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The Pridgen Revolution? Dr. Pridgen on Bringing His Antiviral Approach to Fibromyalgia To Market

The Pridgen Revolution?

Almost three years ago, Dr. Pridgen threatened to turn the world of fibromyalgia treatment on its head. Few had connected fibromyalgia with viruses or even immune problems when Pridgen announced that a) FM is caused herpes simplex virus reactivation and b) that it could be treated with antivirals. Then he shocked a chronic fatigue syndrome community (ME/CFS) well acquainted with antivirals with his assertion that one antiviral drug was not enough.  (Pridgen believes the same process is going on in ME/CFS). Pridgen wasn’t done, though, instead of using the usual anti-herpes virus drugs he used an anti-inflammatory (Celebrex) that had antiviral properties as his second antiviral.

pridgen_skipPridgen was knocking down received wisdom at every turn. One would not have been remiss to think that he and his unusual protocol would, as other supposed cures have, disappear at some point, but he hasn’t.

Instead, touting his success with the drug combo, Pridgen embarked on the long and difficult task of bringing a new treatment to market. After joining up with a University of Alabama virologist, Dr. Carol Duffy, Pridgen formed a biotech company aptly named Innovative Med Concepts, hired an ex-Pfizer vice-president, put together a strong scientific board, raised the money for a Phase 2 trial, and embarked on toxicology testing.

The Phase II trial was successful enough for the drug combo to move forward. Then Innovate Med Concept got a break when FDA granted fast-track status to its IMC-1 formulation, allowing the drug combo to move forward as quickly as possible.  (Fast-track status is granted to serious diseases that have “substantial impact on day-to-day functioning.”)

Now comes the real work – raising money for some very, very expensive Phase 3 trials. It’s been about a year since we checked in. In an interview, I asked Pridgen how it was going.

The Pridgen Interview

The Phase II trial results were certainly quite good, but they weren’t spectacular.  How did the Phase II trial inform the Phase III trial and how will it be different?

We wanted to prove the concept first with a dose that we knew would be effective.  Additionally, we chose this lower dose, as it would allow us to begin without first performing the very expensive and time-consuming toxicology studies. We will be beginning the final 2 toxicology studies necessary to be Phase 3 ready, this month, and we expect to have these completed late this winter or in early spring 2017.

This was a year to prep for the big Phase III trials. How much money do you need to raise? Do you need to do one or two trials and how big does the trial or trials need to be? How much money do you need to raise?

Typically, two Phase 3 studies are required, the studies require 500-1000 patients per study, and these studies cost $25-50 million each.

One report suggested that some pharmaceutical companies have shown interest. Can you say anything about that?

drug-developmentWe have met with a dozen different pharmaceutical companies. All knew that we would be either forming a strategic partnership, or continuing the drug development ourselves once we near Phase 3 readiness. We will meet with these pharmaceutical companies to discuss a possible partnership at the upcoming JP Morgan meeting Jan 2017 in San Francisco.

We’ve seen a couple of high-profile Phase III trial failures recently. One may have been due to doctors misidentifying a side effect as something else and using a drug that interfered with the results. Another got excellent results in the Phase II trial but then didn’t meet its primary endpoint (but did meet some of its secondary endpoints) in the Phase III trial.  In another trial a very high placebo rate surfaced. What can you do to ensure that IMC-1 trial goes as well as possible?

We have actually been using a variant of this combination at my office for 2-3 years, so we are extremely confident in, not only its efficacy, but also know the combination is quite well tolerated and safe. Though providing the necessary optimal dose is incredibly time-consuming for the office staff, and complicated for the patients, we endure this hardship because of the dramatic improvement they experience.

Dr. Pridgen remains very, (very) confident in the effects of his protocol; he’s so confident that he anticipates raising the bar for the primary endpoint of his Phase 3 trials. Drugs have failed because they chose the wrong primary endpoint or too difficult of a primary endpoint, but Pridgen reports the study will use the most difficult primary endpoint to attain of any fibromyalgia trial to date:

Finally, because IMC-1 is so effective, we will use a primary endpoint that represents the highest bar ever used for any of the drugs previously studied for FM. We feel that this will negate to some degree the placebo effect.

We can see from studies and patient comments that the fibromyalgia population is pretty heterogeneous one. Some people do well on Lyrica – others do terribly. Low dose naltrexone works very well for some and others do poorly on it, etc., etc. The heterogeneity seen in the reactions to pain medications, in general, is pretty daunting. Is there any way you can target FM patients who are more likely to do well on the drug?

Again, Pridgen waxed confident in how efficacious this drug combination is. He believes his is the only protocol that gets at the source of fibromyalgia.

We believe IMC-1 is targeting the possible cause of fibromyalgia, not just modifying the body’s perception of pain.

Emedicine lists four antivirals (Famvir, Valtrex, Acyclovir, Penciclovir) used to treat herpes simplex infections. You’ve found that you need to add Celebrex to Famvir to get the best results in FM. Why do you think this is?

Penciclovir is not available in the PO form because it is not well absorbed, so it is a better topical agent.  Actually, Famvir turns into the active form, penciclovir, once it is acted on by human and viral enzymes. Celebrex is effective as an antiviral also. Herpes viruses are known to up-regulate the Cox-1 and Cox-2 enzymes to maximize viral activation. Though Celebrex (celecoxib) is known as a Cox-2 inhibitor, it actually has substantial Cox-1 inhibition.

viral-attack-cfsAre the herpes simplex infections harder in FM harder to get at than in other diseases? Do you need to reach into the central nervous system?

Essentially all adults have HSV-1, but we believe there is an immune defect in place in some patients, which results in an inability to force the virus into dormancy after an acute infection. In other words, patients with FM, have an ongoing HSV-1 infection, which we feel results in a chronic stress response. The meds can act centrally, however, the virus lives in the Trigeminal, and Nodose ganglia which are intracranial, but technically not in the CNS. The dorsal sacral root ganglia are the third major site (in the pelvis) where the virus resides.

