Antibiotics May Be Beneficial For Multiple Sclerosis

Published: August 13, 2012

A preliminary study suggests that combining an interferon, a medication currently used to address multiple sclerosis, with an antibiotic may slow the progress of the disease, according to a new study.

"Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disorder that affects genetically susceptible individuals after exposure to certain, as yet unidentified environmental antigens, or disease-causing agents," the authors write as background information in the article. The development of MS involves inflammation that destroys parts of the brain along with progressive degeneration of brain tissue.

Alireza Minagar, M.D., of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, and colleagues conducted a study involving 15 patients (average age 44.5) with relapsing-remitting MS who had been taking interferon for at least six months and were experiencing symptoms and developing new brain lesions. For four months, participants took 100 milligrams daily of the antibiotic doxycycline in addition to continuing interferon therapy. They underwent monthly neurological examinations—MRI to detect brain lesions and blood work to monitor safety.

After four months, 60 percent of the patients had more than a one-fourth reduction in the number of lesions from the beginning of the study. The patients also had reduced average scores on a scale designed to assess disability levels.

Only one patient relapsed; adverse effects were mild and included only known effects of the two drugs individually rather than new effects associated with combining the medications.

Antibiotics in the tetracycline family, including doxycycline, may be effective against MS and other inflammatory diseases by inhibiting the action of enzymes that destroy certain nervous system cells, protecting the brain and increasing the effectiveness of the immune system, the authors note.

"There is growing interest in combination therapy in patients with MS to stabilize the clinical course, reduce the rate of clinical relapses and decelerate the progressive course of the underlying pathologic mechanism," they write. "Overall, data from this cohort suggest that the therapy combination of oral doxycycline and interferon beta-1a may be safe and effective in some patients with MS; however, further controlled clinical trials are warranted to demonstrate safety and efficacy in a larger patient population."

As we have seen the benefits of Doxycycline and other antibiotics in patients with MS, I am pleased that academic neurologists are catching up with this holistic therapy. In addition, old research showed that a special NATURAL Bioidentical estrogen called estriol is very helpful in addressing MS and has been used by holistic physicians for over a decade (the dose is 8 mg/day long term. If stopped and restarted the benefits may not recur). A recent study has found the same effect in animals and claimed it to be the first evidence of benefit of estriol in MS despite earlier research and its long history of use in holistic medicine. What awaits to be seen is if the researchers will study this inexpensive and fairly safe natural hormone, or look for a patentable and likely dangerous synthetic that they can charge outrageous amounts for. Time will tell. Meanwhile though, your holistic physician can offer these therapies now!

As an aside, I would not use antibiotics in ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). If evidence of HHV 6 viral infection is seen in either ALS or MS however, I would consider a 6 month course of the antiviral Valcyte.


Journal article: Arch Neurol.2008;65(2):(doi:10.1001/archneurol.2007.41)

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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