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Artesunate in ME/CFS?

Discussion in 'Antivirals, Antibiotics and Immune Modulators' started by Cort, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Dr. Cheney's now using an anti-malarial treatment called artesunate in ME/CFS. According to a report on the talk he's using it for 'redox' factors; ie because of its effects on oxidative stress. But according to my research artesunate kills bacteria and viruses by increasing free radical production. Does anyone have any idea why this appeals to Dr. Cheney? There must be something that I'm missing.

    For more on artesunate check out this new piece on the Phoenix Rising Website.
  2. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    Artemisin / Artesunate

    Hi, Cort--and thanks for keeping this great site working! I watched the new Cheney DVD recently, and upon chasing up artesunate found a close relative, Artemisinin, which is available--AllergyResearchGroup have it in 90 and 300 capsules of 100 mg each; suggested dose is 2 x 2 per day. I found an essay comparing the power of the two against malaria, at http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0035920396904800 which shows that it is a little less effective than Artesumate, and loses effectiveness with repeated doses (through autoinduction, whatever that is), but it is the root element from which Artesumate is produced. So I am now using it--will follow something like a 5 days on 3 days off schedule, to cope with the autoinduction problem. I am only on day 4, but so far, after unpleasant Herx effects the second day, it seems to be helping; will report again after more experience. I have had no viral tests, but almost certainly have had CFS with varying intensity for 2 1/2 years (now 76!). Like you I am puzzled by what Cheney says about its redox activity, and like you I understand that it works by increasing oxidation. But it seems to be helping! I am also taking an expensive whey put out by AOR, Immune Ultra, which has nearly 15% lactoferrin content, and that too seems to be helping--less expensive than Immunocal, anyway. One more thing --there is an interesting and helpful piece on Cheney and cell signaling factors and stem cells at http://sacfs.asn.au/news/2009/07/07_20_cfs_stem_cells.htm

    And a question: does anyone know whether eating bison heart would transfer any useful amount of cell signaling factors? Better health to all, Chris
  3. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    Artemisinin, sequel

    Hi again, Cort; have been doing some more checking up on artemisinin, as well as using it a bit longer, and am not encouraged. There did seem to be an initial response, but it was not followed up; I took a 3 day rest and began again, and this time the response seems negative. I did find several essays on PubMed showing that autoinduction happens rapidly, even after one dose, leading to a substantial reduction in available metabolites. Enough to kill the malaria parasite, it seems, but maybe not enough to be of much use against viruses. I also found an essay claiming to have found no active anti-viral effect, though I am a little dubious about that conclusion. So I think I shall give it up, and stick to that whey in the hope that it will rev up my own sophisticated internal anti-viral system--if I still have a functional one! Chris
  4. kolowesi

    kolowesi Senior Member

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    Chris artemisinin

    Thanks for the info, I was trying to decide whether to order again.

    I've been on Holley Pharma brand for several months. It did cause stomach distress at first, and when that went away, I thought that it had killed whatever was in my stomach, but maybe it just went away because of the induction effect (I didn't know about that, thanks).

    I have some heme that I will take along with my dose till I finish the current bottle. Iron is supposed to increase the explosive effect. Then I'll see what happens when I go off.

    A long, long time ago, I went to India. For 6 months, I was sick every few days with dysentery. When I returned to the US, I was treated with flagyl and symptoms subsided. 25 years later, a thorough test found high antibodies to amoeba histolytica. It can encyst in the liver.

    So I wouldn't mind being on a maintenance dose of something for parasites. The researchers at Georgetown U found CMV and enterovirus in my stomach, so I was hoping it would also work on those. Too bad about the metabolites. I'll try to learn about that.

    Thanks!
    Kelly
  5. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    Artemisinin

    Hi, Kolowesi;
    sorry to hear about those pesky parasites. I think you need a good doc, but certainly artemesinin has a good reputation for dealing with malarial parasites; it seems usually given in quite short, week long treatments. It is not as effective as artesunate, but quite effective. Autoinduction seems to mean that it stimulates the enzymes that metabolize it into overdrive, so that it gets broken down very quickly and ceases to be very effective; artesunate suffers from this much less. So I doubt that was the cause of your stomach distress. What I fear may happen with longer term use of artemesinin is that spaced periods of use may simply help breed a resistant strain of the viruses that are doing the damage. I say that without having any clear evidence for it, but note that most antiviral therapies for CFS seem to have to continue for many months, and even then may not be effective.
    Until the docs gain more experience with antivirals, I suspect it may be safer to either work closely with the few docs who have lots of experience, or focus on strengthening one's own immune system--Cheney did report some early success with whey (Immunocal) in bringing down viral loads over 3 and 6 months, though he does not seem to be using it any longer. And Rich van Konynenburg recently reported working with a doc on a small scale study of his methylation protocol, and finding some moderate success in improving CFS. Maybe it is safer to stick with those in dealing with CFS. Parasites are another thing, though. Good luck! Chris
  6. kolowesi

    kolowesi Senior Member

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    Thanks Chris for explaining it for me. Saved a few neurons, and I need them all!

    Pesky parasites is correct. I think they were eating my supplements for years. Lately several CFS docs have come to appreciate the part gut permeability plays in all this, and the protozoans, fungi, worms, etc. have to be dealt with in order to improve. Or that is my experience.

    My best result was with Chinese medicine. But the DOM advised me to go off valtrex and other pharmaceuticals which were apparently holding some of the viral infections back somewhat. It's so hard to figure out how to treat this combination of immune dysfunction, toxins, and critters.