Note: The herpes virus is known to hide out all three of these ganglia or cell bodies.

  • Trigeminal ganglia – is the largest and most complex of the 12 cranial nerves. The trigeminal ganglia provides sensations to the face and other parts of the head. It also sends signals that allow us to chew and even helps with balance. People with trigeminal neuralgia can experience high levels of pain when doing things like brushing their teeth or putting on makeup.
  • Nodose ganglia – are sensory ganglia or nerve cell bodies of the vagus nerve that are found near the top of the spine..
  • Dorsal sacral root ganglia – are associated with vertebrae in the pelvic area. The nerves emanating from them impact all areas of gut and pelvic functioning. In between bouts of genital herpes virus reactivation, the herpes simplex virus hides in these ganglia.

Like the other herpesviruses, almost everyone is infected with HSV-1, and when reactivated these infections can be pretty harmful. They’ve been shown to cause gastrointestinal and esophageal disorders, acute viral encephalitis, and approximately 25% of all genital herpes infections. Fibromyalgia is a bit different; it causes widespread pain, fatigue, sleep and sometimes mood problems as well as other symptoms- and is thought more of as a central nervous system disorder than anything else. Can you explain what the herpes simplex virus is doing differently in FM to cause this extraordinary range of symptoms?

The ongoing stress response affects nearly every system in the body. The immune response to this stress response over time affects sleep, mood, anxiety, thyroid, adrenal function, GI tract, HA’s and much more.

Dr. Duffy was reportedly writing up a paper on her gut findings. Can you tell us that the status of that is?

We have one last sample (of 60 total) to obtain to complete the study.

(At a conference Duffy was reported to find HSV-1 in 100% of FM gut biopsies and a protein found only in cells that are actively infected with HSV-1 in 80% of patients.)

With another year under your belt have you learned anything new treating FM using Famvir and Celebrex?

We have found that anything that was previously part of the functional somatic syndrome will improve on this treatment. At the risk of sounding like a snake oil salesman, we have patients who have chronic non-seasonal sinusitis, HA’s, brain fog, and even libido issues who swear by IMC-1.

Dosing – I also asked Dr. Pridgen about dosing information. He replied that the dosing information has to be proprietary right now. This is because pharmaceutical companies or other funding sources would not back a product composed of already approved drugs if the dosages were put in the public realm. Given the enormous costs of the Phase 3 trials, Pridgen’s drug combo would never make it to market without their backing.

That means FM patients will have to wait before Dr. Pridgen publicly reports on the appropriate dose. For many people this conversation is moot – their doctors would not prescribe antivirals now anyway. People seeing Dr. Pridgen or people seeing doctors in touch with Dr. Pridgen will obviously get the right doses.

If the trials are successful and the FDA approves the IMC-1 formulation everyone should be able to get a shot at these drugs.

Can you give us a timeline regarding the Phase III trial(s)?

They will start next year.


For more on Dr. Pridgen’s antiviral approach to fibromyalgia:

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  • Andrew

    October 18, 2016 at 1:25 am - Reply

    Given both drugs are currently already available, this would have to be mostly an exercise in creating new business ? I’ve given the combo a trial a couple of times. I’m not sure if I beleive the whole Herpes approach, even though it sounds feasible, but I think it might just work because they are both powerful pain killers ? My dynamic energy levels seemed to increase on the medication as well as my recovery times, but I think my stamina went down a little bit. Also there was some sort of neuroinhibition going on as well as I couldnt think as laterally as before. I find any sort of blunting of the mind seems to help with CFS. If you look at every medication that gets used to treat CFS they are all just numbing the brain in some way. As Dr. Cheney always said, treating CFS is about putting the dysfunctional brain on ice until something better comes along.

    • Cort Johnson

      October 18, 2016 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      Consider that if this treatment works it will never become readily available for the vast majority of FM patients unless it gets FDA approval. That’s true for any drug but it’s more true for this combo. How many rheumatologists or general practitioners, after all, think FM is caused by a virus? (1%?) On the other hand, if it passes muster at the FDA, however, every rheumatologist in the country will know about it and most FM patients will have a shot at it.

      Plus, Dr. Pridgen didn’t talk about the dosage but it’s my understanding that the dosage does not fit the standard formulations available.

      I have no idea about the pain-killing ability of herpesvirus drugs but if herpes viruses are turning the immune system on then knocking them down would reduce immune activation and likely result in pain reductions as well (since the immune system is probably involved in producing pain. )

    • Mrs. Moore

      October 22, 2016 at 3:45 am - Reply

      I was taking the regime Dr. Pridgen prescribed after a couple months I had 5 weeks without a bad flare-up. This was my first 5 weeks since I was diagnosed a year & 1/2 ago. The Rhuematologist wanted me to come off the meds. Two weeks later I had to go back on the meds because I started back having bad flare-ups daily. Dr. Pridgen helped me to have more good days. This is progress, expecially when you ache everyday. I Love Dr. Pridgen!!!
      Dr. Pridgen

    • Mika

      August 3, 2017 at 12:50 am - Reply

      even if the drugs might exist, doctors can’t prescribed for reasons other than approved.

      • PR

        January 4, 2018 at 10:38 pm - Reply

        That is not true. Drugs can legally be used off-label, and it is common practice in many areas of medicine in the US.

        • Diggs

          April 25, 2018 at 8:40 pm - Reply

          Unfortunately, this is not true. Whereas a doctor can prescribe something that has not been approved for a certain treatment, insurance companies will disapprove the drugs once it comes across their desk. They will just dis-approve covering the prescription based on the fact that the doctor is trying to use it for something and it has not been approved for. Therefore, the previous posters comment would be correct.

          • matt

            July 4, 2018 at 12:16 am -

            Yes but people can pay for it themselves and still receive the treatment, so the comment is inaccurate.

          • Mitty

            July 6, 2018 at 2:54 am -

            My insurance approved the meds. It’s only an anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. It’s been an absolute Godsend.

