venom and arthritis

Clinical Case Presentation Subject: Rheumatoid Arthritis and BVT


The patient, Mr. N. is a 41 year old single, white, athletic man with the diagnosis of sero-positive rheumatoid arthritis. He has no other medical problems and was in the prime of health when he first noted morning pain and stiffness in 1987. Being 36 at the time, he thought that he was “getting old” and that the stiffness was from “overdoing it” on the carpentry job site. His symptoms included progressive joint pain, stiffness, constant fatigue and swelling. The pain and stiffness progressed to the point where he was unable to work for all of 1988 and all that kept him from using a wheelchair was stubbornness. He had been treated symptomatically with the following medicines: Dolobid, Aspirin and Motrin. Gold shots and Methotrexate were recommended in October 1989 but when appraised of their side-effects, he opted instead for bee venom.

Laboratory tests were done before and after bee venom treatment. Before starting apitherapy, Mr. N.’s “sed rate” aka Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) was high (79) and his Rheumatoid Factor was positive at 1:80. His rheumatologist confirmed the severity of his deterioration by physical exams noting: “Degenerative arthritic changes”, “Classic RA with nodules in elbows, wrists”. He warned that if the patient did not take gold shots, he would be permanently crippled.

At this point, Mr. N. tried acupuncture and dietary changes with limited success. Then, a friend with arthritis who had been helped by Charles Mraz’s honeybees told him about apitherapy. Mr. N. went to see Charles Mraz in October 1989 and began treatment immediately. 900 stings later, in the spring of 1990, Mr. N. felt “at 90% of my normal health.” He started keeping bees and would take stings only as needed (maybe two stings per month). Since completing the course of bee venom therapy, Mr. N. has taken no medicines except an occasional Aspirin pill (“less painful”) and has returned to his normal diet and lifestyle (no restriction). Today, November 1991, he still feels at 90% of his normal health. He is coaching hockey, walks normally and does not feel, look or act sick On his own initiative, he had some blood drawn to see what happened to his abnormal blood values. Remarkably, the ESR dropped from 75 to a normal of 20. More impressively, his rheumatoid factor dropped from the abnormal rate of 1: 80 to a normal “negative” value.                                                                                                    ‘

What does his rheumatologist say about his” cure”? Mr. N. saw him at the hockey rink where he coaches his rheumatologist’s son. The doctor had known that Mr. N. was using bee venom but he did not approve. He was surprised to see Mr. N.’s fluidity of motion as he skated. He was impressed but neither supportive (sadly) nor curious (shocking). Mr. N. is contemplating writing him a letter inviting discussion about the role of bee venom in his “cure”. Perhaps a dialogue will arise from this effort. But why is it always up to the patient to interest the doctors in potential cures? Why aren’t doctors beating the bushes trying to find or develop new ways to help their patients?

Mr. N. is another in a long line of people with serious degenerative, incapacitating illnesses who took bee venom and got well. Dietary changes, acupuncture, aspirin… all these are contributing factors and perhaps they helped too. Until we muster the financial. and clinical resources to conduct rigorous scientific trials, we can’t know for sure just what helped Mr. N. get relief from a crippling disease. But Mr. N. “knows”. So, lets’ give the last word to Mr. N who reports: “It was the bee venom that got me over the hump. Within one week of starting bee venom, I felt that the tables had turned. The bee venom took away my incapacitating pain and I felt better. Without the venom, I would still be headed for a wheel chair”.

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