felt in remission from it! However HT felt more like working with my body and so I chose NA hookworm. I've never regretted the decision, much improvement with skin softening and energy levels. No flares of muscle weakness in entire time hosting. [2]

    For more reports of success using helminthic therapy to treat scleroderma, see the following page section.

    The following resounding success was reported in a private message from an individual with MCTD - a crossover syndrome that includes components of scleroderma, dermatomyositis and polymyositis, as well as lupus - who had been on hydroxychloroquine and prednisone for 5 years.

    The worms have been working for me. I have been in drug free remission for over 3 months now, I hypothesize that other lupus-spectrum disorders will respond similarly. After all, HLA-B27 is an autoimmune marker that is shared by inflammatory bowel disease as well as lupus/MCTD.

    There are reports from other individuals with MCTD in the following page section.

    A cautionary note about the use of hookworms in scleroderma patients with associated lung disease

    Helminthic therapy can certainly be beneficial in patients with pulmonary complications associated with scleroderma.

    I have scleroderma which affects the lungs. My diffusion capacity was in the abnormal range prior to helminth. My lung function tests are now completely normal. (Reported at 14 months after first inoculating with NA.) [3]

    However, anyone with pulmonary disease who wishes to try helminthic therapy using hookworms (NA) should adopt a very conservative approach to dosing to avoid the possibility of developing Loffler’s syndrome. See Too many hookworms may cause Löffler’s (Loeffler's) syndrome.

    One patient with advanced lung disease associated with scleroderma (pulmonary hypertension and interstitial lung disease), who had enjoyed significant benefits after two initial doses of NA (the first of 5 and the second of 15) then developed Loffler’s syndrome following a further dose of 15 NA. She went into right heart failure requiring admission to hospital, termination of her hookworm colony and a course of high dose prednisone. For more detail about this case see: Do hookworms pose a threat to patients with respiratory disease?

    Others with lung issues associated with scleroderma who are interested in trying helminthic therapy with hookworms might therefore be advised to start with a dose of only 3 NA, followed not less than 12 weeks later by a further 3, or possibly 5, and perhaps using doses no larger than 10 indefinitely. If they want to see what additional effect, if any, larger doses might have, it would be advisable to make any increase very gradually, and perhaps also extend the intervals between doses. For more on hookworm dosing in general, see Hookworm dosing and response.

    See also

    The following videos feature scleroderma sufferer, Jane Puckey.