          • Pat R

            July 4, 2018 at 10:11 pm -

            No, the statement “doctors can’t prescribe for reasons other than approved” is patently false in the US. The fact that an insurance company might deny the claim (and I’ve seen many many cases where they did not) is an important but separate issue.

  • Deb

    October 18, 2016 at 2:16 am - Reply

    I started taking valcyclovir for shingles outbreaks a number of years ago. When I recovered last year from Lyrica withdrawal, I started taking the valcyclovir everyday along with vitamin d3 and other multivitamin supplements for my age group. This year in early spring I started feeling really good for the first time in ten years. It was more than just flare free. I felt good. I’m convinced it has something to do the anti viral and the vitamin d3. My osteoarthritis is starting up this fall but other fibro symptoms are minimal. I’m convinced Dr Pridgen is on the right track.

  • Philip Hayward

    October 18, 2016 at 3:12 am - Reply

    There is just a chance, I feel, that HSV flare-ups are one of many things that affect people with FM, but HSV still might not be “the cause” of everything else. The flare-ups in people with FM may be because they have FM (amd whjatever caused it), leading to the reduced immune system capability of keeping it suppressed and latent.

    Treating the HSV would probably cause an improvement regardless – but I would be interested to see whether the trials result in FM patients regarding themselves as “completely cured”.

    My own benchmark for “completely cured”, would be that my aerobic AND anaerobic exercise, and post-exercise recovery capabilities, including of muscle pain, were restored to a level comparable to one of my contemporaries who has not had FM and has stayed fit. I continue to progress towards this goal, following my multi-disciplinary protocol. I would be slightly disappointed if it turned out that anti-viral treatment would have cured me without all the other effort and expense.

    If latent HSV is part of my problem, I would say it has been retreating to latent status in the face of my overall improvement in condition. My immune system gaining capability, perhaps?

    I do think of all the treatments that work to some extent, as like extra pairs of hands on extra spokes of a capstan; several of them in combination, seem to bring about significant improvement for different people, even if the treatments combined, are different ones. Someone swears by guaifenesin, diet, and having a low-stress, enjoyable means of income. Someone else swears by paced exercise, myofascial release therapy, and yoga. Both improve. I would argue that using all six treatments would cause even faster improvement in both people. But only using one or two treatments, does not seem to be sufficient to cause progress towards “being cured”, although they may result in one suffering less pain than otherwise. Antivirals might well be another “help”.

    The folk who spiral down towards total debilitation simply aren’t making use of enough “helps” in combination. I spent two decades “trying things” one at a time. I think changing my career and using guaifenesin, for many years, made my existence more tolerable. But getting the pacing of exercise right, was the biggest boost overall. Also, there are plain wrong treatments that make you worse – muscle strengthening program was definitely a cause of worsening of my FM; and years of trying “exercise” (on and off) but doing it at too high an intensity for my threshold, was of mixed “benefit”. On the one hand it does keep the threshold up; but it is a source of post-exercise muscle tightening, stiffening, trigger point formation, and pain.

    • Cort Johnson

      October 18, 2016 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Phil

      You’re right that the protocol does not completely address the cause…Pridgen has stated that he believes that an immune defect is allowing the herpes virus to reactivate and that antiviral is necessary to keep the herpesviruses down.

      I would be slightly disappointed if it turned out that anti-viral treatment would have cured me without all the other effort and expense.

      That made me laugh. I would say congratulations on your progress and sometimes you take the longer road and sometimes you take the shorter road. At least you’re on the road 🙂

  • Deb

    October 18, 2016 at 3:35 am - Reply

    I have been a patient of Dr. Pridgen’s and on the IMC-1 regimen for 11 months. I have been prescribed lyrica, cymbalta, savella, LDN and a host of other treatments over the last 25 years with no success in treating fibromyalgia. While it has not been a quick fix, Dr. Pridgen’s IMC-1 has given me my life back and has successfully treated pain, fatigue and sleep issues at a nearly 100% level. The dosages of famvir and celebrex (as well as the other drugs that are part of this protocol) were adjusted several times in the last year to find the best levels for me. I have long suspected that there was an infective cause for fibro because I often felt like I was coming down with the flu, especially during flares. Dr. Pridgen is a doctor who listened to what his patients were telling him and took the incredible steps to prove them right. I believe that this protocol will be proven to be the piece that solves the fibromyalgia puzzle.

    • Cort Johnson

      October 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      Congratulations and thanks for sharing Deb. I’m not surprised that dosage adjustment is needed – which is why it’s best to see an experienced doctor.

      I hope that you’re right! I can’t think of a bigger shock to medical field than Pridgen will deliver to fibromyalgia if the protocol wins out. 🙂

    • Josh

      October 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm - Reply


      May I ask what your experience was with the protocol. How long did it take before you started feeling better? How long, would you say, was it until you started to return to ‘normal’ (100%)?

      • Deb

        October 21, 2016 at 8:51 pm - Reply

        My biggest issue was that I was having problems with cymbalta that weren’t completely clear until I was totally off of it. If I had to guess, I would guess it was 4 months or so before I started seeing results. At almost 12 months, I would say I am nearly 100% better (I still have occasional nights where getting or staying asleep are an issue.). Pain level is almost always 0, and when it is kicked up, tramadol now works (it did not before being on Pridgen’s regimen). Fatigue is 95% better, and getting better still because of an increased focus on getting re-conditioned by yoga and a core strengthening program. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the drugs need to be adjusted to fit the particular circumstances/symptoms of the patient! Dr. Pridgen does accept new patients, if you are able to travel. For me, it gave me my life back, so the travel was worth it.

  • Lynn-Z

    October 18, 2016 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Given both drugs are currently already available, this would have to be mostly an exercise in creating new business ?

    Andrew, I would agree with you observation.

    • Cort Johnson

      October 18, 2016 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Please see my answer to Andrew….The gist is that unless this drug combo gets FDA approval it will never – even if it works great – become available for most people with FM. It has to get approval for most FM patients to have the opportunity to try it.

