By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pain relief without medication, but stings? 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on the unusual treatment and how it could be expanding.
We know about bees making honey and pollinating plants, and there's something else. Bee sting therapy to help relieve pain.
"A big thing in my life was stay away from those bees," said Pat Henry, a multiple sclerosis patient who no longer avoids them. For the past 16 years, bee sting therapy has been her only treatment. Every other day, two bee stings to the back of her neck and some more around her knees.
"In a couple of hours joint soreness goes away," said Pat.
Her caretaker Chet Henry stings himself too.
"My hands were so bad with arthritis, and I don't have that anymore," said Chet.
Now researchers are testing Apameds purified honey bee venom to treat arthritis. It's injected directly into the knees of patients who are in the study.
"Nobody is really sure on exactly the mechanism of the honey bee venom. But it seems to have an affinity for inflammation in that it gobbles up the inflammation," said Dr. Lydie Hazan, a researcher.
Pat who gets venom the old fashioned way with bee stings says it's worked wonders.
"I'm independent. I clean my own house. I wake up every morning and say okay made it one more day," said Pat.
The bee stings haven't stopped Pat's MS from progressing and weakening her legs, but she says they have helped relieve some symptoms including pain.
"I can carry on with my life, and there are no side effects. And hopefully I can live to be 100 years old," said Pat.
Doctors warns that in people who are allergic, a bee sting can be deadly. So it's important to be tested before trying the therapy.
The research trials for treating arthritis with bee venom are not in our area.
For more information:
Bee Sting Trial Information- http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01112722?term=axis+and+venom&rank=1
American Apitherapy Association History of Bee Sting Therapy Information- http://www.apitherapy.org/
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