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Herx - or something else?

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by MeSci, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    I've noticed that people refer to 'Herxing' in numerous threads, stating quite categorically that this is what is happening/has happened to them.

    I know that this refers to the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction resulting from release of toxins by killed pathogens.

    Having looked at several authoritative sites about this reaction, I am wondering how people can distinguish it from other symptoms that we get, or other things such as allergic reactions. In fact - can they? The symptoms seem quite general in nature, and most could easily have other causes or just be due to ME itself.

    I'm asking out of general interest in order to better understand what treatments may or may not cause it in people with ME/CFS.
     
    rosie26 likes this.
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Senior Member

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    It depends on if I feel better than baseline shortly afterwards.
     
  3. Butydoc

    Butydoc President

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    People can have a jarisch-herxheimer reaction when treating a bacterial infection because the bacteria are killed and mount an immune response. The problem I have is how you can have this type of reaction with a viral infection since anti-viral drugs generally only stop the virus from replicating.

    Gary
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Senior Member

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    Perhaps it would free up the immune system to go after bacteria.
     
  5. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    I think people use the term "generically" to describe how crappy they feel after taking antivirals, since there may not be a term for that. I know I felt like crap starting on some antivirals. Why? beats me.
     
  6. Butydoc

    Butydoc President

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    I question the need for this herx reaction when taking any medication for cfs. My first try at taking anti-virals and antibiotics was meet with my symptoms dramatically worsening. The old no pain, no gain. I now completely reject that concept.

    My second go around was completely different. I started on a very low sub- therapeutic dose, than over a few months worked myself up to the proper dose. I had essentially no "herx" reaction and responded well to the medications.

    I believe the concept of developing bacterial or viral resistance to the medications when starting a a low dose is way overblown. At least in the csf community, I not seen or heard of resistance developing from this slower dosing concept.

    This seems to be the approach adopted by at least one csf doc.
     
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  7. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    I just made an observation about the use of the word, not whether it was correct or not
     
  8. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    It slightly worries me when having a reaction to something new, people often start to tell you - oh it's a herx -

    For me I have no way of knowing if its a herx or just a side effect of something I am taking.

    I believe many people have a herx reaction on the anti candida protocol. I didn't at all and found the protocol helpful.

    Other things I have tried have caused immediate worsening of symtpoms. My theory over the past few years is that if ANYTHING makes me feel worse I back off and stop and start again at a lower dose if that seems sensible. I don't subscribe to the notion that you need to go through a certain amount of pain to get better.I feel crap enough already and cant afford a worsening of symptoms, which could always end up permanent.

    Justy.
     
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  9. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I noticed that some doctors are using the term IRIS to describe the severe reaction some of us have to antiviral or immune modulating drugs.

    I don't think we have enough evidence to determine if it is a Herx, IRIS or something else when we have these bad reactions.

    Early on I was encouraged to continue with treatments that made me worse and I ended up with no improvement so I questioned the use of the Herx term and went back to look at the history. We just don't know if we are seeing the same effect or something else new.
     
    justy likes this.

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