Insulin potentiation therapy (IPT) is a form of cancer treatment that uses low doses of chemotherapy. Its practitioners believe that insulin helps to open up receptors in the body, thus enabling chemotherapy to be absorbed more readily. This is why a smaller amount of chemotherapy is used for IPT. There have not been studies which support the use of IPT and some doctors believe it can have serious side effects. The process is also known as low-dose chemotherapy.
A typical round of insulin potentiation therapy will last from 12 to 18 weeks. Sessions are usually at least two times a week. Patients are typically given other vitamins and perhaps chemotherapy pills to be taken between treatments. Sessions typically take place at a clinic, though the administering doctor may not be an oncologist.
The process of insulin potentiation therapy begins with an intravenous (IV) injection of insulin. This is supposed to open up the cells to make them more receptive to chemotherapy drugs. Then the chemotherapy is administered.
Once the injections are complete, the patient will likely begin to react to the low blood sugar brought on by the insulin. For this reason, the next step of insulin potentiation therapy is usually to return the patient’s blood sugar to normal. Typically the patient is given a high-sugar IV injection and then a little food. The reaction to low blood sugar is often particularly intense the first time the treatment is administered.
There are several possible side effects associated with insulin potentiation therapy. Some of the most common are the result of low blood sugar, such as a fast heartbeat, shakiness, and weakness. More serious effects of low blood sugar include brain damage, seizures, and possibly death if sugar levels are not promptly returned to normal. Some patients may also have an allergic reaction to the insulin, which can cause a rash, breathing problems, or low blood pressure.
Patients who are already taking insulin for diabetes or who use beta-blocker drugs may be at a high risk for side effects from the therapy. Lowering blood sugar can be particularly dangerous and even deadly for people who have diabetes. For this reason, using insulin to take blood sugar below normal levels is usually not approved by government health agencies.
Insulin potentiation therapy has also been used to treat other diseases, either on its own or along with other kinds of treatments. It has reportedly been a part of the treatment for cases of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. IPT has also been used for infections.