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Sarcoidosis

Alternative Treatment For Sarcoidosis

10/01/2008

Question:

Hi there my dad currently suffers from sarcoidosis and he is really not well, it is in his eyes now and hes always confused and has memory loss. His doctor has put him on steroids but he just seems to be getting worse. What is Marshal Protocol and is it in the UK? Is there anyone in the UK that has tried this or any other medications that can help him because i don`t believe that these steroids work for everyone. Do you believe vitamin D is bad to boost the immune system or is there any other vitamins or minerals he can take because his diet is poor and he does not know what he is allowed to eat. I would be so thankful for your advice as i have been on all the web sites but seem to be going in circles.

Answer:

I agree that corticosteroids ("steroids") are not the best treatment for all patients with sarcoidosis. For unclear reasons some sarcoidosis patients are resistant to steroids. There are other options, such as methotrexate, which can be used alone or in combination with steroids for added effect. In highly resistant forms of disease, drugs that block the effects or reduce the release of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa) can be more effective.

The "Marshall Protocol" is based on the notion that sarcoidosis is caused by a difficult to identify infection. This protocol uses a mixture of antibiotics for long periods of time. Most sarcoidosis experts are not convinced that sarcoidosis is caused by an active infection. Furthermore, the Marshall Protocol has not been tested in a rigorous scientific way. In the absence of a such proof, most physicians would not recommend the protocol. This being said, if all else fails (including methotrexate and other options) it might be reasonable to try experimental treatments such as this. Ideally, experimental treatments would be conducted under the guidance of an institutional review board, which protects the rights (e.g., access to personal information which is available in the medical record) and health of those who volunteer to participate in research.

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Response by:

Elliott D Crouser, MD Elliott D Crouser, MD
Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University