  • Josh

    October 19, 2016 at 4:52 am - Reply

    I asked this a while ago & wonder if you’ve learned anything, Cort. Do Pridgen or Duffy think that HSV-1 igg tests might not be sensitive to these gut infections? That is, do people who show up positive on the gut biopsies but negative for the igg test?

    • Cort Johnson

      October 19, 2016 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      That/s a great question. I forgot to ask and will try and find out.

    • Cort Johnson

      October 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      Dr. Pridgen reported “We have found while 75-80 percent of the patients are IgG seropositive. 100% of GI biopsies are HSV-1 DNA positive.”

  • David

    October 20, 2016 at 3:10 am - Reply

    Over the years i have followed Dr Pridgeon and many other ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia researchers and doctors and specialist.I am so happy and amaised at the Knowledge and Wisdom that Dr Pridgeon posesses.I feel that he is so right about this disease and that its caused by the hearpes virus and that this coctail of medications will actually get to the root cause of Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS..I look forward to this treatment after suffering allmost 9 years now.Thank you Cort.

  • Clariza

    October 20, 2016 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you Dr. Pridgen. I have taken Cymbalta and Savella with no success. I have also tried Tramadol, Methocarbamol, Celebrex, Zoloft, Buprioprion, Ambien, Gapabentin, and Topamax. My Dr. was kind enough to be willing to try LDN, as proposed by the Stanford Medical Center and Dr. Montoya. I would love it if all us FM/ME patients had easier access to these innovative treatments. I have been suffering with both FM and ME/CFS for over 4 years. I did get an epidural at a nerve-pinch site on my spine and with the LDN, the pain has gotten manageable. I hope that Dr. Pridgen is on the right track.

  • Ken

    October 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    I was able to get my PCP to prescribe Celebrex and Famvir for me in the spring of 2015 (though I can’t recall the dosage). I felt better and as if I was on the mend for about 4-5 weeks, then I relapsed back into my normal CFS state. I discontinued after a total of 3 months. I just wonder if different dosage would’ve carried me on to complete remission. Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

    • Cort Johnson

      October 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      I wonder if you had a doctor more familiar with the protocol they would have been able to adjust it better. Dr. Pridgen does see patients but he’s in Alabama. I believe he will also consult with your doctor.

  • Laura

    October 21, 2016 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Hi, I first had migraines, then fibro symptoms and many years later got genital herpes, so I think I might see if my doc can switch me from acyclovir to Famvir and Nabumetone to Celebrex. I believe all three sites are probably affected (tmj/neck, ears/balance (thinned inner ear bone), head forward/neck pain, low back, pelvic floor, and especially tailbone pain/tension. I am also on Lyrica, cymbalta and wellbutrin for fibro/depression so will want to make sure those work well with Famvir and Celebrex. OTC allergy med (cetiriizine) and guaifenesin daily. Would like to get off some of these if your combo works! I too will probably need to figure out dose, etc. Thank you, LLL

  • judy

    October 22, 2016 at 12:19 am - Reply

    I am a fibro patient and have been for over 20 yrs. I have my family doctor who treats me as best he knows how. I have been on narcotic pain meds and muscle relaxers all these years. I also take neurontin and savella. I have other underlying problems also. I cannot find a doctor around me who will try to help me. They all say that i am on alot of meds. But they dont do anything. they say my doctor is doing all that can be done. I live in east tennessee and there are not alot of good doctors for special things around. I hurt all day everyday. I try to go on with life as best i can. But its hard when you just want to cry or scream most of the time. I really do wish i knew what to do to get to doctors that you are talking about on here. I really need help. Fibro took my life when i was 35. I am 59 now. And not in much better shape than then. I am thankful that all of you have found such help. Please say a prayer for me.

    • Cort Johnson

      October 22, 2016 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      When you can’t get medical help (or even when you can) one place to turn is to Toni Bernhard’s “How to Be Sick” – an excellent book on how to relieve stress when ill. Since we know that the stress causes distress and pain in FM, that book might be particularly apt for FM patients.

    • WM Pridgen MD

      October 23, 2016 at 1:29 am - Reply

      Why don’t you just come and see me. You are not that far away. Or get your Doc to reach out to me on your behalf.

      • judy

        October 23, 2016 at 7:21 pm - Reply

        Dr Pridgen. How do i go about having my DR reach out to you? i have nothing to show him. And as for coming to see you. We are on fixed income. Both have been disabled and dont have very much money left… And i also need to let you know that i live with a bipolar husband. We have been together 48 years. I have done my best to help him and stay with him. But the stress level has been tremendous. Now that he is older it has been some better. But when he does have episodes it is very trying. I am lost on what to do. Doctors have told me to leave. But i love my husband and i cant imagine being without him. So now if you have any suggestions?? Thank you

        • WM Pridgen MD

          October 25, 2016 at 1:05 am - Reply

          He and you can go to
          watch the 2 videos featured on the main page. Also go to and watch the video on the main page. Your Dr can reach out to me on
          Good look

          • Mitty Tressler

            February 3, 2018 at 11:45 am -

            Dr. Pridgen, I’ve read your replies and you are such a kind man. Thank you for the work you are doing. I will try to find your videos. I’ve been suffering from chronic fatigue for several years now and can sleep 18 hours a day and *never* feel refreshed. My doctor has even tried Modafinil. I don’t have apnea or anything else that would explain this. I’m female, 48 yrs, 135 lbs, eat relatively healthy. I used to play tennis, inline skate, swim laps… and now I rarely leave the house. I’ve listened to podcast after podcast searching for some sort of answer. On a side note: In my mid-twenties I starting having horrible problems with cystic acne (and I’ve been on two cycles of Accutane- which was grueling) and always felt like that was actually connected with herpes as well. It was so strange because I was one of the lucky teenagers that never had acne, and then suddenly I have acne cysts and boils all over my face and back? The cystic acne- it’s something that still flares up, but is kept in check with different topical medications. Thank you again. You have really given me hope. Mit Tressler

          • Cort Johnson

            February 6, 2018 at 6:02 pm -

            Good luck Mitty!

