Why should we take a deeper look at parasite problems? There are several important reasons which we will examine over the next few pages. Don’t jump to any conclusions until you’ve finished reading the entire chapter!
First, the anti-parasitic treatments included in most over-the-counter herbal cleanses are not typically powerful enough to accomplish the goals we are after; therefore, even if you’ve done parasite cleanses, you probably haven’t addressed more extensive parasitic infestations.
But more importantly, while some parasitic infections are located in the gut, many are not restricted to the intestinal tract. If you’ve read my past book, The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments, you may recall this statement from the introductory chapter:
"Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, an elongated, spiral-shaped bacteria transmitted to humans through the bite of a tick. Known as spirochetes, these bacteria are unusual, not well studied, elusive and difficult to cultivate in the laboratory, and capable of advanced survival activities more commonly found in larger, more intelligent organisms."
Pay attention to the last sentence. Years after I wrote that statement, it is now well-established that Borrelia organisms (and even the co-infections Babesia and Bartonella) are unlike many other kinds of microorganisms in that they are highly advanced in their lifecycle activities, survival capabilities, and ability to respond to environmental threats.
However, there appears to be even more going on here. Many physicians and researchers now believe that there are also other, recently discovered community members living within the infectious colonies inside the body of an infected person. Modern science hasn’t solved all the mysteries surrounding this discovery, but we are beginning to uncover some answers to important questions. For example, we know that these community members are larger than Borrelia, Bartonella and Babesia, and we know that they play an important role in the Lyme complex. They are likely worm, or worm-like organisms, or even a number of different species of worm-like organisms. It is also possible that these organisms may have merged with Borrelia, creating a type of hybrid organism with shared DNA.
As it turns out, these larger worms or parasites have some surprising properties. First, they can live outside the gut and throughout the rest of the body. Historically, worms and worm-like parasites were believed to be mostly confined to the gut. These new worms or parasites can take up residence with Borrelia, Babesia and Bartonella, take shelter within biofilm communities, and become important partners in the survival of the infections. Over the last several years, different researchers have given these new organisms different names.
It now appears that many Lyme sufferers are infected with these newly acknowledged parasites, just like many Lyme sufferers carry co-infections. Furthermore, because of the symbiotic relationship between parasites and Lyme-related infections, without addressing parasites, overall progress in healing may be halted. Therefore, the topic of treating parasitic infections is a hugely important topic. Ignoring it could cause your entire healing process to come to a halt.
Additionally, evidence indicates that anti-parasitic treatments may, in fact, be able to target more than just these parasites; they may also target Borrelia, Bartonella, and Babesia. So, use of these treatments can have all kinds of important new benefits. Thinking of them only as "anti-parasite treatments" restricts their definition to a very limited scope and misses the important reality that they may have a larger impact on entire colonies containing numerous types of bacteria. Bacterial colonies cloaked in biofilm are complex communities, and we don’t yet fully appreciate how various treatments are capable of weakening and compromising them.
But there’s more. At least one top practitioner has discovered that worm DNA can be found in bacterial biofilm, meaning that larger and more complex organisms (worms) may be involved, to some degree, in the proliferation and survival of much smaller bacteria, such as Borrelia. In fact, it may be impossible to adequately treat Lyme disease biofilms without addressing this worm component. So, as you can see, the use of anti-parasite (and anti-worm) treatments may go a lot further than merely killing a few worms that may be living in the gut. Anti-worm therapies may have the capability to destabilize entire Lyme disease colonies located in deep tissue throughout the body, helping to destroy Lyme disease. Let’s summarize:
Borrelia organisms and co-infections like Babesia and Bartonella may be susceptible to the advanced anti-parasite treatments listed later in this chapter, giving you a new weapon against these infections.
The protective biofilm surrounding Borrelia colonies may be degraded by anti-parasite treatments.
There may be worms or worm-like organisms living within bacterial colonies throughout the body, and these organisms may be susceptible to anti-parasite treatments.
Anti-parasite treatments may have a significant impact in weakening all of the infective colonies throughout the body.
If parasites are untreated, progress against the other infections, like Borrelia, Babesia and Bartonella, can come to a halt. In this way, treating parasites doesn’t just provide the benefits discussed in this list, it also renders other co-infections more susceptible to treatment.
Finally, it’s important to remember that the kinds of parasites we are talking about in this chapter don’t just inhabit the gut; they can also inhabit many other parts of the body.
