Monday, June 2, 2008
What is Morgellons?
Nobody knows. I have a patient with it. I know it is real. If I had not seen it with my own eyes I would be skeptical too. It occurred in a patient I had been treating for Lyme. It was truly bizarre. Strands or thread like structures squirmed there way out of open sores on her skin. They were multi-colored. They came in black, white, yellow and blue. The patient told me that if I looked at them they would go back in. Perhaps this is a coincidence, but that is exactly what I observed on one occasion. This patient experienced a variety of bizarre things coming out of her skin. Patients experience the sensation of something literally crawling under their skin. It sounds like something out of the X-files, but it is real. Current thinking is that Morgellons may be a mutated plant parasite which has acquired the ability to affect humans. Apparently it only occurs when the immune system has been weakened by a condition like chronic Lyme disease. It drives people crazy. It is associated with all the same symptoms as neuroborreliosis, so it is hard to know if the fatigue and cognitive dysfunction are from Lyme, Morgellons, or both. The physican with the most experience treating it is Dr. Sticker in San Francisco, along with Nurse Practitioner, Ginger Savely. He has found that a cocktail of antibiotics, antifungals and anti-worm medicines can be effective. For example, patients may be treated with Rocephin, the antifungal Diflucan, and Ivermectin, a medicine for small worms called Micro-fillaria. The Ivermectin may need to taken at high doses for a prolonged period of time. My patient is now seeing Dr. Sticker and I am hoping she will finally get some relief. Morgellons is one of the strangest phenomenon to be associated with the Lyme epidemic. We really do not yet know what it is, but treatment protocols are being developed and many patients helped. This disease remains outside the purview of all but the most intrepid Lyme doctors.