Z Rheumatol. 1987 Jan-Feb; 46(1): 1-12.
[Controversial and so-called alternative therapeutic approaches]
In spite of intensive research, it has not yet been possible to produce a complete explanation of the aetiology and pathology of rheumatoid arthritis (R.A.). Therapeutic measures are possible in many phases of the pathogenetic concept, and often produce good, modifying results, improving the course of the disease. No causal therapy of R.A. exists--we do not know the aetiology of this disease. Frustration with conventional medicine on the one side, and the predominating spirit of the times on the other--back to biological methods and the old forms of therapy--are the reasons why chronic polyarthritics drift into the sphere of para-medicine. In the judgement of para-medical methods, "risk/benefit relationship", "superfluous and no longer up-to-date", "controversial--absence of scientific evidence", "controversial", and "controversial--not scientifically acceptable" present some of the decision criteria. Treatment with mussel extracts, beta-sitosterins, THX, and substitution with various substances, as well as anthroposophically-oriented high-potency homeopathy, are to be allocated to the "controversial--not scientifically acceptable" category. If one weighs up the "risk/benefit relationship" of cell therapy, this treatment concept also cannot be supported. Moreover, precisely documented scientific results of this form of therapy do not exist. Methods standing on scientifically-hypothetically interesting ground, but which were tested on too small a group and cannot yet be accepted as sufficiently proven, are therapy with Vitamin E, the use of Thymopoietin, in which, for example, dose-finding and mode of application are not yet firmly established, and therapy with enzyme mixtures. Interferon results, initially extolled in the lay press, have not been confirmed in the most recent studies. Thymopoietin treatments, via the laborious road to the correct application (oral, subcutaneous, intramuscular, intravenous as bolus, intravenous--fractionated), show encouraging successes. As tissue-localized immune complexes (which sort?) play a role in the pathogenesis of R.A., but enzyme mixtures, apart from the problems of absorption, only influence circulating immune complexes, and moreover, in many diseases neither the aetiology nor the pathogenesis is connected with the immune complexes, this therapy concept can be regarded neither as causal nor as scientifically guaranteed. In summary: from the start-point that healing is the ideal aim, it has been forgotten that there are many human sufferings which medicine can ease and ameliorate, but not yet cure.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)