These theories aren’t just academic. In fact, many Lyme sufferers are noticing huge improvements when using various anti-worm protocols. But it is important to be very clear here: Most of the well-known and often-used anti-parasite cleanses and herbal preparations are not capable of eradicating the parasites involved in Lyme disease. Keep reading to discover new solutions which offer much greater efficacy.
When employing these new solutions, some people report gains that were previously impossible using any other treatment. Even cognitive symptoms such as depression, memory loss, irritability, anxiety, and others can respond rapidly to anti-parasitic treatments. It is for this reason that I believe this chapter has some of the most important information in the entire book. We aren’t just talking about a theoretical breakthrough; we are talking about a new treatment methodology that has actually been making many people feel much, much better.
It makes sense that such significant healing is possible if prior Lyme disease treatment was only targeting Borrelia, Babesia, and Bartonella but missing an entire species of worm or parasite. My own battle with Lyme disease began shortly after I consumed contaminated snow on a hike, circa 2001. I had horrible intestinal symptoms for weeks after this incident, which gave way to full-blown Lyme disease. I believe that Borrelia, Bartonella, and Babesia were hiding out in my body prior to this but were fully activated by the presence of some new kind of parasites that were introduced on that hike. Is it possible that parasites I picked up from that snow somehow migrated out of my digestive system, joined forces with Borrelia and company, and began building infective colonies together? Could this be why my Lyme disease symptoms exploded after what should have been a parasitic episode limited to my gut? I believe this is exactly what happened. I think there is a lot more going on with this disease than we currently understand. I even believe it is possible that Borrelia and the intestinal parasites somehow morphed inside my body into one hybrid organism with customized DNA. In fact, I believe that many people infected with parasites and Lyme organisms may be harboring custom species inside their bodies, species which can be different from any other species in the world. Such DNA sharing has been recorded in the scientific literature, and these kinds of incidents could explain why everyone responds so differently to Lyme disease treatment. If we are all walking around with a slightly different variation of the disease, it makes sense that no two people will respond in the same way to the available treatments.
I’m not alone in my observations. Several top researchers have identified new organisms which appear in their Lyme disease patients. Some of these organisms are labeled as protozoan, some are labeled as bacteria, and some are actually thought to be hybrid organisms which display characteristics of more than one kind of microorganism. Anti-parasitic drugs are thought to be among the most useful treatments for these new organisms.
We may not currently have the medical technology and resources required to explain exactly why anti-parasitic drugs and treatments work to help Lyme disease patients, but we are certainly making progress in unraveling the mysteries. I believe the following point is key: If we wait for 100% understanding before we proceed with treatment, we may be waiting decades before feeling better. This approach is unacceptable in my opinion. If people are getting better now using anti-parasitic treatments, I believe we should consider these treatments, even while all of the facts are still being discovered. We may not know exactly what the treatments are hitting, but we know they are hitting something, and that people are getting better. Of course, I advocate using these therapies only to the extent which they are safe, and only under the care of a licensed physician.
Many top Lyme doctors agree with me and now prescribe anti-parasitic protocols to their patients. This chapter will examine some of these protocols, and will also provide my observations and opinions about them. Please remember that some of the information in this chapter is based on my own personal observations and experiences; do not assume that my perspective is the only accurate perspective.
While the direct effect of anti-parasitic treatments may in fact be substantial, the treatments also offer a more subtle benefit. To discover this benefit, let’s consider what is happening in the bodies of people who have been sick with Lyme disease for a long period of time.
After the bacterial colonies (comprising Borrelia, co-infections, and parasitic components) have survived in the body for months or years and have been attacked by various treatments, they take on a much more entrenched, treatment-resistant configuration. In other words, if you have been sick with Lyme disease for a long time and have tried many things, your infected areas are a bit like battle-hardened military platoons. They are hunkered down, protected, and resistant to whatever you are trying to do to defeat them.
This means that anything you can do to destabilize these highly protected colonies will allow the other treatments you are using (or have used) to be more effective. If you can breach their defenses, then they will no longer be able to ward off the normal Lyme disease treatments you’ve been trying to use against them.
This principle does, in fact, undergird much of this entire book, and Chapter 3, which describes the Antibiotic Rotation Protocol, is largely based on it.
