Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Low Dose Naltrexone website - Why HCV is not listed?

I recently wrote to the folks who have the Low Dose Naltrexone site and asked why Hep C is not among the conditions listed that improve with the use of LDN. And this is what I was told:

We were delighted to hear of your excellent control of Hep C using LDN alone.   The reason why Hep C is not on our list relates to Dr. Bihari's past experience in his active practice (Bihari was the discoverer of the human uses of LDN). He did not have your experience with dozens of his patients who were being seen for HIV (and thus were all on LDN) but who also had Hep C.

He did use LDN in the therapy of Hep C, BUT only as a secondary treatment.Hypericin and LDN for Hepatitis C.

Hypericin and LDN for Hepatitis C

"In a study of St. John's Wort in 15 patients with HIV in 1990, Dr.Bihari had accidentally discovered a significant benefit to liver function in two patients with hepatitis B (whereas there was no improvement in HIV markers). Bihari then began to use St. John's Wort in his private practice to treat hepatitis B and hepatitis C - patients with the latter responded well, the former not at all. Since 1995, Dr. Bihari has been able to use a very highly concentrated form of hypericin, the active ingredient found in St. John's Wort, called HY2 (manufactured by Pacific Biologic in Clayton, CA; 800-869-8783) in the treatment of people with hepatitis C. It is given along with LDN, to enhance the immune response, and in many cases with ribavirin, as an antiviral. Over 60 patients have been successfully treated for hepatitis C in Dr. Bihari's practice. (but what does this mean?)

Dr. Bernard Bihari has put out the results of an interesting observational study he conducted through his practice in New York. The study involved fifteen people with Hepatitis C, seven of whom are also HIV+. Each day, participants took between 2 and 7 capsules of HY2 (depending on each person's ability to tolerate the HY2) and 3mg of naltrexone (ReVia), an opiate blocker. HY2 is a form of St. John's Wort, a naturally occurring herb. Hypericin, a chemical derived from St. John's Wort, has shown strong anti-viral activity in the test tube against a wide variety of viruses. Each capsule of the HY2 used by Dr. Bihari's patients contains 750mg of St. John's Wort, with a 220% increase in hypericin content (2.25mg hypericin) over standard St. John's Wort preparations. This same HY2 is available at the PWA Health Group.

Dr. Bihari has followed his patients for up to two years. In almost all cases, Dr. Bihari's patients' latest lab reports show normal or close-to-normal AST and ALT results. These tests measure the levels of enzymes produced by the liver. The elevated enzymes which all of the participants had at the beginning of the study are usually an indication of liver inflammation or damage. Many study participants were using milk thistle and/or thioctic (lipoic) acid, popular supplements that enhance liver function. Four participants added ribavirin to their regimens.

With these additional, varied therapies, and even the naltrexone, many questions remain. How much the HY2 contributed to people's successful drop in liver enzymes isn't entirely clear.

One person who stopped taking HY2 and took regular St. John's Wort instead showed an increase in enzymes until he went back to the HY2. When two other study participants stopped their regimens for a while, their enzymes shot up, then decreased again after going back on the regimen. We know that taking ribavirin alone can sharply decrease liver enzymes; but when you stop ribavirin, enzymes pop back up. The same seems to be true of HY2 and the other treatments Dr. Bihari's patients are using. It may be helpful to give your liver a break for a period of time.(?) But we don't know yet what will happen once these folks stop their regimen completely or whether anyone's virus will clear.

The experience was interesting but half of his patients were also coinfected with HIV and there really isn't much of a followup - I wonder if any of them achieved SVR? It doesn't seem so.  I wrote back to the LDN website folks to let them know that I was disappointed that LDN for HCV was not listed as a condition treatable based on Bihari's study on 15 people.

On another note,  George Henderson recently posted about Spirulina and how it brought about SVR in some HCV folks who were using it - I love George!!!!!   He is so far ahead of the rest of us.

Spirulina Platensis versus Silymarin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. A pilot randomized, comparative clinical trial.

Among the 30 patients who had been treated with Spirulina and completed the 6 months protocol, 4 patients (13.3%) had a complete end of treatment virological response. While 2 patients (6.7%) had partial end of treatment response defined as significant decrease of virus load of at least 2-log10 at the end of 6 months treatment. No virological response (non-ETR) (defined as no reduction of at least 2 logs10 from the baseline virus load) was reported in the remaining 80% of Spirulina treated group.   The High-fat Hep C Diet  

  So perhaps some of you might want to try adding Hypericin (and not just "regular" St. John's wart to their regimen along with Spirulina and report back? If I had the bucks, maybe I would again be the guinea pig as I have been with LDN - hell, with over 4 years of NORMAL LIVER ENYZMES and over 4 years of LAB RESULTS via QUEST LABS - and over 4 years of using the same 3 mg  capsules of LDN provided by Skip's Pharmacy -  I should qualify for a "clinical trial?"

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