This is updated of an earlier post. Dr Semelka now treats at the Integrative Medical Clinic of North Carolina. Amongst other changes this also allows patients to be seen by other highly trained physicians: Will Pendergraft MD, PhD and/or Julie McGregor, MD so the fullness of their medical care can be addressed, and not only GDD. Their services are usually covered by insurance. Booking concurrent appointment with Dr Will or Dr Julie on the dates of chelation makes sense.
Integrative Medical Clinic of North Carolina
5915 Farrington Rd, Suite 106,
Chapel Hill, NC, 27517
ph 984- 999-0902.
As I have observed in multiple blogs there are two components to treatment:
i) removing the gadolinium (Gd)
ii) managing the host response.
DTPA is the best agent to remove Gd, currently FDA-approved for some heavy metals, so as I have described in multiple blogs, this remains the cornerstone of Gd elimination. The Flare reaction is the most common serious adverse reaction. Flare has one valuable property, that it is the best current confirmatory test that a patient has GDD and not some other disease process (although they can have concurrent disease). The subjects at greatest risk of Flare are those whose disease has arisen within 6 months, maybe up to 1 yr. It may also be that macrocyclic agents result in more intense Flare. We will be employing what I term the FRAME regimen, to diminish the intensity/frequency of the Flare reaction. FRAME is essentially a refined hypersensitivity protocol (used to prevent drug reactions) combined with a refined steroid taper (used to treat many inflammatory conditions), which I have designed for GDD, which will be given to subjects at risk for serious Flare. FRAME also manages some of the host factors of GDD. Gentle chelation with Zn-DTPA will also be used in some subjects.
If chelation and chelation with FRAME are not sufficient to relieve subject's symptoms, or no mobilizable Gd is present, host immune reaction strategies will be introduced, sometimes early, in the treatment plan. Components of FRAME will be used for long term management. Other approaches such as LDN, and other medications, will also be added in. Cytokines appear to be principal molecules involved in the host immune factors of GDD. Currently there are no affordable medications that target cytokines specifically. Intense investigation into host immune system management is ongoing, and will be employed if they appear effective, affordable, and safe.
Note that for many patients, treatment close to where they live may be the best option for them, and I will continue to work with individuals to accomplish this. Similarly there are a number of highly qualified centers that treat patients with GDD, many based in large centers, where treatment of concurrent disease can be more readily achieved than at the centers I am working with. Cost of travel and accommodation may be a major factor to maintain treatment close to home. For the most part I will not be treating concurrent disease, but will help the individual to arrange this.
Regarding charges. Unfortunately, although I am working to change this, most insurance companies do not pay for treatment of GDD. The majority of patients will have their diagnosis of GDD by entering through my Consultation service. They will not need to undergo further investigation for GDD at the Chapel Hill center prior to chelation. This will be a significant cost and time-savings. This only applies to GDD and not concurrent disease.
Typical charges are all-inclusive and are : $1000 for 2-day chelation. Because of the costs of operating in a clinic, these charges may also adjust, as these represent the lowest achievable at present. Blood tests may be extra. We will pause at the fifth, based on continued Gd removal and clinical status. Continued chelation will occur on a one session at a time basis. These numbers reflect the average at present , and charges may also be higher if more testing or work is needed. Confirmation of the presence of mobilizable Gd/GDD, by using Gd urine content and possible Flare development, are pre-chelation 24 hr urine Gd content and the first arm of chelation session # 1 with post-chelation 24 hr urine Gd content. Continuation of chelation using the same schedule and pricing as above can be carried on after the confirmation of the presence of GDD procedure, if so desired. The standard chelation duration and spacing between chelations are: each chelation takes approximately 2 hours, chelation is a two day process, spaced every three weeks (one week chelation, 2 weeks off).
GDD can be a serious disease. It is important to understand that there are no magic bullets for GDD. If your life is not significantly impacted upon by symptoms of GDD, the single action you may need is: never to get another GBCA injection again. Essentially 100% of patients experience a Flare reaction to DTPA chelation (Flare development is actually the definitive clinical finding that a person has GDD), and those with recent onset disease may experience a severe Flare. This is why we developed the FRAME regimen. We are focused on doing the very best to treat patients using the most current science-based information, with broad flexibility to include many medical and nutritional products. Despite this, perhaps atleast 1% of patients may be worse after optimized treatment. Negative outcomes though are present for treatment of all medical diseases, and this may compare favorably with all of them.