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Is your Disease Masked with Immunosuppressive Medicines?
(Guide to Patients who have taken immunosuppressive medicines)
By Dr Rajesh Shah, MD(Hom)

Many patients with one or more of the following diseases, approach us for the treatment, when their disease may have been 'masked' by some immunosuppressive medicines, as described in this article.

Common diseases, which could be 'masked' with other medicines:

  • Psoriasis
  • Urticaria
  • Nephrotic Syndrome
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Lichen Planus
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Vitiligo
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)

Immunosuppressive medicines are those conventional (allopathic) drugs, which help, in allergic, inflammatory and auto-immune diseases by suppressing the immune response of the body. It may be noted that the immunosuppressive medicines may prove to be effective in treating the diseases, but with following riders attached:

  • Temporary relief
  • Significant adverse effects
  • Relapse of diseases, which are at times hard to manage.
  • Drug dependency.

The purpose of this article is neither to criticize the efficacy of immunosuppressive medicines, nor to discuss their adverse effects; but to review the difficulty they pose when we initiate their homeopathic treatment.

Some of the commonly used conventional (immunosuppressive) medicines which may mask the diseases (without necessarily curing them), can be listed as under:

  • Cortisone (steroids) (oral, topical application, injections, mouth wash) 
    (In all of the above stated diseases)
  • Tacrolimus (Vitiligo)
  • Methotrexate (In Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, etc.)
  • Cyclosporine (In Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, etc.)
  • Cyclophosphamide (In Nephrotic Syndrome)
  • Propysalic (In Psoriasis)

The patients who approach us for homeopathic treatment, who may have been eithercurrently taking one of the above mentioned immunosuppressive medicines; or may have taken it in the recent six months time, must note that:

a As soon as the effect of immunosuppressive medicine gets over, the disease is likely to return, in some of the patients, if not all. In case of skin diseases (Lichen planus, vitiligo, alopecia areata), the disease may appear on different part of the body, not necessarily at the same old place.

b In any case, the immunosuppressive medicines are never supposed to be taken life long. On stopping them some day, the relapses are likely to happen. For better management, it would be wiser to introduce homeopathic medicines in such cases.

cThe return of disease on stopping immunosuppressive medicine is likely to coincide with the starting of homeopathic medicines. This situation might give a feeling that the return of disease or an increase of disease is caused by homeopathic medicine! It must be noted that homeopathic medicines do not cause increase of the disease in such conditions, as some people believe it.

d The disease that returns on stopping immunosuppressive medicines is likely to be more severe than before.

e The resurfaced disease is likely to be more resistant than before. It may be noted that even after starting homeopathic treatment, such cases are likely to show relapse; which may require use of those immunosuppressive medicines for some time. Some patients believe that once homeopathic treatment started, there should be no need to take any conventional medicines! Need to take the immunosuppressive medicines in cases of relapse after stopping them, is not an indication of failure of homeopathic medicines; it must be noted.

f One is likely to need it again, as no milder medicine might work.

g Patients body is likely to get dependent or addicted to immunosuppressive medicines on using it frequently. Such cases are often called 'drug dependent diseases'. Examples: Cortisone dependent Ulcerative colitis or Nephrotic Syndrome.

h In case of eczema or psoriasis or urticaria, the resurfaced skin eruptions after stopping immunosuppressive medicines may pose difficulty on first or second instances of relapse. Such cases require to be managed strategically for better success rate in overcoming the crisis.

i Patients who have immunosuppressive medicine dependent diseases, they can still be managed with homeopathy; but it may take time. Some to the cortisone dependent or cortisone resistant cases (especially UC or NS) may be really very difficult to treat. Homeopathy cannot be a short cut for such difficult diseases.

Patients must know that homeopathy is an effective medical system. However, some disease situations can be really difficult. The diseases treated and masked using immunosuppressive medicines fall in the category of difficult diseases.

Careful evaluation, thorough medical knowledge, strategic planning, sound homeopathic experience on the side of the treating homeopathic doctor; combined with patient's compliance can help success in long term management of such diseases.

Another way that ulcerative colitis can be distinguished from IBS is that people with ulcerative colitis may have rectal bleeding, a symptom missing from IBS.

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