Because anti-parasitic treatments weaken biofilm and attack members of the protected community using mechanisms of action different from any antibiotic you’ve probably taken in the past, they provide a new method for destabilizing the infective colonies located throughout the body. Therefore, after having used anti-parasitic treatments, you will likely notice not only an improvement in your symptoms but also a general increase in the effectiveness of other anti-Lyme and co-infection therapies. This double-whammy—improvement experienced from anti-parasitic drugs alone as well as from renewed effectiveness of other treatments—is why it is so important for us to always introduce new treatments into our treatment programs.
When facing a stalemate against the infections for months or years, this destabilizing effect can provide huge benefits in the battle.
One of the most common statements I hear repeated is that people prefer to use natural, or non pharmaceutical treatments when combating Lyme disease. And of course, this goal can be a very beneficial pursuit as it spares the body the damage done by pharmaceutical treatments. Furthermore, because Lyme disease requires such extended treatment, pharmaceutical therapies can take an increasingly large toll on the body over time, and can lead to a serious breakdown of the immune system and other body systems.
Additionally, because the infectious organisms involved in Lyme disease are so treatment-resistant and often hide behind biofilm, many of the powerful pharmaceutical anti-infective therapies people use have negligible effects against the infections and don’t even reach their targets. This can be especially true if you are using a drug which targets an infection that isn’t currently the top layer of the onion.
Combine these factors, and you’ll note that pharmaceutical treatments have a dismal risk-to-reward ratio: they can wreak havoc while providing only minor benefits.
While this reality is unfortunately true in many cases, there are exceptions. A carefully targeted pharmaceutical attack, used for only the short duration before the infections become resistant, can provide unparalleled killing power with minimal side effects. This is true for all of the infections involved in Lyme disease, not just parasites. Such a strategy used in rotation with other effective strategies can provide huge leaps in progress. The key, of course, is to recognize the difference between extended, ineffective use of pharmaceuticals and precise, targeted, effective attacks.
Experience has shown that, while it is admirable to prefer natural treatments over pharmaceutical treatments, the healing and progress described in this chapter simply are not possible when pharmaceuticals are completely avoided. When used intelligently, the rewards of using pharmaceutical anti-parasitic drugs can outweigh the associated risks of side effects or negative effects on the body.
Now, we’ll look at the most useful of the pharmaceutical options as well as a few of the powerful herbal remedies which have a proven track record.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The protocols listed in this chapter draw from the research and wisdom of numerous Lyme disease doctors, researchers, and patients. However, these protocols also incorporate my own findings, based on my own research and experience. Therefore, as you read this information, please realize that it is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach to healing. Your own situation and needs may differ significantly from what is offered here. Please use this information only under the guidance of a licensed physician.
Also, please note that some of these drugs are untested and unapproved by the FDA, and they may be potentially unsafe. In addition to the approval of a licensed physician, I suggest collaborating with other Lyme disease sufferers to share your experiences with the protocol and get feedback from others about how they use the protocol. I have found that peer-to-peer collaboration can be invaluable when using protocols that do not have a great deal of established methodology and "best practices."
Furthermore, before taking any of the below treatments, I suggest you extensively research them to understand their potential side effects, interactions, and issues. It is also helpful to be familiar with how extensively the drugs are absorbed, whether food increases or decreases their absorption, which organs are needed to metabolize and excrete them, what the drugs’ half-lives are, and what kinds of infections they are most often used for. You will also want to know about any interactions. Should they be taken with food or on an empty stomach? And if with food, should they be taken with a fatty meal or a normal meal? It is my own personal policy to become as much of an expert as I possibly can on new drugs prior to putting them into my body. Even my guiding physician doesn’t know everything about every drug, and I believe it is critical for people to take responsibility for their own healing and health. If you are unwilling to study up on these drugs and collaborate with an experienced doctor on their use, then I strongly suggest avoiding these treatments.
It is also important to start only one new drug or treatment at a time, so you can carefully interpret what that treatment is doing within your body without the confusion of multiple new treatments.
Finally, people who are working with experienced doctors are much more likely to succeed with Lyme disease treatment because these doctors may have had many, or dozens, of patients on these drugs, and therefore, they know what kind of things to watch for and which warnings to issue to their patients. Using these treatments without an experienced, supervising doctor greatly increases the risk of failed treatment and side effects. I very strongly recommend that you pursue pharmaceutical treatments only under the care of a licensed physician.
I will not be specific about drug dosing in this chapter as the recommendations vary among different health care practitioners. Some doctors advocate doses which I believe to be much too high. Therefore, I will leave it to you and your physician to customize the dosages.
