Eating and injecting worms to prevent seasonal allergies?!?

April 20, 2012 | by Steven Rothrock MD

Experts from the Cochrane Database reviewed 5 prior studies where researchers gave study participants human hookworm larvae via the skin or pig whipworm eggs by mouth.1 It turns out that those who received this treatment needed allergy medicines on 8 fewer days during a typical 60 day pollen season. Not surprisingly, those who had hookworms injected into their skin had local itching and redness while those who drank the pig whipworm eggs had more abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea compared to those who did not receive this therapy.

Two important questions arise from this review. How much did they pay study participants to take the worms? More importantly, even if this works, who is going to get in line for worm therapy to treat their allergies?


  1. Croft AM, Bager P, Kumar S. Helminth therapy (worms) for allergic rhinitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012; Epub April 18, 2012.

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