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Case Report · Kasuistik

Complement Med Res Published online: February 21, 2018


DOI: 10.1159/000485422

Treatment of Chronic Immune Thrombocytopenic


Purpura with Homeopathic Dilutions of Patient Blood
Heiner Frei a,b  

a
Institute of Complementary Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland;
b Center for Integrative Pediatrics, Laupen, Switzerland

Keywords Schlüsselwörter
Chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura · Chronische Immunthrombozytopenie · Behandlung ·
Treatment · Homeopathic dilutions of patient blood Homöopathische Verdünnung von Patientenblut

Summary Zusammenfassung
Background: Conventional or homeopathic treatment of Hintergrund: Die konventionelle oder homöopathische
chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is often Behandlung der chronischen Immunthrombozytopenie
difficult. The use of homeopathic dilutions of patient (ITP) ist oft schwierig. Die Verwendung von potenziertem
blood (HPB) for immunomodulation has been described, Patientenblut (HPB) wurde zur Immunmodulation emp-
which inspired us to try the method in an ITP case. Case fohlen, was uns dazu veranlasste, dies bei einer ITP-­
Report: A 2-year-old girl with chronic ITP was treated Patientin anzuwenden. Fallbericht: Ein 2-jähriges Mäd-
with homeopathic dilutions of her own capillary blood, chen mit chronischer ITP wurde mit homöopathischen
given orally over 5 months. Immediately after treatment Verdünnungen ihres Kapillarblutes oral während 5 Mo-
onset there was a rapid normalization of the thrombo- naten behandelt. Unmittelbar nach Behandlungsbeginn
cyte counts. Within 6 weeks, they rose from 15,000/µl to stieg die Thrombozytenkonzentration von 15 000/µl auf
254,000/µl. After treatment stop, they decreased to 254 000/µl an. Nach Therapieende sank sie auf 155 000/µl
155,000/µl, increased again spontaneously to 270,000/µl und pendelte sich schließlich über 3 Jahre bei Werten
and remained within normal range for over 3 years. Con- um 270 000/µl ein. Schlussfolgerungen: Homöopathische
clusions: Oral administration of homeopathic dilutions of Verdünnungen von patienteneigenem Kapillarblut sind
capillary patient blood may possibly be an effective möglicherweise eine effektive Behandlung für die chro-
treatment in chronic ITP. If our results can be repro- nische ITP. Falls die beobachtete Wirkung reproduziert
duced, this will revolutionize the treatment of ITP. werden kann, entspräche dies einer Revolution in der
© 2018 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg ITP-Behandlung.

Introduction adults, concomitant with Helicobacter pylori infections. Although


the exact pathogenesis is still unclear, a possible mechanism might
Chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an auto- be the cross-reaction of antimicrobial antibodies with platelet
immune disorder with antibodies against platelet membranes, re- membranes. Typical symptoms of ITP such as mucocutaneous
sulting in platelet destruction and/or suppression of platelet pro- bleeding appear with platelet counts below 30,000/µl. Platelet
duction [1]. Several authors have observed that ITP in children counts below 10,000/µl may lead to epistaxis, menorrhagia, and
occurs after infections with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalo- even life-threatening intracranial hemorrhage. The ITP incidence
virus (CMV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or in in Nordic countries is 4.8 cases per 100,000 children, and children
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Stockholm University Library

© 2018 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg Heiner Frei, MD, Pediatrician FMH, Homeopathy SVHA
Kreuzplatz 6, 3177 Laupen, Switzerland
Fax +49 761 4 52 07 14 heiner.frei@hin.ch
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with insidious onset are most likely to develop chronic disease [2].
120
Conventional treatment consists of glucocorticoids and immuno-
100
globulins, which normally lead to a transient rise in platelet con-
centrations. If severe bleeding has to be stopped, the patients may

Platelet Concentration x 1000


80

need platelet transfusions and even splenectomy. Rarely, treat- 60


ment with cytostatics is necessary to suppress autoantibody-pro- 40
ducing cells.
20
In alternative medicine, Gousta and Saberi Isfeedvajani [3] re-
0
ported a positive effect of individualized homeopathic remedies in
the treatment of ITP, while our own experience with individualized
homeopathy in chronic ITP is rather mixed. We therefore chose a
different approach for our latest case (see below). In her book Fig. 1. Platelet concentration in chronic ITP (×1,000/µl) before and after
‘Homöopathie in der kinderärztlichen Praxis’ (Homeopathy in treatment start with HPB. The date of treatment start was February 24, 2014.
Note the immediate increase in platelet concentration after the start of HPB
Pediatric Practice), Imhäuser [4] describes a treatment with home-
treatment. (Dates on the x-axis are in the format dd/mm/yyyy.)
opathic dilutions of patient blood (HPB) for disturbances of the
immune system. This is the method we used.

