Pregnenolone may be a potent antibiotic, even for lethal infections

This is an old case study, reporting dramatic results from treatment with high doses pregnenolone (acetate ester) for an intractable bacterial infection that was rapidly spreading and proved resistant to all other therapies. The dose of pregnenolone (acetate) used was high – 100mg twice daily for a 6 year old child. That would correspond to 600mg+ for an adult, but those high doses should not be a problem considering recent human studies administering 500mg+ on a daily basis without any side effects except rare cases of drowsiness. The authors of the old case study also state that the treatment is safe and much higher doses of pregnenolone acetate have been shown to be completely benign. Compared to the standard treatments in such cases, pregnenolone looks like orange juice by comparison, in terms of safety. While the study talks about fungi and anti-fungal effects of pregnenolone acetate, the pathogen in question is Nocardia asteroides, and it is in fact a type of Gram-positive bacteria that causes fungi-resembling chronic infections with up to 80% lethality depending on which organ/tissue is affected. Infections with this pathogen are commonly seen in immuno-compromised patients, most often carriers of HIV. To have pregnenolone as a reliable and safe treatment of such resistant infections is truly a miraculous finding and I can only hope that additional research is done to investigate the antibiotic effects of pregnenolone against other strains, especially the more resilient Gram-negative species. Come to think of it, this is a great idea for my next study with the group of researchers that did the studies on CortiNon and Oxidal 🙂 I will report back when the results are available.

“…Nocardia is a genus of weakly staining Gram-positive, catalase-positive, rod-shaped bacteria. It forms partially acid-fast beaded branching filaments (acting as fungi, but being truly bacteria). It contains a total of 85 species. Some species are nonpathogenic, while others are responsible for nocardiosis.[1] Nocardia species are found worldwide in soil rich in organic matter. In addition, they are oral microflora found in healthy gingiva, as well as periodontal pockets. Most Nocardia infections are acquired by inhalation of the bacteria or through traumatic introduction.”

“…Nocardia asteroides is the most common species identified in several reports of Nocardia infection in HIV-infected patients, and the lung is the most commonly affected site.”

“…THE PURPOSES of this presentation are (1) to report a case of mycetoma (nocardiosis) in a child who had failed to respond to all the standard forms of therapy and who apparently has been cured by treatment with pregnenolone acetate and (2) to call attention to pregnenolone acetate as an agent free from undesirable metabolic or toxic effects, which has useful antifungal properties that warrant further clinical investigation.”

“…The reaction to a tuberculin patch test applied on May 4 was negative at the end of 96 hours. At this time, pregnenolone acetate tablets (100 mg. twice daily) were prescribed. All other medication and irradiation were discontinued. The patient was observed regularly. On June 7 the lesion appeared to be somewhat improved and was healing. There was more drainage and a little increased tenderness. By June 27 there was definite healing of the lesion, and at that time the dose of pregnenolone acetate was increased to 300 mg. daily. On July 11, the anterior lesion on the dorsum of the left foot was completely closed, and the one on the medial surface of the ankle was beginning to fill in much better.”

“…Mycetoma of the feet and hands due to various species of fungi is known for its chronicity and resistance to all forms of therapy. Subsequent amputation of the infected part after all methods of treatment fail is the final recourse in most cases. Infections in man due to the aerobic variably acid-fast N. asteroides are regularly resistant to all forms of therapy. Tucker and Hirsch6 collected 34 cases from the literature and added 3 cases of their own. The mortality rate appeared very high ; only 5 of the 37 patients could be considered as having recovered, and all 5 received sulfonamide therapy in addition to other forms of therapy. The infection was pulmonary in 33 cases; metastatic abscesses of the brain were present in at least 11, and 1 case of mycetoma of the foot, similar to that of our patient, reviewed by Henrici and Gardner 7 in the presulfonamide era, was cured by amputation after all other therapy had failed.”

“…It is of interest that this child with mycetoma (nocardiosis) failed to respond to any form of therapy, including the sulfonamides, for nine months and then improved dramatically when pregnenolone acetate medication was started and all other forms of therapy were discontinued. The time relationship of her response to the administration of the pregnenolone acetate suggests that this agent was responsible for her recovery. The fact that her general appearance changed in two weeks after the start of steroid therapy—i. e., increased appetite, weight gain, and lack of pain in the foot—favors this view. The most important feature of the useof pregnenolone acetate in this case was the complete lack of undesirable metabolic or toxic effects. Other steroids may prove to be more potent antifungal agents, but all others thus far utilized in man have pronounced secondary sexual and metabolic actions which limit their usefulness very decidedly. This is not true for pregnenolone acetate, which can be given in a large dosage with complete impunity.5 It can be used without hesitation in treatment of children and adults of both sexes.”

“…Pregnenolone acetate administered orally in a dosage of 200 or 300 mg. daily for eight months (a total dose of about 60 gm.) produced an apparent cure in a case of intractable mycetoma in a child 6 years of age, thus preventing eventual amputation. The medication in this large dosage produced no systemic manifestations and no evidences of metabolic activity or toxicity. The organism isolated from the mycetoma was identified as an atypical strain of Nocardia asteroides.”