While the above recommendation for the number of days to use each drug can serve as a general guideline, I recommend that you tailor these recommendations based on the Antibiotic Rotation Protocol principles (see chapter 3). In other words, if you feel a drug is beneficial for longer than the prescribed period, then stay on it for additional time (assuming that the side effects are manageable and that you are under the care of a physician). Alternately, if your Herxheimer reactions and improvement dissipate before the end of the time period, consider stopping the drug early. No dosing schedule should be rigid. Some people benefit from much longer periods of use of the same drug, while other people do better on a more rapid rotation schedule.
Also, because parasites can reproduce rapidly and are difficult to eradicate from the body, it may be necessary to use the above sequence of drugs more than one time; in fact, it may need to be used many times over a period of years. Some people report that if they revisit this protocol once or twice a year, they experience renewed improvement and additional results. Interestingly, the subjective experience of using these drugs can be different with each subsequent rotation, indicating that the same drug may be hitting different layers of the onion each time it is used. For example, one year, Ivermectin may cause improvement in memory and mood, and the next year, it may lead to improvements in energy, muscle aches, and stamina.
Finally, because these anti-parasite drugs may uncover other infections or render them more vulnerable, combining this protocol with protocols targeted toward Borrelia, Babesia and Bartonella can be very helpful. For example, one Lyme patient reported that combining Alinia with Tinidazole caused rapid and unprecedented symptom improvement. However, please consult a physician before combining these or other pharmaceutical drugs, because some combinations may be toxic and dangerous.
These comments are based on my personal research and experience; they may not apply to everyone equally. As always, please consider the advice of your doctor to be more accurate than this book.
Biltricide: This is one of the weaker choices. It is taken first to eliminate some intestinal parasites and liver flukes. It has had limited benefit for some Lyme sufferers but may still be included as part of a complete treatment protocol.
Ivermectin: This is one of the big guns of parasite treatment. It is widely recognized as one of the most effective drugs for Lyme disease patients. It has a very broad spectrum of activity and is absorbed systemically. It is believed to target some of the mystery bugs which researchers are just beginning to identify and name, and which are now being recognized as commonly occurring Lyme disease co-infections. If you do a Google search forLyme disease ivermectin, you will find a great deal of information as well as patient testimonials and write-ups. Some top physicians now believe that this drug can partially address Bartonella. Ivermectin is generally well tolerated, and although some physicians recommend very high dosages, I personally do not feel comfortable with those dosage levels.
Of interest is the finding that Ivermectin targets bacteria as well as parasitic organisms. This finding further reinforces my earlier statement that anti-parasitic drugs aren’t just targeting new mystery organisms, but they may also be helping us fight Borrelia, Bartonella, and Babesia as well. Consider the following research from France:
Ivermectin is currently approved for treatment of both clinical and veterinary infections by nematodes (worms), including Onchocerca cervicalis in horses and Onchocerca volvulus in humans. However, ivermectin has not previously been shown to be effective against bacterial pathogens. Here we show that ivermectin also inhibits infection of epithelial cells by the bacterial pathogen, Chlamydia trachomatis, at doses that could be envisioned clinically for sexually-transmitted or ocular infections by Chlamydia.
-Source: University Paris Sud, France
This information is fascinating, indeed! Now we can start to see a clearer picture of why anti-parasite drugs can have multi-faceted benefits and be so useful in Lyme disease.
Pyrantel pamoate: Available over-the-counter. Can profoundly impact Lyme disease and co-infections. Generally well tolerated.
Albendazole: A cousin of the popular Mebendazole, Albendazole is much more powerful, has more significant side effects, and targets a broader range of organisms. Due to potentially serious side effects, close monitoring is necessary. Can have significant benefits.
Nitazoxanide: This drug is typically sold under brand name Alinia, but much more affordable brand names can be purchased from overseas pharmacies.
Nitazoxanide is considered to be very useful by a large number of practitioners and can target numerous kinds of protozoan, including Babesia. It is also useful for other types of parasites, and is considered to be a "cyst busting" drug by some researchers, so it can impact Borrelia, too. For these reasons, it is one of my favorite drugs in this chapter, and it has broad application for Lyme disease patients.
As if the above-mentioned benefits of nitazoxanide weren’t enough, the drug also impacts biofilm formation. This was shown by research published in Oxford’s Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, in a study entitled, "Nitazoxanide inhibits biofilm formation by Staphylococcus epidermidis by blocking accumulation on surfaces."Several other studies also demonstrate nitazoxanide’s inhibition of biofilm. And lastly, nitazoxanide has even been shown to inhibit numerous viruses, including hepatitis. Peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated this anti-viral effect.
