Feature Archive

Sting the Pain Away

Bee venom therapy may give new hope to arthritis sufferers.

By Charles Downey
WebMD Feature

Louise Chirasello of Brewster, New York, was suffering intractable pain from her two hip replacement operations. She tried to get relief from the strongest prescribed painkillers, and from physical therapy.

But nothing worked. "I was so sore, you could not touch my hips without me crying out," says Chirasello.

Then she heard about Lawrence Cohen, a doctor in Danbury, Conn., who treats terrible pain with the venom of ordinary honeybees. At first, Cohen gave the 84-year-old widow several injections of bee venom weekly, but eventually reduced the dose to one injection every two or three weeks.

"Right after I got that first injection of bee venom, I left his office pain-free," Chirasello says. A year later, she is still free of pain and has needed no additional bee venom injections.

Unproven Results

Although bee venom therapy is largely an unproven technique, about 50 U.S. physicians report good results using the substance to treat not only pain but arthritic conditions, multiple sclerosis, and other health woes. Other practitioners treat high blood pressure, asthma, hearing loss, and even premenstrual syndrome with bee venom.

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