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Fumaric Acid Treatment
from Kelly L.

Mr. Dewke, I just discovered your web site last night, and I love it.  I ordered your book as soon as I saw that I could!  I have had P on my feet for three years straight.  It has gotten slightly better and much worse at times,  but has never gone away.  I did PUVA three times a week for about a year and then I said, "F@#* it!"  It did clear up the P on my palms, but my poor, poor feet were unresponsive.

ANYWAY, I just found this article on Gary Null's web page.  He's an holistic, natural doctor and patient advocate who deals with many, many topics.  I finally went to his site to find some info on P, and I think there is a cure!    Here is the link:    

http://www.garynull.com/Documents/Arthritis/The_Surprising_Psoriasis_Trea tment.htm

You can be sure I will be giving my ole' Derm a call with this new information.  (The sad thing is, I don't think it's all that new.)  I hope everyone out there will read this and harass their Derms into prescribing this stuff to them.  If not, maybe we can all get together and order in extreme bulk from Germany...

Thanks for getting this site and all of these people together...it means a lot to know that everyone scratches and gets sick of the goop and hates their Derms! Sincerely, -Kelly L.


Ed’s Response:  Thanks, Kelly, for turning me onto this article.  I found it both too technical for me but fascinating nonetheless.  In short, this article synthesizes the work of a number of European doctors around the use of two substances in what sounds like a successful regimen for improving psoriasis.  The two substances — and the precise names are important — are

Fumaric Acid Monoethylester, and
Fumaric Acid di-Methylester

The author emphatically points out that plain “Fumaric Acid” is not the substance being discussed and will not work.

I don’t want to say much more about the treatment because I’ll probably make mistakes in the retelling.  I do, however, encourage any flaker who is interested in alternative therapies to go to Kelly’s link (above) and read the article.  (I printed it out — 18 single-spaced pages.)

Though these underlined statements don’t come close to telling the story, I thought I’d share with you some of the lines that jumped out at me enough to highlight:

“Apparently, patients suffering from Psoriasis have a biochemical defect in which they cannot produce enough fumaric acid and need prolonged exposure to the sun to produce it.”

“The aim of our treatment is therefore not only the application of ointments and creams on the skin or its exposure to ultra-violet light, but the careful oral administration of the lacking fumaric acid.  This is the basis of our treatment.  At no time is the patient treated with cortisone, either by mouth or on his skin.  (The patients frequently come from Dermatologists or University clinics [in Europe], having been treated for years with Cortisone orally or as part of the ointment.)”

“A lack of fumaric acid leads to the accumulation of half-products.  These products, we believe, are responsible for the skin lesions in patients with Psoriasis.  In administering the lacking fumaric acid slowly to the body, the Psoriasis can come to a halt.... [T]oo much can lead to heat waves and a drop in blood sugar.  This is a very rare occurrence.... The patient with Psoriasis may eat and drink everything that does not produce itching of the skin....  It is advisable that the patient exercise frequently (jogging) and really sweat.”

“The fumaric acid tablets ... actually affect pH in the digestive tract, resulting in better digestion of foods.... The dosage may be very variable.”

And regarding an ointment version of the substance:  “The pharmacist will prepare this ointment for you.  It should be used if the lesions are localized or confined only to the elbows and knees.”

There are specific dietary restrictions associated with the treatment regimen.  After presenting these, the author writes:  “If the skin does not clear up, the patient is either not taking his medication correctly (that is too little medication), or he/she is not sticking to the diet, or the diagnosis is incorrect.”

I noted toward the end of this article that many of the references are dated (1980s).  There’s also a paragraph of glowing praise about Skin-Cap, a “pyrithione zinc” product that we now know worked so well because it illegally contained a strong corticosteroid.  Without the corticosteroid the zinc pyrithione was next to useless.  The very existence of this paragraph in this paper knocks it many rungs downward on the credibility ladder.  (However, more than a handful of dermatologists were fooled into praising Skin-Cap before the ruse was foiled and the true contents of the product unmasked.)

Despite the Skin-Cap reference, I am very intrigued by this paper.  Most of the work was done in Europe.  It will be interesting to see if the National Psoriasis Foundation, with it’s new emphasis on exploring alternative treatments for psoriasis, comes across this one.

I’d be delighted to hear from anyone else with info or experiences using “fumaric acid.”  -Ed

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