Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bee Venom Acupuncture May Help Treat Scleroderma

Bee venom acupuncture for circumscribed morphea in a patient with systemic sclerosis: A case report

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Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Dec;97(49):e13404


Bee venom has been reported to demonstrate antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in experimental studies, but there remain questions regarding the clinical use of bee venom, especially for scleroderma. This case report shows the successful outcome of bee venom acupuncture for circumscribed morphea in a patient with systemic sclerosis, which is considered to be a rare condition.


A 64-year-old Korean woman had circular white areas (3 and 1 cm diameter) with severe itch in the right lateral iliac crest. Based on an initial diagnosis of systemic sclerosis (1 year prior to presentation at our clinic), she had been treated with painkillers, steroids, antitussive expectorants, and aspirin, with minimal effect on her recent skin symptoms.


In this study, the diagnosis of circumscribed morphea was based on localized skin symptoms of the patient with systemic sclerosis.


The patient visited Gachon University Korean Medical Hospital for treatment of topical skin symptoms. After being evaluated for bee venom compatibility, she was administered subcutaneous bee venom acupuncture along the margins of the patches (superficial circumscribed lesions) using the shallow surround needling method twice per week for 1 week and then once per week for the following 3 weeks.


Itch levels were evaluated before each treatment session: by her second visit, her itch had decreased from 8 to 3 on a 10-point numerical rating scale; by her sixth visit, her itch had decreased from 3 to 0. She did not experience adverse effects, and these improvements were maintained until the 2-month follow-up evaluation.


Bee venom treatment demonstrates the potential to serve as an effective localized therapy for circumscribed morphea.

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