Kim, who has administered apitherapy to 3,000 people, published a two-year study on 108 rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patients who had not responded to convention treatments. Starting with twice-weekly injections, he gradually increased the number of shots until the patients improved significantly. Most subjects showed improvement after an average of 12 injections.
In his article -- printed in the March 1989 issue of the German journal, Rheumatologie -- Kim concluded that apitherapy was safe, effective, and free of serious side effects.
But evaluations of most U.S. medical treatments are based on double-blind studies -- where neither the subject nor researcher knows who is getting the real medicine or a placebo. Most reports about bee venom therapy are anecdotal. Even those studies looking at more than one patient, such as Kim's, have not included a placebo group for comparison.
"It's very difficult to find a placebo substance that will mimic a bee venom injection or sting with its itching, redness, and swelling," says Kim.