Hello, I wish to convey to you fellow sufferers about my experiences with Microdose Therapy from the Helens Foundation who claims to reduce pain for Arthritis, CFS, Fibromyalgia, back pain, migraines and even Parkinson’s by using Hydrocortisone (Cortisol). You name the illness…they claim to “reduce it or eliminate it.” Against the wishes from my RA & PC docs, who thought it was one of many ways to take advantage of chronic pain sufferers, I bit the hook of the promises to “arrest Fibromyalgia in 21 days” with a program where “patients averaged 77% relief.” Desperate people in pain tend to do desperate things. Of course the people over the phone were very nice. They were also very happy to “get my check” of $7495.00 rather than my medical information.
During the “Shower” dose or loading dose, of 100 mgs of oral Hydrocortisone (Cortisol), I experienced adverse reactions such as swelling/feeling of fullness of the face, jaw, neck and armpits. I also had a sore throat & minor chest pain. The head face & jaw pain was elevated above the usual level which made it unbearable to be around anyone or do anything. What really concerned me the most was an overwhelming, dark crushing depression and an extreme level of fatigue to the point that I could barely get out of bed. I haven’t experienced anything like that before. I barely had the strength to complete basis daily activities and take care of my mom who suffers from severe Arthritis. These reactions were far worse than I experienced with Prednisone. I was told Hydrocortisone was a more “natural” drug than Prednisone but my body could not tolerate it and the side effects were unbearable even when I tapered the dosage down 20mgs. So I discontinued the drug and went back on the Prednisone at a lower dosage (1/2 of 5 mg). I should have listened to my doctors who discouraged me from entering the program. The docs told me that Hydrocortisone is really NO different from taking Prednisone. They are both Corticosteroids but Hydrocortisone has lower dosing levels than Prednisone. However, Prednisone is longer acting. There are some other small differences between the two but not much. The Loading session cost me $3400 even though I got sick on the medication and couldn't complete the 3 weeks. His cold response in a final letter was "Which are we to believe: Ms G diary numbers or her words?" Uggg. If this wasn't a slap in the face I don't know what is!
In essence, it was a very expensive lesson for me to which the program cost me out of pocket $5545.00 out of $7495.00. They weren't concern with my reactions and wanted me to continue...probably to get the rest of the money. I paid $900 for Food Allergy Testing through the program which came from a Lab that specializes in testing horses, dogs and cats. You can find a similar test for $400-500. Check your local lab. I also had to pay $995 for a digital tracking system (a computer graphing program) which charted my daily fluctuating symptoms from 4 pages of pain diaries. Dr. Virgil Stenberg claimed I had an "improvement" in my symptoms which he think he is responsible for. Those 4 days came of "improvement" came after I stopped taking the medication due to the side effects! My body was trying to return to its "normal" status prior to starting the drug! Of course, symptoms wax and wane with constant flareups from activity, storms, stress... It would be best if the doctor used some common sense! So just to let you know this is how they get the “percentage of improvements” they claim to make. I didn’t take a statistics class but I also know there are false positive errors which factors can be misinterpreted. All they are concerned about are the total numbers on the many pain diaries they send to you which you fill in when you’re feeling your worst. I thought they were going to help teach me more about the cortisol levels and of pain management but this is not the case.
So be warned! You are either a predator or you are prey! I lost a lot of money and I now regret entering the program. I was a fool! Hydrocortisone (pill cortisol) in lower doses may work for you but please be very cautious about this program! You sign a contract and you will lose most of your money even if you can't tolerate the drug. You don’t need to spend $7495! Just ask your doc to give it a try if you have problems with the Prednisone. Each Hydrocortisone tablet is 20mgs and 5 tablets of 20 mgs is said to equal 20 mgs of Prednisone. In the Shower/loading stage, I started with 5 tablets (100mgs) for a week which caused me to flare up. I tapered to 3 tbs (60 mgs) week 2 tbs (40 mgs) then 1 ½ tbs (30 mgs) for a week. I had to taper down early then stop the medication per doctor’s orders. Actually 3 docs told me to stop. Eventually, you may find a minimal dose that will help reduce your pain and remain on it for the rest of your life. I hope this helps others from being preyed upon. When one is in pain, one tends to try everything and everything to help relieve the pain. This program is very expensive for what your doc can do with you. This is just a shout out to all you sufferers. Take care & hang in there. DG