BRIAN, rheumatoid arthritis

It was the fall of 1995 when I began to have some severe pains in my right knee. It only happened very occasionally and only when I was bending my knee. I saw my family doctor and since it was the knee that I had a cartilage operation on in 1978, he told me that it was a sign of getting older and he called it migratory bursitis. The pain always seemed to go away after a day or so. It was very sporadic and not a very big problem.

Beginning in the summer of 1996, the pain became more noticeable and more difficult to manage. It regularly affected my hands, shoulders and feet. By August 1996, I was in pain every day. I went to see a local rheumatologist in Toronto and he did all of the standard tests. He gave me the feeling that I was going to have to learn to live with this disease and that the best he could do was to give me more NSAIDS or worse. He put me on chloroquine, but never really explained how it would help. He also prescribed huge doses of Motrin. I would often take 4 x 400-mg pills per day, but they never seemed very effective. I would see him every three months and was making very little progress. Fortunately, I never got to the point where I needed the drugs like methotrexate or prednisone.

This went on for about one year until I heard Dr. Mirkin on the radio. He was talking about mycoplasma and he said that a 9-day course of Zithromax would do the trick. He meant it for some other problem, but since I had heard him talk about antibiotics for arthritis, I tried it for my rheumatoid arthritis. Like a miracle, I began to feel better in five days and by the end of the 9-day course, I felt 100% cured. It was like I never had this disease. But by Christmas 1997, I could feel a tingle in my fingers and if I had never had RA before, it would not have bothered me. But I knew that my RA was returning, worse than ever. Within one month I was back in horrible pain.

I searched the web and found the website and a mention of a seminar Dr. Franco was having on the use of antibiotics to treat rheumatic diseases. The price seemed very reasonable and a few days in California after a Canadian winter was a nice bonus. When I phoned to register I spoke to his office manager, Doree Rizzo. She asked me if I would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Franco. Her genuine concern for my well being and knowledge of the protocol convinced me to see Dr. Franco. He did numerous tests that confirmed that I had rheumatoid arthritis and suggested that since Zithromax worked during the summer I should go on a long-term course of Zithromax and supplements.

I started with Zithromax 250 mg by 2 times per week. Within two weeks I was in a full herxheimer reaction. This lasted about two to three months where normal daily functions, such as brushing my teeth, became extremely difficult. My wife had to help me get dressed and in and out of the bath, etc, etc. Her love and support during this time was vital to survive the herxheimer reaction.

Dr. Franco had explained in detail about a herx and that it was a positive sign and meant that the AP was working. I trusted him completely and within three months I was beginning to see small improvements. My blood tests started to turn lower.

After about six months on only Zithromax, I added Minocin to my weekly regimen of antibiotics. At that point I was taking 500 mg of Zithromax once per day on Monday and Thursday and 100 mg of Minocin twice per day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. About eight months after starting the AP I began to wake in the morning with very little stiffness in my hands and feet. I began to reduce my anti-inflammatories to one 75 mg Voltaren every day to once every two days. By ten months, I was able to take an anti- inflammatory pill only when needed and they are now very effective, often giving relief within two hours. As I write this I have not had any NSAIDs in over two years and I am feeling great.

In the summer of 2001 I had some unusual symptoms of sweating, fever, chills and exhaustion and was taken off the Minocin with no adverse side effects. These other problems went away after discontinuing the Minocin. My doctor could never completely confirm that Minocin was causing these problems, but my RA has remained in control with only the Zithromax. I continue to take supplements and acidophilus as additional part of the antibiotic protocol and as recommended by Dr. Franco.

I have done follow up appointments with Dr. Franco every year since 1999 and all of my blood tests are within the normal range. I will continue to see Dr. Franco for the foreseeable future and recommend him highly for his caring and attentive service.

I am a huge believer in the Antibiotic Protocol and will share my story and results with anyone interested. In Canada, the story of the AP is not widely followed or even believed, but it is way too valuable not to be considered as a first line of defense against this hideous disease.

Please feel free to contact me by phone (905)-607-3035 or e-mail at and I will do whatever I can to help you through. I have been given my life back and want to live and share it to the fullest.

Brian Howlett,

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