So, yet again you can see the diverse and much-needed benefits of anti-parasitic drugs. To summarize, nitazoxanide is used to kill parasites, Babesia, Borrelia cysts, viruses, and to disrupt bacterial biofilm. It’s no wonder that Lyme patients, who are often afflicted with most or all of these problems, can feel so much better as a result of using nitazoxanide. Nitazoxanide is one of the most multi-talented and broadly applicable drugs available to Lyme sufferers, and I consider it to be one of the most important new treatments presented in this book.
Nitazoxanide is generally well tolerated but physician monitoring is still advisable.
The Basic Parasite Protocol as described above the most established and tested parasite protocol recognized by various Lyme disease doctors, researchers, and patients. However, my own, independent research and experience has revealed a few other anti-parasitic drugs which I believe have the potential to augment and complement the existing protocol. Remember, most of these infections (including Borrelia, co-infections, and parasites) develop resistance to most treatments, so expanding the arsenal of available options can lead to dramatic improvement and destabilization of the infective colonies. So, it is beneficial to have as many choices available to us as possible.
Again, I want to remind you that these treatments are experimental; proceed with caution. I have personally used all of the drugs mentioned in this chapter, but I do not recommend nor endorse them for use by others. A drug may be well tolerated by one person, but cause significant side effects for another.
Mebendazole: A weaker cousin of Albendazole, some people find this drug to be useful. It may also be useful for people who cannot tolerate the more extensive side effects profile of Albendazole.
Diethylcarbamazine: Sometimes referred to simply as DEC, this is a very interesting drug. It is unique because it operates by a mechanism of action different from any of the other parasite drugs. Therefore, it may be useful when resistance has developed to the other drugs.
Various sources also cite anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, immuno-modulatory, and other beneficial effects of the drug, making it an interesting option for people with weakened livers or extensive inflammation. In fact, this drug’s immuno-modulatory effects are so profound that some researchers suspect its killing ability is related more to fine-tuning the immune system to see the pathogens than to the direct chemical effect of the drug against worms and micro-organisms.
My conclusion, based on research and experience, is that it accomplishes both objectives: it modulates the immune system for much more effective targeting of infections, and at the same time, kills worms and micro-organisms via direct, chemical activity.
Also, this drug has strong activity in the endothelial cells, which is exactly where Bartonella likes to live. So, Diethylcarbamazine may directly inhibit Bartonella or at least kill the parasites protecting Bartonella.
Diethylcarbamazine seems to be one of the anti-parasitic drugs which leads to the most immediate and pronounced reduction of Lyme disease symptoms (possibly because it isn’t just targeting infections, but it’s also modulating the immune system). This plethora of very useful actions makes Diethylcarbamazine one of my favorite anti-parasite drugs, if not my single favorite drug. It is difficult to locate DEC in the United States, but it can be purchased affordably from other countries.
DEC is typically well tolerated and has a mild side effects’ profile for many people. When I reflect on what I now know about DEC, I often find myself thinking, "I really wish someone would have told me about this drug years sooner in my Lyme disease battle!"
Moxidectin: This drug is a cousin of Ivermectin. It is more lipophilic than Ivermectin and has a much longer half-life. Due to the long half-life, extreme caution must be exercised with dosing: if too much is taken, the drug will remain in the body for a very long time, so overdoses can be serious medical emergencies. Information on use in humans is limited; however, at least a couple of studies demonstrate that it is safe for human consumption. As always, consult a physician before use.
As you may already know, dozens of herbs and natural preparations are touted to be useful for parasites. Honestly, based on my own experience and research, the majority of these have limited effect for most people, at least with the entrenched, systemic parasites we see in cases of Lyme disease. The two herbal preparations with the most convincing user testimonials for Lyme disease and co-infections are Humaworm(www.humaworm.com) and Parastroy (made by Nature’s Secret, available from various retailers including www.iHerb.com). Due to their low price and relatively limited side effects, these preparations are worth a try, but for some people, the results will not be nearly as forthcoming as when pharmaceutical drugs are used.
