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Prokarin is an alternative medicine designed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). It uses a combination of histamine and caffeine that is applied to the skin via a patch and is supposed to relieve many of the symptoms of MS. It was created by a nurse named Elaine DeLack after she was diagnosed with the disease. Prokarin has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or accepted by the medical establishment as a treatment for MS.
Prokarin is a medicine that combines two active ingredients, histamine and caffeine. Histamine is a substance naturally found in the body that regulates certain immune responses to foreign pathogens; it can increase wakefulness and stimulate the nervous system in many people, for example. Caffeine is a well known stimulant found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. The medication is administered by absorption through the skin using a cream combined with a transdermal patch, i.e., a medicine infused disc taped to the skin.
The two ingredients combined in Prokarin are supposed to help relieve a variety of MS symptoms such as the crushing fatigue, sensory problems, and motor difficulties. Some of the reputed effects of the medication include decreased levels of fatigue, reduced pain, improved sleep, increased heat tolerance, improved muscular and sensory functioning, and overall wellness. Some possible side effects of Prokarin include a skin reaction at the site of application.
After receiving a MS diagnosis, a nurse named Elaine DeLack developed Prokarin while researching the disease to find a way to alleviate her own symptoms. She discovered attempts to use histamine as an MS treatment in the 1940s and 50s and decided the idea was worthy of further inquiry. She performed the beginning experiments using herself as a guinea pig, and made many attempts before arriving at the correct dosage and delivery system.
There have only been two studies with extremely small sample sizes on the effectiveness of Prokarin as a treatment for MS; both were paid for by the company founded by DeLack to promote the medication. Both of these studies found that it caused an improvement in MS symptoms, especially fatigue, for the majority of participants. The National MS Society has disputed these findings, questioning the design of the studies, the sample size, and citing the nature of MS symptoms to come and go regardless of treatment. Prokarin is considered an alternative treatment; it's not FDA approved or covered by insurance, and doctors are reluctant to prescribe it.