Italian Scientist uses Arsenical Compounds for the Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
by Alan Cocchetto 2001

A doctor and researcher, from Italy, is using arsenical compounds in the treatment of animals and humans with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Dr. Walter Tarello, a veterinary surgeon from Perugia, has now reported his use of arsenical drugs for combating CFS. Dr. Tarello, who has several publications on CFS in various animal populations [1-3] has reported on an emerging problem in veterinary medicine - one that was reported from England that suggested that CFS exists in the animal population and that preliminary epidemiological studies seem to confirm the zoonotic implications of CFS

Such a zoonosis suggests transmissibility from animals to humans!  Dr. Tarello has isolated unique staphylococcal infections in dogs, cats, horses, birds, and humans. The blood cultures proved staph-positive strains that were identified as Staph Xilosus and Staph Intermedius. These staph infections were found to be vancomycin-resistant strains, a finding that helps define their severity! The presence of micrococci-like organisms in the blood was of common observation among these subjects. 

Dr. Tarello, who holds a world patent on this finding [4], has utilized low dosage arsenical drugs for patients (animals and humans alike). Animals received thiacetarsamide sodium (Caparsolate) and obtained complete remission and subsequent recovery from their symptoms. Tests identified improvements from anemia, muscle enzymes, and red blood cell parameters. 

I corresponded with Dr. Tarello and he forwarded me the preprint of one of his latest publications [5]. In humans, he has used low dose potassium arsenite or as indicated in his world patent, arsenic trioxide - a drug used in the treatment of leukemia and other cancers.

According to a recent publication on the accepted use of arsenic trioxide [6]:

Arsenic has been used therapeutically for more than 2,400 years. Thomas Fowler's potassium bicarbonate-based solution of arsenic trioxide was used empirically to treat a variety of disorders, and in 1878, was reported to reduce white blood cell counts. Salvarsan, an organic arsenical for treating syphilis and trypanosomiasis, was developed in 1910 by Paul Ehrlich. In the 1930's, arsenic was reported to be effective in chronic myelogenous leukemia. After a decline in the use of arsenic during the mid-20th century, reports from China described a high proportion of hematologic responses in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) who were treated with arsenic trioxide. Randomized clinical trials in the U.S. led to FDA approval of arsenic trioxide for relapsed or refractory APL in September 2000.

Current medical literature [7] suggests that the mechanisms of action of arsenic derivatives are many and include the induction of apoptosis, partial cytodifferentiation, inhibition of proliferation, and inhibition of angiogenesis.   Molecular studies and ongoing clinical trials suggest that, as a chemotherapeutic agent, arsenic trioxide shows great promise in the treatment of malignant disease.  I have also corresponded and spoken with two individuals who have undergone arsenical treatment. One is substantially better while the second recently completed therapy and felt "metabolically better."

At this time, scientists from Denmark are treating patients using Dr. Tarello's protocol.  Time will tell if arsenical compounds can be successfully applied to patients with CFS, however, this has already proven to be a fascinating medical finding!


[1] Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Horses: Diagnosis and Treatment of 4 Cases; Tarello, W;
Comparative Immunology, Microbiology, and Infectious Diseases, 2000 (23:4)

[2] Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in 15 Dogs and Cats with Specific Biochemical and
Microbiological Anomalies; Tarello, W; Comparative Immunology, Microbiology, and
Infectious Diseases
, 2001 (24:3)

[3] Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Associated with Staphylococcus
SPP. Bacteraemia Responsive to Thiacetarsamide Sodium in Eight Birds of Prey;
Tarello, W; J. of Veterinary Medicine 2001; (48,4): 267-281

[4] Arsenic Medicaments for the Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Tarello, W.,
inventor; World Patent WO9501789 issued 1/19/95

[5] Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Associated with Staphylococcus SPP. Bacteremia,
Responsive to Potassium Arsenite 0.5% in a Veterinary Surgeon and His Coworking
Wife, Handling with CFS Animal Cases; Tarello, W; In-press

[6] Introduction: The History of Arsenic Trioxide in Cancer Therapy; Antman, KH;
The Oncologist 2001; 6(Suppl 2):1-2

[7] History of the Development of Arsenic Derivatives in Cancer Therapy; Waxman S,
Anderson KC; The Oncologist 2001; 6(Suppl 2):3-10

[The National CFIDS Foundation has funded in-vitro testing of arsenic trioxide.  We hope to be able to report results to you in a future Forum.]

The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606