What is apitherapy, the treatment with bees that led to the death of a woman in Spain
For two years, he allowed himself to be stung by bees once a month.
It was part of a treatment called apitherapy, which he used to relieve muscle contractures and stress.
But one day, after the first bee stung her, the 55-year-old Spanish woman, who lives in Madrid, began to gasp and have difficulty breathing. Then he lost consciousness.
Her therapist quickly administered steroid medication, but there was no adrenaline available to revive her.
The ambulance took half an hour to arrive, the rescuers tried to give her first aid, but they soon realized that the woman was in a coma and needed to be intubated.
After several weeks in the hospital, where she was diagnosed with multiple organ failure, the woman died.
Among the most striking thing about the incident was that the patient had no history of any other disease, risk factors or previous allergic reactions that could explain what happened.
What is apitherapy?
- Its operation is based on the use of bee products, which can range from honey or royal jelly to apitoxin or bee venom, used, according to its promoters, to prevent and treat diseases such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis.
- Apitherapy is a treatment that dates back to Ancient Egypt, Greece or China, but has never been endorsed by the medical community.
- However, the Institute for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis in the United Kingdom notes that «There is no research showing the effectiveness of this treatment in patients with multiple sclerosis.»
- Various internet pages promote the «miraculous» benefits of these treatments, although the truth is that they are mainly anecdotal and are not supported by any serious scientific study.
- The theory behind apitherapy is that the bee sting produces inflammation that stimulates the body’s immune system response to reduce inflammation.
The case became known this week, after the publication of a report in the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, which has called into question the already controversial treatment.
Researchers at the University Hospital of Madrid assure that what happened demonstrates the risks of the therapy, which they describe as «unsafe and inadvisable.»
1. Patients should be well informed about the dangers of this treatment before applying it.
2. Measures should be implemented to identify patients who may be sensitive to bee stings.
3. People applying the therapy must be trained in the management of allergic reactions and first aid techniques.
4. Additionally, these people must ensure that they can apply these techniques in a safe environment.