My story starts in December of 2007, when I was a physically active 63 year old male. I did 3 miles on the treadmill and played golf several days a week. In August of 1999 I had a spinal fusion operation, but that healed fine and did not limit any activity. Also at that time I had a hospital acquired Staph infection that required a Pic line and 40 days of twice daily antibiotic. It is only speculation, but the Staph and subsequent antibiotic may have laid the groundwork for my autoimmune disease.
In mid Dec 2007, pain started in both hips, radiating down into the groin area. The prescription nsaid Diclofenac gave some relief in the beginning, but was ineffective when the pain traveled to my shoulders and hands. Pain radiated from my neck down my spinal column. 14 days of Levaquin antibiotic did not improve my pain level or clear up the microscopic blood in my urine. Joint x-rays did not reveal any damage. SED rate and rheumatoid factors were normal. Thyroid function was normal. Vitamin B-12 was fine and C-reactive protein was high at 7.6. Muscle enzymes were fine. By mid January I was physically non-functional and could only sleep for short periods of time in my recliner because of pain. Even Hydrocodone did not allow decent sleep. Most of the otc pain relievers were tried with little relief from pain. On January 19, 2008 I started on 50mg daily Prednisone , which offered some relief and then I could get some bed sleep. I weaned off Prednisone in late January using Diclofenac, Asprin and Hydrocodone. In early February the Prednisone induced Skin Psoriasis appeared as acne on my back and severely swollen eye lids. That is when the scalp psoriasis was obvious, in and around my ears and eyelids. At this point the pain level had increased to the point I had to go back on 40mg daily Prednisone. A trip to a rheumatologist did not turn out well, since he did not seem interested in the symptom log that I had been keeping. In March a visit to a Dermatologist achieved a prescription for Methotrexate and I weaned off Prednisone for the second time. By April 10, 2008 the pain was getting intolerable again and I had to go back on Prednisone for the third time. Also my blood was hypercoagolating and the lab was having problems drawing blood. I started on Vitalzyme and Inflammatone which eventually cleared up the blood drawing problem, but still had to continue using some level of Prednisone along with the Methotrexate. During the month of April I started doing my own research and found the Road Back Foundation and www.rheumatic.org My dermatologist would not prescribe Minocycline for me even though he prescribes it for teens with acne. My primary care internist agreed to give it a try, since he had some success with it.
On June 6, 2008 I stared on 100mg twice daily generic Minocycline and 50mg daily Diclofenac. I stopped the Methotrxate the same week and weaned off Prednisone in 30 days and have not had to use it since. I got almost immediate relief from pain and did not have any Herx reactions. Interestingly the blood in my urine cleared when neither Cipro or Levaquin would clear it. Heart skips had been problematic during most of that period, but soon cleared up. In July 2008 I started playing golf again and resumed all of my physical activities. I was not successful after several attempts to reduce my daily use of Minocycline and Diclofenac. In February 2009 my primary care internist agreed to write me a prescription for Naltrexone, which has allowed me to reduce my Minocycline to 100mg M,W,F and mostly stop the Diclofenac. I buy 50mg Naltrexone tablets and dissolve 1 tablet in 50ml of water and take 3.5ml at bedtime nightly. My C-Reactive Protein tested 0.12 on 5/28/2009.
My wife is so amazed at how normal I seem now, since she plays golf with me . Having shared my darkest days she believes the Road Back Foundation kept me out of a wheel chair. Antibiotic Protocol will not work for everyone, but I believe it should be the first thing tried for an autoimmune disease. It is so safe and simple to try and relatively inexpensive compared to biologics.