Case Report 400

Platelet Concentration
Laboratory Examinations 300

The hematological tests were performed with a modern flow cytometer,


x 1000

200
which undergoes daily internal quality controls, and several external ones per
year.
100

Treatment 0
To obtain a homeopathic dilution of capillary patient blood (the HPB), we
use a disposable 50-µl glass pipette. The blood is then diluted in 5 ml alcohol
(30%) in a glass tube with cover. The next step is to vigorously shake the tube 10
times [5]. The result is a so-called 1C potency of HPB (abbreviated HPB 1C).
Fig. 2. Platelet concentration in chronic ITP (×1,000/µl) before, during, and
This is further diluted with 30% alcohol by the pharmacy in steps of 1:100, each
after treatment with HPB. The treatment ended on August 18, 2014. Note the
step being concluded with 10 vigorous shakings, until the potencies HPB 7C (7
sharp decrease after treatment stop, as well as the following spontaneous re­
dilution steps), HPB 9C (9 dilution steps, etc.), HPB 12C, and HPB 15C have
covery. (Dates on the x-axis are in the format dd/mm/yyyy.)
been obtained. The patient receives each potency in an 8-ml bottle with a pi-
pette and starts the treatment with HPB 7C, 3  × 3 drops orally per day for
4 weeks, continuing with HPB 9C 3 drops a day for 4 weeks, then HPB 12C 3
drops twice a week for 1 month, and finally HPB 15C 3 drops once a week for
the last month. If necessary, the treatment can be continued with HPB 15C over After 5  months, the treatment was stopped. Within the next 4  weeks, the
a longer time. platelet count decreased to 155,000/µl (still within the normal range), and then
recovered spontaneously to levels around 270,000/µl. This recovery has re-
Results in a Pilot Patient mained stable over the last 3 years. The treatment with HPB was well tolerated
Two-year-old Debora (name changed) suffered from unusual hematomas by the patient and had no side effects.
with minor trauma throughout the summer season, which had become in-
creasingly severe during the last 3 months. In addition, she was very pale and
often tired, and her mother, who works as a psychologist in a University Discussion
Children’s Hospital, feared that she might have acute leukemia. The exami-
nation revealed large hematomas on the legs and smaller ones on the arms
and face, all in different stages. The size of the spleen was normal, and there The steep increase in the platelet concentration starting imme-
were neither any enlarged lymph nodes nor any other internal findings. The diately after the initiation of treatment, as well as the decrease after
blood examination showed a hemoglobin level of 112 g/l, a white blood cell its discontinuation, suggests a positive effect of the HPB. Due to
count of 8,200/µl, a slight lymphocytosis (62.1%), and a platelet count of the young age of the patient, we consider a placebo effect rather
28,000/µl. Our diagnosis was chronic thrombocytopenic purpura, and Deb-
improbable. The key question is whether the recovery was sponta-
ora was referred to the University Children’s Hospital for further assessment.
The hematologists confirmed the diagnosis and sent her back into our care neous or induced by treatment. In acute ITP, a spontaneous remis-
without treatment. She presented 2  days later with new hematomas and a sion occurs in 60% of the patients within the first month after diag-
platelet count of 15,000/µl. nosis [6]. This probability is much smaller once the symptoms
In that situation, we made a homeopathic dilution of her blood and began have lasted for over 6 months, i.e. in chronic ITP. Rosthoi et al. [7]
treatment with HPB 7C. After 2 weeks the platelet count had risen to 105,000/
observed a spontaneous recovery within 3 months in less than 5%
µl, and 1 month later under HPB 9C it reached 254,000/µl. All clinical symp-
toms had disappeared within 4 weeks after treatment start. The course of the of the children, and within 2 years, in 35% of the children. Simi-
platelet concentrations is shown in figures 1 and 2. larly, Coccia et al. [8] report a spontaneous remission rate of 42.8%
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Complement Med Res Frei


DOI: 10.1159/000485422
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within a period of 9–90  months, and calculate a probability of these results. In any case, it is important not to draw the false con-
spontaneous remission of 24% at 4 years and of 50% at 8 years. The clusion that with an unknown mechanism of action there can be
findings of other authors are similar [9–11]. From our own experi- no effect.
ence in pediatric hematology, we know that spontaneous recovery
of a chronic ITP is normally very slow, with a gradual small in-
crease in the platelet concentrations over many months, even years. Conclusion
What we saw in this patient is far beyond that; it rather resembles
the increase seen after γ-globulin treatment. From the scientific Our pilot patient with chronic ITP showed an outstanding and
point of view, it would have been desirable to make an n = 1 study lasting normalization of the platelet counts under oral treatment
in this patient. We did not do this because the permissions needed with a homeopathic dilution of her own blood. If the effect can be
would have delayed treatment for a timespan inacceptable to the reproduced, this would constitute a revolution in ITP treatment.
parents. The next step should be to study this treatment in a larger group of
The mode of action of HPB in ITP is unclear. Imhäuser [4] in- patients. We hope that this publication encourages other clinicians
terprets their effect as immunomodulation, i.e., they moderate an to adopt the idea of treating ITP with HPB, and to share their expe-
overactive immune system or stimulate one that is too weak. Re- rience with us. As a further step, the treatment should be tested in a
cent research by Chikramane et al. [12] suggests that the homeo- randomized controlled trial.
pathic preparation of a substance leads to the formation of nano-
particles which retain molecules even in dilutions beyond the
Avogadro constant. If this hypothesis can be confirmed, it would Disclosure Statement
explain many phenomena observed in homeopathic treatment.
The author has no commercial interests connected with this article.
There are ongoing efforts in Stuttgart and Bern to reproduce

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ITP Treatment with Potentiated Patient Blood Complement Med Res


DOI: 10.1159/000485422
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