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Acid Esters: Not an “Alternative” — Caveat Emptor
Long time, no write. Sorry
this email is the letter from Kelly L. (and your response) about Fumaric
Acid. Fumaric Acid Esters
(FAEs) are very potent DRUGS which are approved for the treatment of
moderate-to-severe psoriasis in at least one European country (Germany).
There is nothing "alternative" about this treatment,
except for the decade-old information supplied by the likes of Gary Null
and/or the Arthritis Trust of America.
FAEs are not in
the pipeline to be approved as a treatment in the U.S., as far as I know.
It seems to me that the risk-to-benefit ratio is very similar to
methotrexate, and so it's doubtful that any company will be applying for
approval any time soon, since they would be 'competing' with a
long-established therapy with a well-known risk profile.
I believe that
FAEs can be purchased (in pill form only) from the manufacturer in
Germany, and shipped to dermatologists here in the U.S., on an
"experimental" basis, but I'm not at all sure of the paperwork
requirements for legally importing foreign prescription drugs.
I know of at least one person in New Zealand who used FAEs for a
while on this sort of basis (with mixed results, if I remember correctly).
Again, FAEs are
serious drugs with potentially-serious side effects.
Nothing to take lightly at all, and not something which everyone
will want to try.
Arthritis Trust article reprinted on Gary Null's website paints a rosy
picture indeed, but the reality of the matter isn't so bright for most of
us. For example, unless my
psoriasis becomes much more widespread than it is (perhaps 3%), I won't be
considering treatment with FAEs, even as a remote possibility.
For me, the risks are simply too high.
By the way, in
reference to the quote, "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," that is probably the only reason Dr. Helmut Christ was
able to claim "100% success" — he blamed any failures on the
patient or the diagnosis, and didn't entertain the possibility that the
drugs/diet/exercise combo simply didn't work for everyone.
That's bad doctoring, and very bad science.
Similar claims abound for the hundreds of "alternative"
psoriasis treatments, however, and we should learn, as psoriatics, that
they are generally a bad sign.
In this case,
the real situation (that the suggested diet is unnecessary, and that Dr.
Christ was very wrong about the "100% success" claim) was
finally figured out through scientific research programs.
Most "alternative" therapies will never go through
clinical testing, however, because their promoters are satisfied with
glowing testimonials and with the money they make.
The people who've gotten rid of their psoriasis with FAEs are
rather lucky that this particular treatment got the proper testing needed
to show that it does, indeed, treat psoriasis.
information (though I need to update the page a bit), can be found at:
for not writing more often. -
Response: Thanks for this
research and report, Dave. Readers:
Dave’s “Psorsite,” described in Other
Places here at FlakeHQ, has become a much-visited repository of solid
information and opinion about a wide variety of psoriasis treatments and
web sites. Dave: Apology not
accepted. Write more often!
Dave, about the semantics of “explaining failure” is worth repeating:
[Dr. Helmut Christ] blamed any failures on the patient or the diagnosis,
and didn't entertain the possibility that the drugs/diet/exercise combo
simply didn't work for everyone. That's
bad doctoring, and very bad science. Similar
claims abound for the hundreds of "alternative" psoriasis
treatments, however, and we should learn, as psoriatics, that they are
generally a bad sign.
this case, the real situation (that the suggested diet is unnecessary, and
that Dr. Christ was very wrong about the "100% success" claim)
was finally figured out through scientific research programs.
If you’re reading this, please let us know how your derm reacted
when you discussed fumaric acid ester therapy with him or her. -Ed