  • Aidan

    October 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    I do not see any Major results from this Research I think he is on the wrong track as any Cause otherwise we would here countless people who got well but we are not…Another wasted theory waste of time…

    • Cort Johnson

      October 23, 2016 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      I think we’re hearing some good progress from some people. Let’s see what the Phase III studies say.

    • Deb

      October 23, 2016 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      Aidan, the way that research works is sometimes very frustrating. There are very specific ways that the FDA requires researchers to test their new meds. This takes years to proceed through phase I, II, and III studies and an enormous, mind-boggling amount of money. All drugs tested don’t pass through to the end of the trials, which means that a great deal of effort and money are wasted. Dr. Pridgen’s protocol, as I understand it, is nearly ready to begin phase III trials. The drug is formulated and further studies to evaluate safety are underway. All of that being said, it will still be years before this specific drug regimen is ready for market, assuming it passes through the phase III trials successfully. “Major results” from his research are also months/years away and can’t be published until the phase III trials are complete and evaluated. Saying that he is on the wrong track is uninformed and ignores the patient results that Dr. Pridgen has seen in patients he treated in his own practice (I am one). He continues to accept new patients who are willing to follow his protocol, knowing that many of us have been sick for decades and have tried many different things to get well. He also willingly offers to speak with a patient’s physician who reaches out on the patient’s behalf without even seeing the patient. I understand the frustration of possibly yet another drug that is widely promised to “fix” fibromyalgia, but until Dr. Pridgen’s phase III trials are complete and published, I will continue to rest on my own experience with his protocol—which has done nothing short of giving me my life back after 25 years of pain, fatigue and lack of sleep.

      • Aidan

        October 24, 2016 at 3:05 pm - Reply

        I still do not believe in his theory plus the positive results were very small so I am not holding my breath on any Viral theory as any Cause especially HSV1 mentioned…Now NIAID just came out with a potential Cause a Genetic mutation duplication Tryptase & that would not point to antivirals…Nice theory but I doubt it will be any Cause HSV1

        • WM Pridgen MD

          October 25, 2016 at 1:12 am - Reply

          You aren’t the only skeptic. It is a unfortunate that you have such a dogmatic opinion. For the record, the phase 2 results were still better than Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella and that wasn’t even close to the dose we are going to use in the Phase 2 trial.Be a patient in the upcoming phase 3 and find out.

          • Karel

            April 20, 2017 at 12:04 am -

            Please Dr Pridgen, include me in any trials.. viral has been my thought too.. thanks,

        • Betty Mekdeci

          March 6, 2017 at 7:53 pm - Reply

          Aidan, I am on a version of the Pridgen protocol and am doing better in many aspects. .I was first diagnosed in 1984 and have been treated by several doctors with a number of different methods.Until 2016, I was a patient of Dr. Paul Cheney before he medically retired. Many of his treatments helped, but not to the extent of this one. Dr. Daniel Dantini in Palm Springs, Florida cured himself of CFS with antivirals. He wrote a book about this that is available on Amazon. I doubt that everyone in the CFS basket has the same illness, so it is natural that treatments work for some and not for others.

          • Linda

            June 5, 2017 at 2:41 am -

            Betty, Dr. Cheney did not retire. He is seeing patients again. May I ask how long you have had CFS? I’ve been sick 30 years and it doesn’t sound like anyone being treated by the Pridgen protocol has been sick a long time. Thanks. Linda

          • Betty

            June 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm -

            Hi Linda, I have been on and off the Pridgen protocol because I am somewhat concerned about the potential side effects of Celebrex and colchicine. I am now take the Cell Signaling Factors from Dr. Cheney again and some days I do a little of both.

          • Andrew

            June 20, 2017 at 4:10 am -

            Linda, i’ve had CFS for 30 years as well. I’ve been on pridgen protocol 4 times. I do agree that most people that recover from CFS (pridgen protocol or otherwise) seem to be short term sufferers. I think of the protocol as a (one of many) “treatment” as opposed to a cure.

  • judy

    October 23, 2016 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    I also want to thank you for your research. This makes alot of sence to me.

  • judy

    October 23, 2016 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    How do you go about getting in on the study. I would like to bein a study. i am ready to try almost anything.

    • WM Pridgen MD

      October 25, 2016 at 1:13 am - Reply

      Cort Johnson will of course let you know.

      • Karel

        April 19, 2017 at 11:56 pm - Reply

        Please Dr. Pridgen, include me with any trials.. viral has been my thought.. 17 years fibromyalgia..

  • Donna Hayden

    October 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I would like to thank Dr. Pridgen for his expertise within the field of fibromyalgia. Before being referred to Dr. Pridgen
    I was unable to sleep, use my hands normally or even able to walk without severe pain. I was at the point of not being able
    to work at all. I have been seeing Dr. Pridgen for approximately 5 years and without the medications he has prescribed
    my life would have been almost unbearable.

  • Fiona

    October 28, 2016 at 1:46 am - Reply

    I read about Dr Pridgen’s proposed protocol with interest. I have ME, not fibro, along with severe back pain. Years ago a specialist recommended Celebrex for the back pain, but I couldn’t take it because I’m allergic to sulfa drugs. Bummer!