On the other hand, there is one herbal preparation which may be as effective as the drugs, if not more: Mimosa Pudica. Although it has a very funny-sounding name, Mimosa Pudica is very powerful and has demonstrated a broad spectrum of activity against many of the parasites which accompany Lyme disease. Some research shows that this herb also targets Babesia. People who use it typically report dramatic results in many pesky and difficult symptom areas, including cognitive problems. You need to be careful of one thing, though: Product quality can vary vastly between different suppliers. Some versions of the products have been foul, unhelpful, and maybe even toxic, according to some of my sources. Purchasing it from a compounding pharmacy where quality is more closely regulated is a very good idea. Also, there are some data which indicate that Mimosa Pudica can have toxic side effects. Please use this (and all potentially dangerous treatments) only under the care of a licensed physician.
Various other herbs exist. Their exclusion here doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t worth using, but the above listed options are the ones which I have found produce consistent results. Note: Several other herbs with anti-parasitic uses are listed as Individual Treatments in Part III of the book. Some of these, such as moringa oleifera, can be quite beneficial.
Like most of the other treatments covered in this book, parasite treatments only work when the treatment being used matches the susceptible organisms located on the top layer of the infective onion we are trying to unpeel. If those particular organisms are in dormancy, covered by layers of other infections, protected by biofilm, or simply in non-susceptible phases of their life cycles, then the treatments will be worthless. Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with a reliable way to ascertain which infections are susceptible to which treatments at any given time (except in instances where you can match up particular active symptoms with particular infections). Energetic testing can provide clues. Also, parasites are generally more active during the full moon phase, so increased symptoms during that time can indicate the presence of parasites. It can also be noted that the full moon phase is a very good time to target parasites, as they are more active and susceptible to treatment during this time
The moral of the story is that trial and error may be required to figure out which drugs and herbs should be used at various times throughout the recovery process. When I was working through my own recovery process, I found that at certain periods of time, anti-parasitic treatments were immensely useful, and during other periods, they did absolutely nothing.
Remember also that the treatments which were helpful for a time but then stopped working will almost certainly be useful again at some point in the future, when the right organisms have their turn as the top layer of the onion. In fact, treatments which you’ve already used in the past and which have become totally ineffective may yet be extremely effective again, if only they are used at the proper time. So, take those parasite drugs back off the shelf after you’ve rotated through the whole lot of them; they will, with certainty, be useful again at some point.
In December 2012, the New York Times reported that many kinds of parasites actually take control of their host’s mind. As scary as it sounds, it is a reality. With Lyme disease, the most common manifestation of this phenomenon seems to be that parasites limit a person’s drive, ambition, and motivation to get well. Somehow, people are convinced that they are not that sick, and that aggressive treatment is not required or desirable. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to be under the care of a good doctor who can prescribe the necessary treatments. Be aware that you may have been pacified by the parasites in your body, and you may need to work diligently to get well despite the feeling that your problem isn’t urgent. (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/science/parasites-use-sophisticated-biochemistry-to-take-over-their-hosts.html)
Several of the drugs listed in this chapter are available from U.S. pharmacies at reasonable prices. Others may be available in the United States but are exorbitantly expensive. Finally, some may not be available in the U.S. and are only marketed in overseas countries.
Therefore, shopping for drugs from online, foreign pharmacies may be one option worth considering—either for the purpose of saving money or to find drugs which aren’t available in the U.S.
I have personally found several overseas pharmacies which have demonstrated reliability, honesty, and dependability. I will not print their names here, because even though I’ve had good experiences with them, I am still not confident enough in their product quality and dependability to publically endorse them. However, I will give you some of the tips I have followed for finding and using good online pharmacies.
WARNING: Please research the legality of importing drugs into your country, state, and city. Do not order drugs from foreign pharmacies if doing so is illegal in your area.
Canadian Pharmacies. There is a group of Canadian pharmacies which require a regular U.S. prescription and appear to be highly reliable. The downside to using them is that their pricing and availability tend to mirror that of U.S. pharmacies, but occasionally you can find a deal. To search this group of pharmacies for a particular drug, visit www.pharmacychecker.com. This website also has a general listing of the pharmacies as well as user reviews for those pharmacies. Do not use any pharmaceutical drugs without a valid prescription from a trusted physician. At the time this book was written, a few of these pharmacies had brand name Mepron (atovaquone) for less than half the price of my local pharamacy.
