Honey Bee Venom Used to Treat Multiple Sclerosis and Osteoarthritis Pain

May 7, 2014
Rachel Lutz

Honey bee venom is being used to treat pain for multiple sclerosis and osteoarthritis, according to a report from CBS News.

Honey bee venom is being used in the Los Angeles, California area as treatment for osteoarthritis and multiple sclerosis, according to a CBS News report.

While patients are being stung by the bees, under the supervision of beekeepers, a Korea-based pharmaceutical company is working in conjunction with Axis Clinical Trials in Los Angeles to develop a concentrated form of the analgesic venom. The drug, under the working name Apimed, would be injected into patients’ joints for short-term relief.

“Nobody is really sure on exactly the mechanism of the honey bee venom,” Lydie Hazan, MD, founder of Axis Clinical Trials, told CBS2 Los Angeles. “But it seems to have an affinity for inflammation in that it gobbles up the inflammation.”

However, it is important to note honey bee venom can be fatal to those who are allergic. Hazan recommends being tested by a doctor before starting any kind of venom regimen.

One multiple sclerosis patient interviewed for the news story receives 2 stings on the back of her neck and 4 above and below her knees every other day. She calls the bees, “miracle creatures.” The patient acknowledged the venom has not slowed the progression of her multiple sclerosis, but is convinced the venom is effective for pain.

Apimed is currently being studied in a 6-month trial for osteoarthritis patients as well.