  • DeborahRNBSN

    November 1, 2016 at 2:50 am - Reply

    I traveled to an office visit with
    Dr. Pridgen a month ago. It was a
    very positive experience. He tailor
    made a plan for me based on an
    assessment of my fibro symptoms
    with the latest treatments. I not
    only got on the antiviral/celebrex
    protocol, however I came out of
    there with some new ideas and
    meds that will make the journey
    on the Pridgen Protocol much more
    comfortable. The fact Dr. Pridgen’s
    plan is tailor made , the fact that I
    did not want to loose anything in
    communication, as well as the fact
    that I wanted to be steadfast- 6 mos
    on the antiviral/celebrex protocol,
    were all reasons that I made the trip
    there to see him in person and go
    to his office in Tuscaloosa for all
    the follow-up visits. The office visit
    with Dr. Pridgen proved beneficial
    and has caused me to have hope
    again in my 15 year struggle with
    severe fibromyalgia. Be sure to
    watch the 3 videos in Dr. Pridgen’s
    post above. They were helpful in
    making my decision to make the

    • Cort Johnson

      November 26, 2016 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing that 🙂

    • Lynn-Z

      February 14, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Debra, I will be looking forward to hearing about your progress in 6 months and wish you the best.

      One question I have is whether or not Dr. Pridgen accepts insurance or Medicare? This (combined with higher fees) has been and still is a factor for so many of us being able to get different opinions or to stay with a program long term. Thank you.

  • Susan

    November 4, 2016 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    I saw Dr. Pridgen this week and started his protocol. I have to say, only 4 days into it, I feel better than I have felt in four years!!!!! My flu like symptoms have vanished, my pain is greatly reduced, my skin has cleared up! I now remember what it feels like to be normal again, as I feel 70% there so far. Dr. Pridgen is my hero! I feel like dancing….:o)

  • Deboruth

    November 11, 2016 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Fiona, I recall reading references to herbal compounds that have effects similar to Celebrex in the Cox part. Maybe you could look into those and then an extra anti-viral Just a wild and crazy thought, but I’m allergic to Sulfa drugs also!

  • BP

    November 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    I would like to know about if an elderly patient (75yrs) already on other ARVs (HAART) and is already on Lyrica could have any further benefits from adding Celebrex only, or does it only work with famciclovir?

    Also, with Lyrica, how long does it take to start noticing significant reduction in symptoms of fibromyalgia?

  • Sarah

    November 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    I am now in complete remission from Fibromyalgia using a 6 month antiviral acyclovir treatment (confirmed with a viral panel) coupled with avoiding foods that were positive on my food sensitivity test and affecting my immune system. I went from bedridden at 34 to working full time, playing on a flag football team and I just ran my first 5k. Antiviral treatment gave me a life again! I now stay on top of my immune system to avoid relapse but I know I may need the treatment again one day if my immune system ever weakens and the dormant viruses resurface. I’m completely off ALL of my fibromyalgia medications and have been for over 6 months. Cort, I sent you my story via FB messenger but I can tell you more about the treatment if you’d like.

    • Lynn-Z

      February 14, 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Sarah, I was interested in hearing more about your program and wondered if Cort posted it? Perhaps I’ve missed it.

      I can give you my contact info if you would like to send it to me directly. Thanks for sharing some good news!

  • Teri Richardson

    November 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Is the research for fibromyalgia only,or is it for CFS/ME also? I’ve had CFS for 14 years,and live in Michigan.I was a patient of Dr.Lerner in 2008/2009.I can’t find a CFS doctor near me,could you possibly work with my primary physician?

    • Cort Johnson

      November 26, 2016 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      Dr. Pridgen believes the same issue applies for ME/CFS. Dr. Pridgen does consult with primary care physicians. I believe Dr. Pridgen is found in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

  • Ruth

    December 17, 2016 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    I have been on high dose Valaciclovir (3g per day) for the last 5 years. Whilst my ME and fibro are improved I still have regular flare ups and am still housebound. I wold LOVE to volunteer to take part in one of the trials -would that be possible?

  • Flopsy

    January 11, 2017 at 11:56 am - Reply

    I stumbled on a similar regime by coincidence when combining Celebrex for pain after a road traffic accident and Valtrex for a Herpes infection.

    I developed severe pain and FM type stiffness and tender points after the road traffic accident.

    Would Dr Pridgen have any theories or be happy to comment on how FM could be triggered (and then helped with a similar regime) after an accident involving being by by a motorcycle as a pedestrian and fractures / extensive bruising/ head injury?

    I’m trying to connect the accident to to HSV.

    • Valspal

      January 21, 2018 at 3:07 am - Reply

      Hi Flopsy

      I too had a car accident which started me on the road to FM. I have herpes and epsteinb barr virus. I believe these two are the cause and have been saying that for decades. It’s.possible that we already had the virus and compounded the healing process. I am interested in trying this

  • Laura

    January 15, 2017 at 9:41 am - Reply

    I am also very interested in taking part in the upcoming trial. I am based in central California. I have been on Lyrica for years and cannot get of of it without withdrawal symtoms. I am also on heavy pain meds. I have tried Savella as well as a wide variety of other drugs which were ineffective. I have had fibromyalgia since the 1980’s.

  • Rosanne

    March 27, 2017 at 3:15 am - Reply

    Hello there. Is Dr. Pridgen still taking new patients? I live in Iowa and I am willing to go to his office. Is it still possible to be included in the trials? I am in agony and am losing my ability to function, in all areas. Please feel free to email me. Thank you! ♡

  • Alison

    April 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    I too am interested in participating in the Phase III trial. I am NJ tho. I see the Phase II trials on were not held in NJ. Also it looks like you may still be recruiting?

  • Ed

    May 17, 2017 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Dr. Pridgen,
    My PCP and I were wondering how to go about reaching out to you?
    We found these studies and it resonates so much with how I feel.
    My PCP was wondering if you consult? If you would be able to speak to her on protocol via your studies on how to proceed/treatment?
    Looking forward to your response..

    • alison

      May 21, 2017 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      Ditto. I had commented this request a few months ago. It seems the only sensible approach.

  • Lynn-Z

    June 20, 2017 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Hi Cort – There have been several questions that have gone unanswered, especially for people that would like to know if the Phase III trial is still accepting patients. Are you still following this thread? Thanks!

    • Cort Johnson

      June 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Lynn-Z, the Phase III trial has not started yet; Pridgen is still apparently in the money gathering phase. I’ll do a blog stating how to sign up for it when it is. Any other questions?

