Speculation on the mode of action of anti-parasitic medications and herbs for use in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) continues to this day, since the use of Gold Salts, known to have anti-amoebic effects, and Plaquenil (generic name: hydroxychloroquine), originally designed to treat malaria, caused by Plasmodium, a parasitic protozoan. Whether for their immune-modulatory effects or their use as antimicrobials, studies have been conducted on other anti-protozoal herbs, demonstrating therapeutic value for RA, such as artemisinin (in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is known as qinghao su) that is also used to treat malaria, derived from the plant, Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood. The following are a selection of studies for the use of a synthetic nitroimidazole antibiotic, called, Ornidazole, commonly used for treating protozoan and anaerobic bacterial infections, that have been found helpful in treating RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis is linked to oral bacteria: etiological association. Mod Rheumatol. 2009;19(5):453-6. doi: 10.1007/s10165-009-0194-9. Epub 2009 June 24.
A prolific researcher of infectious causes for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its treatment with antibiotic therapy, at the Division of Rheumatology of Nazilli State Hospital, in Nazilli, Turkey, reviewed the evidence of periodontitis and the role of causative organisms that are directly associated with the etiopathogenesis of RA. Additionally, this researcher states that findings of anerobic bacteria, such as, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythensis, and Prevotella intermedia that have been identified in RA synovial fluid can be treated with antibiotics, such as ornidazole, levofloxacin, and clarithromycin that have been shown to be effective in RA.
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with ornidazole: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Rheumatol Int. 2006 Oct;26(12):1132-7. Epub 2006 Jun 13
A 3-month, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, was conducted to evaluate the safety, efficacy and tolerability of the antibiotic, ornidazole, in 160 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Patients were assigned to 1 of 3 study arms (either 500mg or 1000mg ornidazole, or placebo) and by the end of this brief study, the greatest percentage of patients who achieved the American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR20, ACR50 and ACR70) improvement criteria were those who had been treated with ornidazole, as compared to the placebo group. Significant reductions in symptoms and in measurements of disease activity were evidenced by both patient and physician global assessments. Overall, ornidazole was found to be well tolerated and there were no dose-limiting toxic effects, enabling this researcher to conclude that the antibiotic was safe and efficacious in the treatment of RA.