Dr. Richard Horowitz reports promising results with Dapsone treatment Using a Leprosy Drug to Target Lyme Persisters

By Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA

Dr. Richard Horowitz E arlier this year, Lorraine Johnson, Lymedisease.org’s CEO, interviewed Dr. Richard Horowitz about his observational trial using Dapsone with his patients. Dr Horowitz is a board certified internist in private practice in Hyde Park, N.Y. He is medical director of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center, an integrative medical center which has treated over 12,000 chronic Lyme disease patients in the last 29 years. He is one of the founding members and past president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. Dr. Horowitz is also the author of the best-selling book “Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease.”

  • QThe NIH trials have been criticized because they looked at a highly selective group of patients. For example, patients with co-infections might be excluded. What type of patients were in your study?
  • AThat’s an important question. Fallon’s study, if you remember, screened 3600 people to get a sample of 36. When you look at our Dapsone study, you will see that the way we did it was much more inclusive. If you had an EM rash you were in, if you had positive C6 you were in, if you had a positive IgM or IgG Western Blot you were in, if you had a positive PCR, you were included. We didn’t limit the criteria to having to have five bands that were positive on an IgG Western blot. To do this kind of a clinical study when you’re treating patients that are sick, you’ve got to do what is reasonable in a medical office—I’m still a treating clinician.Most of the people we see improve by diagnosing and treating abnormalities on the 16 point MSIDS map, yet many of the people in our Dapsone study were still very sick, even though they had been treated by us for some time. They were ill with ongoing Lyme symptoms, and many had co-infections: Babesia, and some clinically looked like Bartonella. Recently there’s been some research interest in conducting animal studies—with mice for example, using medications for Lyme. But patients that come into my office don’t just have Lyme. They have for example co-infections, hormone abnormalities, POTS/dysautonomia, sleep disorders, heavy metals, and food allergies. Mice are not going to have the same problems driving the inflammatory response, making them sick. So how relevant is the research?
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