      • Betty

        June 20, 2017 at 1:05 pm - Reply

        The combination of Celebrex and colchicine made me feel better from an energy standpoint, but eventually made my stomach hurt. I also am concerned about the possibility of serious side effects with both drugs. I don’t believe that we know what is causing CFS and until we do , we can’t treat it properly. The viruses and/or infections that are elevated in CFS are also those that elevate in immune suppression of any cause; i.e. chemotherapy, anti-rejection meds for transplants, HIV. The question is what is causing the immune suppression that allows the viruses and infections to reactivate.

        • Valspal

          January 21, 2018 at 3:12 am - Reply

          Yes I agree I think it’s my immune system being weakie low NK cells that keeps.the.virus activating. So.we need the antivirals and immune booster.

  • R. L. Jensen

    June 21, 2017 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Dear Cort / Dr Pridgen

    I am reading everything about this Fibromyalgia research with great interest!

    I have had chronic back pain and (what I only recently understood) numerous symptoms of fibromyalgia for more than 25 years alongside genital herpes outbreaks with an atypical healing process with an immune response leaving small scars.

    A few years ago I developed an uveitis and was tested positive for the HLAB27. The uveitis and the back and joint pain pointed towards Ankylosing Spondylitis, but the herpes-like scarring in combination with the uveitis points towards Behcet’s, which is extremely rare.

    My doctor suspects, that I do not have Herpes outbreaks, but some kind of autoimmune response going on. However, there is still a lot of mystery around my case. I do NOT show any damage on MR scans, and I have not raised levels of inflammation in blood tests etc. In some ways this could still fit into the Behcet’s diagnose, but we are not convinced..

    I could give you a long list of all symptoms I have, big and small, but it is easier to just say, that it simply just fits into all other descriptions of fibromyalgia, including the extreme tiredness and the forward head and extreme tension in the neck, IBS, fever flares etc etc..

    While reading almost everything about Behcet’s that I could find, I became aware that I have all symptoms of Fibromyalgia and that my pain is clearly linked to my Central Nervous System.

    Realizing that there is a link between the herpes virus and Fibromyalgia it felt like I was pointed back towards a virus and I am now almost convinced, that HSV1 is the main cause for my autoimmune problems, and that it perhaps only looks like Behcet’s. I will be seeing the leading specialists on autoimmune response mechanisms in a few months for extra tests (of HLAB51 among others).

    I live in Denmark. I am in ongoing contact with leading specialists in this field and my communication with them are very good. They have been quite confused about my situation and listen to what I have to say. My doctor has earlier discussed both anti depressants (small dosis) and systemic acyclovir, and I know that he will be OK with your approach to this matter, if I suggest that.

    Please let me know:

    1. What dosis to start out with, if I want to start Celebrex and Faciclovir?
    2. How can my doctors reach out for information?
    3. What I can do to create interest for your research and phase III trial in Europe?

    Thank you!

    • Cort Johnson

      June 23, 2017 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Hi R. L. I think your doctor would have to directly contact Dr. Pridgen. The good news is that Dr. Pridgen is very amenable to such consultations. Good luck!

  • Kim

    June 26, 2017 at 5:37 am - Reply

    Dr. Pridgen, I have 100% confidence in your theory and treatment. I have been so sick for 20 years with fibromyalgia/CFS. None of the other treatments my rheumatologist have prescribed for me as been of “any” benefit to me. Is there any way I could try your treatment. I am a single mother of a 19 year old who has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and I need to be better so I can better help him, too. He has never been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, mainly because no one will listen to me about his symptoms. I’m almost sure he also has fibromyalgia. To tell you the truth, I feel like he may have some sort of virus that is possibly exhibiting as Asperger’s, and with the PTSD he has. I did talk his family doctor into testing him for mononucleosis, and his labs indicated that he had, had it at some time. You may not be interested in getting into all that if my son may or may not have fibro/CFS; but if you could even just help me, I would be so grateful. Thank you.

  • Kristen

    September 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    I have never been diagnosed with FM, but my physical therapist suggested that I make an appointment with Dr. Pridgen. I have been on disability since 2008, due to chronic, relentless pain. I also suffer with gastritis, insomnia, allergic rhinitis throughout the year, brain fog, chronic headaches, chronic fatigue, major depression disorder, osteoarthritis & severe muscle pain with trigger points. I have tried chiropractic care, dry needling, acupuncture, Invisalign, Botox treatments, cervical blocks, facet injections, RFA, Cervical Fusion with discectomy at two levels, trigger point injections every three months, too many medications to list & several different MD’s. I have an appointment with Dr. Pridgen on October 2nd. I’m a bit nervous about telling my story to another doctor, but excited to meet him at the same time.

  • Kristen

    September 18, 2017 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    I have never been diagnosed with FM, but my physical therapist suggested that I make an appointment with Dr. Pridgen. I have been on disability since 2008 due to chronic, relentless pain. I also suffer with gastritis, MDD, insomnia, allergic rhinitis year round, brain fog, chronic headaches & fatigue, osteoarthritis & severe muscle pain with trigger points. i have tried chiropractic care, dry needling, acupuncture, Invisalign, Botox treatments, cervical blocks & facet injections, RFA, Cervical fusions with discectomies, trigger point injections every three months, too many medications to list & several MD’s over the years. I have an appointment with Dr. Pridgen on October 2nd. While I’m nervous about telling my story to another physician, I’m also excited about meeting him. I want to go back to work, I loved my job. I want to be a more active parent, wife, daughter, etc. I’m hopeful that he will be able to help me reach these goals & enjoy life again.

  • Ermias

    September 29, 2017 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Hi Dr. Pridgen,

    I was diagnosed with FM about three years ago and tried Cymbalta and Lyrica but didn’t help.

    I live in Atlanta and I would like to come and visit you.

    How do I contact your office?