    Wormwood was part of the successful (for a time) Chinese medicine approach, and you have reminded me, it was alternated with another formula (pulsatilla with other stuff). It seemed like the approach was to make the parasites move around so that they would get caught by the immune system.

    At the moment, I'm on minocycline and metronidazole for Lyme, and I'm trying a supplement made from avemar to try to support immune function. I'm a long-time whey user, but re-thinking that one in light of freddd's info and Cheney's. I take lactoferrin and immunolin, tons of probiotics (maybe not the best strains), and sometimes Pro-Boost. I'm trying to give the avemar 2 months and see if it will replace valtrex 1000 mg.

    I might have kicked the HHV-6 if I could have taken enough valcyte, as I had a big improvement right after the loading dose. But then I started getting bacterial infections and my liver doesn't like large quantities of medicine.

    Have you heard of ImmunExtra? It's pine cone extract (as opposed to pine bark). My HHV-6 antibodies went from 1:640 to 1:10,240 when I took that. If the avemar works for me, I might try that one again, the avemar might protect me from the autoimmune flare I got in the past.

    I have not tried immunovir. To be honest, I keep forgetting what it does. If it's cell signaling, I'm interested in that.

    The other big thing I need to work on is getting the garbage removal system up and running. I have several SNPs on liver detox enzymes that are used for an overlapping set of chemicals/toxins/hormones. Not sure how to get Mr. Liver to work better. I'm taking fiber, and making green juice when I have the energy. LiverCare, and a milk thistle tincture.

    Are you asleep yet:) Thanks for listening! And for the artemisinin info.

    Kelly
  7. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    Kelly-artemisinin and stuff

    Hi, Kelly--just read your story--wow, an epic--sorry! I am a real "Junior" member in terms of duration of CFS, though an oldie at 76. You are taking an awful lot of stuff--I am both impressed and a bit concerned. Reading all these stories of people who have tried everything, including the latest antivirals, without getting better long term, I am getting more and more conservative, and more respectful of Cheney's advice in his latest DVD to stop taking anything if it isn't working.
    So a couple of notes along those lines. I see you are taking both whey and lactoferrin. AOR, a Canadian company (I am Canadian!) makes both a lactoferrin supplement and a special whey (Immune Ultra) with a very high lactoferrin content--nearly 15%! I figured out that though it is very expensive, it is in fact the cheapest way to get lactoferrin up here--much cheaper than their lactoferrin only supplement per gram of lactoferrin; the rest of the whey fractions are for free! You might check it out wherever you are.
    And Immunovir; no, I have not tried it, but I gather that it is essentially Inosine (I may be wrong again, as I seem to have been about artemisinin and artesumate-check it out), and there is significant inosine in brewer's yeast, which is cheap and gives you B vitamins too.
    Just suggestions towards a simpler life! And best wishes for better health, Chris
  8. 3CFIDS@ourhouse

    3CFIDS@ourhouse still me

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    My question exactly!

    Before knowing how artesunate works, I tried sweet wormwood, which contains the active ingredient of artesunate, if I understand correctly. I have very low bp, and it dropped even lower, energy was so low I could not sit up, and the brain fog was so bad I didn't recognize a number 8 on a page. I couldn't figure out why those 2 circles were on top of each other! I always react intensely to tiny doses of anything, and I don't know without a doubt that it was the sweet wormwood, but I've never had a reaction quite like that before. Anyone else have reactions to sweet wormwood or artesunate? I'm very hesitant about using something that increases oxidative stress.
  9. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

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    Form Mikovits Seminar in Norway November 28th, 2010.

    see http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/showthread.php?8698-Mikovitz-XMRV-Seminar-in-Norway

    I found a couple of interesting things in these notes. Especially of importance to those of us who have used artesunate (and probably that whole class of artemesia) products. This one is from the second link posted.


    "What do you think of artesunate? It has a wide range of antiviral, so it can take a lot of co-infections and has been used by HIV. Mikovits also says that after the use of artesunate is more difficult to find XMRV. "
  10. Frank

    Frank Senior Member

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    I'm taking this stuff every morning 50mg
  11. aquariusgirl

    aquariusgirl Senior Member

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    how's that working for you, frank?
    seems like other ppl have run into problems w/artesunate.
  12. Frank

    Frank Senior Member

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    I haven't suffered adverse reactions on artesunate and i'm also taking diflucan daily now, and to my suprize, no (herxheimer) reaction
  13. FunkOdyssey

    FunkOdyssey Senior Member

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    That's encouraging about the artesunate. Why did you think diflucan would produce a herxheimer reaction though? What are you taking it for?
  14. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    Hi, Frank; hope artesunate is working for you, but I did seem to have some negative reactions after a few months at a dose of 50mg three times a week, and Cheney, who recommended something like that dose, did report liver trouble in a woman who, against his advice, took 50 mg daily. The problem was reversible, but... So just be careful! Best, Chris
  15. Frank

    Frank Senior Member

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    @ Funk I have a lot of symptoms looking like fungal activity
    @ Chris: Thanks for that, i hope De Meirleir knows what he's doing
  16. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    Just to say that I took artesunate 20mg four times a day for 3 months a couple of years ago. It did nothing - good or bad.

    Jenny
  17. undcvr

    undcvr Senior Member

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    Thanks for the update Chris. I agree with you. After using Artemisinin for awhile it stopped working. I took at at about 600-800 mg too. That was the dosage suggested by Stephen Buhner at planetthrive.org

    The other thing that Nutricology sells is Germanium. I am trying that now.

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