Non-Canadian Overseas Pharmacies. The rest of the overseas pharmacies—i.e., those located outside of the United States and Canada—appear to be based in India, Europe, or more exotic locations. These are the pharmacies you need to be most careful of when it comes to their integrity and reliability since there have been multiple reports of un-received orders and stolen funds. Additionally, there is a risk of inauthentic or even dangerous and counterfeit drug shipments. One method for screening these pharmacies is to do a Google search for online pharmacy reviews. There are several sites which I’ve used and which are very helpful for ranking these pharmacies based on actual user reviews. I’ve ordered from several of these pharmacies and have had mostly good luck. Advantages of working with them include lower prices and a wider variety of products. In some cases, I’ve found products which are only one tenth the price of the same products available in the United States! Again, though, proceed with caution. While I have used these pharmacies personally, there are significant risks associated with purchasing from them, so I don’t recommend that you make the same decisions I’ve made without first conducting significant research and consulting your physician. I would actually prefer to avoid these pharmacies all together, but in some instances, they carry drugs which can’t be found anywhere in the USA or Canada.
Research Specific Brand Names. Most online pharmacies will display the manufacturer name of the drugs they sell. While these manufacturers are typically not names you would recognize, some of them are reputable Indian or European manufacturers. You can Google the manufacturer names and read their websites, or read other news articles about the manufacturers to verify that they are high-quality, legitimate brands. WARNING: Not all online pharmacies ship legal, legitimate, safe, authentic drug brands. Please proceed with caution. Some are fraudulent and will steal your personal information and not ship your products. DISCLAIMER: I do not personally recommend that anyone shop from online pharmacies. Instead, I am simply sharing my personal experiences here.
Ask The Lyme Community. Many other Lyme sufferers are looking for the same drugs you are looking for, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Join large discussion forums such as www.lymenet.org and ask around for sources for the drugs you need. Many participants in these forums have used online pharmacies and can share their experiences.
Check With Compounding Pharmacies First. Some USA-based compounding pharmacies can source rare drugs. It is safer to purchase drugs from these compounding pharmacies than from overseas pharmacies. Therefore, check with the many compounding pharmacies in the United States before looking overseas.
Double Check with Your Physician. Make sure you check with your prescribing physician before using any drug. In all cases, your physician’s advice should be considered more accurate than this book.
Lastly, please note that there may be many risks associated with ordering from foreign pharmacies, including the risk of receiving dangerous counterfeit drugs, having your financial information stolen, never receiving the product you ordered, etc. I do not suggest that you place orders with foreign pharmacies. I am not advocating this course of action for any individual.
In conclusion, I would like to share a personal story which took place several years ago and which illustrates how parasitic infections can play a profound role in the Lyme disease complex. This story touches on the topic of Adrenal Fatigue, which is addressed in Chapters 5 and 6.
The debate rages on. Is adrenal fatigue caused by infections that wreak havoc on the adrenals and brain, or do the stresses of life weaken the adrenal glands and open the door for infections to take root? Which came first—the chicken or the egg? On and on the debate goes; where it stops, no one knows.
Except we do know, or at least we have clues. I will share with you what I have learned, and the clues I’ve gathered.
It was a smoky afternoon in my hometown in Northern California (my city gets smoke sometimes from nearby fires which rage across the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range). It was mid-August and peak fire season, but otherwise, it was a beautiful day. My better judgment, however, told me not to go for a hike; smoke inhalation would be extreme, and visibility was only about two miles.
An even more convincing reason not to go was my adrenal fatigue. At this point my adrenals had recovered to about 90%, but intense cardio exercise still brought me down. I wondered when this would ever end. When would I be able to hike the high, 10,000+ foot peaks of my hometown, again? Several years ago, I experienced a very, very stressful life event combined with what appeared to be a Bartonella flare-up. The sum of these two stressors seemed to send my adrenals into a tailspin, and while I had recovered a great deal, I still wasn’t able to embark on a big, epic Sierra hike.
Only today, something was different. I felt strong, much stronger than I had in a long time. Just a week prior, I had begun a course of the anti-parasitic drug Diethylcarbamazine (discussed earlier in this chapter). When I began taking it this time, I didn’t expect much. I’d already done several rounds of it in the past several years, and it seemed unlikely that it would be useful yet again. The drug was hugely helpful when I first discovered it, but I was skeptical that further use would provide any benefit. Besides, I had already achieved a very happy 90% recovery from Lyme disease. How much more improvement could I gain? Intuition told me that the drug had already killed whatever it could kill. My past uses of the drug, ranging from about 1-3 weeks in duration, surely knocked out any susceptible bugs.