    • Cort Johnson

      October 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      If you look up Dr. Pridgen on the internet you’ll find his office in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

  • Sandra Hale

    January 10, 2018 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    My pharmacist told me about this revolution , yesterday. Since ive had a diagnosis of Fibromyalsia, ive had bouts of dermal breakouts . They start out as tiny bumps that erump to leave leisions. I finallly convinced my Dr. to swab them …yep..Herpes/Shingles virus. I could go on …i wont. I know this Dr. Is on the right track . i never had any type of skin breakouts before . Not even Acne as a teenager but, yes Chicken Pox as a young child…i have suspected that Fibro has to be connected to The Pox virus..Lord, i pray this treatment regimune holds true to a cure for those of us who suffer every day and have felt as if to be wandering in the wilderness with no answers for all these years. Thank you so much, Dr.Pridgen!!!! God speed

  • Dr Peter Bond

    February 3, 2018 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    About 30 years ago, I was holidaying with the caravan in Switzerland. I developed hepatitis, but drove home with no problems. Over a few months, I improved gradually, but then noticed a cold sore and that led to my thinking that HSV could be the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). I developed a new method for measuring viruses and learning a method to measure the activity of HSV. At this point, I was made redundant, almost certainly because of my interest in a viral cause for CFS. I have spent many years up to the present day pursuing. my interest in HSV, all without a salary! I now realise that there are many more diseases caused, directly or indirectly by HSV. I also realised some 20 years ago, that more was required than just an antiviral to treat these diseases. I have found a number of drugs,which, when combined with an anti-viral, should provide an effective treatment for conditions caused by HSV. I would be pleased to cooperate in moving my ideas forward, to our mutual benefit. .

  • Michelle

    May 2, 2018 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Very interested my partner has fm nothing seems to work any idea when this will be availability in the UK

    • Cort Johnson

      May 3, 2018 at 7:58 pm - Reply

      Hopefully Pridgen will get his phase III studies going this year.

  • SJ

    June 25, 2018 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Two years ago after falling over on a European trip to London on Piccadilly Circus, with severe vertigo that sent me passed out & covered in vomit to the ER, I sadly never fully recovered. This was the beginnings of my CFS/fibro/ME journey. I returned to CA bedbound, crippled with back & neck pain, lost 1/4 of my body weight, most of my hair, tinitus so loud I couldn’t think straight and crippling anxiety.
    My docs performed every test under the sun & found nothing, including MRI’s, blood, urine, stool, CAT scans….zilch. I had gone from a super fit & healthy 40 yo woman to a bed ridden mess. After suffering for 8 traumatic months and in desperation I saw a naturopath who muscle tested me…my body had a intense reaction to two hepes viruses: EBV and HSV1. Armed with this info I had my docs re-blood test me, and voila they did show up, but as being latent. Mmmmm interested, desperate for more answers and mobile again, I went to two further respected natropaths, both muscle tested me & found the same EBV reactivation along with HSV1 and now strep, causing acne, IBS, swollen eyelids/ face & crazy eye floaters.
    One of them recommended the book ‘ Secrets Behind Chronic & Mystery Illnesses’ by Anthony Williams. Reading it was like a checklist of over 15 issues I had suffered with for over 20 years- truly an eye opener. How Anthony recieved his information was difficult to swallow for a rationalist like me, however the facts were the facts. Plus his protocol started to work!

    Dr Pridgen is 100% accurate in his findings that chronic illnesses are caused by reactivations of the herpes family viruses, as is Anthony Williams.

    Now if the two of them were to work together to bridge the medical & natural fields, millions of sufferers will be helped to regain their lives:)

    Both of them deserve recognition for their endless research & work for these frighteningly common and darkly disabling conditions.

  • raden adams

    October 10, 2018 at 3:33 am - Reply

    I live about an hour away and have had severe me/cfs for 20 years now and have been almost entirely bedridden and housebound, rarely leaving my bedroom when I can get up for the entire 20 years. I did improved some in my 18th year but I have regressed a little but I do not have all of the worst of the symptoms that I have suffered from or they eased up a little. Still, I have no life living in my bed and I had to move in with my grandmother years ago just so I would have a place to live. I am 56 and she is almost 99 years old which means that she will die soon and since I will not be able to afford to live in the large of a house, I will have to move. I have no other living family member or relative and so I will be on my own, disabled and currently, I am simply helpless to do anything about it. This and other uncertainties about my future really do concern me greatly these days so I think that I may come for a consultation if I can afford it because I am tired of living in my bed and I also would like very much to improve just enough to be able to be more in control of my future or at least feel well enough to deal with the challenges of being homeless and poor because I live on SSI and that is not enough for anyone to l live on so I need to be ready for these new challenges that will soon come my way. I do not expect to improve enough to work or anything but a more positive attitude would help me to accept things as they are at that time and place and I could continue the fight instead of spiraling downward into the abyss or hopelessness. This sounds promising and I will happily try his treatment protocol if I am able to afford it. I have read and researched countless studies and articles about me/cfs that I have read and I do remember seeing another doctor or two that also believed that the herpes viruses were the main culprit and so I this is not completel foriegn to me.

    • Cort Johnson

      November 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      Good luck Raden. His protocol can be rather cheaply followed. In my case less than a $100 a month

  • sodapop

    April 24, 2019 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Hello everyone I know Dr. Pridgen is in Alabama can you see him if you are from out of state….. I have full insurance coverage but do not live in the state of Alabama…… Thank you All the best

  • Suzanne

    April 5, 2020 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    Hi everyone, I literally just started the protocol with Dr. Pridgen, I live in San Diego and flew there because I had given up hope on every treatment!! I wanted to address those that have said they have sulfa allergies, I also have sulfa allergies but am not reacting to the Celebrex at all. I did have severe hives with Lyrica, so I would say to those that have sulfa allergies to please not worry! I’m waiting hopefully to start seeing the benefits of the protocol. They didn’t accept my insurance (I live in another state) but the fee he charged was small I laughed when they said the amount!!! I guess I’m used to California pricing!!!

    • Cort Johnson

      April 28, 2020 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Good luck!