But in this particular case, I took my own advice and defied my intuition, instead acting upon tried-and-true principles which I knew to be accurate. I accepted the wisdom which states that these anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic treatments are almost always useful, time after time, if only they are used at the right point in the infectious organisms’ lifecycles. I didn’t know it was a good time to use Diethylcarbamazine, but I figured a little trial and error wouldn’t hurt. I took a chance; I made a guess. I remembered giving the drug a try just six weeks prior with almost zero response. Maybe this time it would be different...
And it was different. For some reason, this time, the drug kicked some major butt. I had very little Herx reaction—almost exclusively improvement. Strangely, I felt a tingling in the area of my mid back, the place that is home to my adrenal glands. I also experienced strange dreams reminiscent of the very early days of my original Lyme disease infection, and I had a new-found appetite for food, reminiscent of my teenage years. It just seemed that things in my body were changing, and changing fast. This hadn’t happened before. Interesting.
While I had also been taking all of the other advice this book offers to heal the adrenal glands (And it had been helping.), this round of Diethylcarbamazine catapulted me into a new level of adrenal health in just about 10 days time. If you know anything about adrenal fatigue, you know that things just don’t happen in 10 days. Interesting…again.
So as I stood at the bottom of a fairly good sized mountain on this smoky August day, I felt strength in my legs and reserves of energy I hadn’t felt in a long time. I charged up that mountain solo, breathing in dense smoke. On the top of the mountain—sweating, heart pounding—I was subtly aware of the smoke headache that was coming on; I’d experienced this headache before many times while hiking during other summers of heavy smoke pollution. Surely breathing in this much smoke can’t be healthy, I thought. The headache was a nuisance but only occupied a small part of my thoughts. Instead of the headache, I was distinctly focused on how I felt: just fine. Normally, during the worst of adrenal fatigue, I would have experienced symptoms which were activated almost immediately upon exercising—symptoms which are a hallmark of adrenal fatigue. They would include light-headedness, a dead-weight feeling in my legs, soreness in my mid-back, salt and sugar cravings, and then after getting home, a fatigue that had me collapsing into the nearest bed and falling straight to sleep regardless of ambient noise or distraction. The next few days would have brought fatigue, depression, and emotional volatility.
Not this time. I didn’t feel perfect, but I felt good, much better than I had in a long time. The following day brought some normal, relaxing tiredness which I remember feeling before chronic illness. It was the kind of fatigue that reminds you of the hike you did yesterday, but doesn’t slow your day down; a gentle, restful recovery mode commonly felt by athletes when they are recovering from exercise (I know the feeling well, as I used to race mountain bikes and road bikes in college). While I have always suspected that infections are one of the root causes of adrenal fatigue, my day of hiking in the smoky Sierra’s provided confirmation. The difference in my body from before this round of Diethylcarbamazine to after was nothing short of astounding.
Sure, many factors contribute to adrenal fatigue, including the presence of a Type A personality, the occurrence of acute, life stress, and the predisposing genetic weaknesses which run in certain families, but I now believe that in most cases, these factors alone would not be enough to bring on adrenal fatigue without the help of infections to ruin the adrenal glands and mess up the brain signals which are sent to them. The lesson I have learned is to keep chasing after the infections long after you think you can’t do anything else. Go back to those drugs or herbs that worked for you in years past and give them another chance. If they don’t work, wait another couple of weeks or months and try them again. The right treatment at the right time to target the right infections is just what the doctor ordered for sustained, continual progress in healing from this horrible disease. Of course, don’t neglect the non-infection treatments offered by this book or elsewhere, but keep your sights set on taking out all of the infections, over and over and over again, until you find yourself standing on top of the mountain, like I have found myself.
You just never know when some lingering bacteria or parasites may be hanging out in your adrenal glands (or other organs). You just never know when the right course of the right drug at the right time can wipe these organisms out for good and let your tissues do what they’ve been trying to do for years—heal themselves. I will go back to a quote I heard from Doug, my original Lyme disease mentor, inventor of the eponymous "Doug Machine" (or "Coil Machine"), and long-time friend. Doug said to me, "While other people went on to investigate other health problems, I just kept chasing the infections, and I got well." I appreciate your wisdom, Doug, and I have followed in your footsteps.
Bryan Rosner is the author of 4 books on Lyme disease treatment. His latest book, Freedom From Lyme Disease, was published in August, 2014. Bryan lives in Northern California with his wife and three children.
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The Cowden Support Program
A do-it-yourself Lyme treatment developed by Dr. Lee Cowden, MD