Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Be Cautious with Microdose Therapy Program
    maplewood234 posted:
    Hello, I wish to convey to you fellow sufferers about my experiences with Microdose Therapy from the Helens Foundation that claims to reduce pain for Arthritis, CFS, Fibromyalgia, back pain, migraines and even Parkinson's by using Hydrocortisone (Cortisol). You name the illness…they claim to "reduce it or eliminate it." Against the wishes from my RA & PC docs, who thought it was one of many ways to take advantage of chronic pain sufferers, I bit the hook of the promises to "arrest Fibromyalgia in 21 days" with a program where "patients averaged 77% relief." Desperate people in pain tend to do desperate things. Of course the people over the phone were very nice. They were also very happy to "get my check" of $7495.00 rather than my medical information.

    During the "Shower" dose, of 100 mgs of Hydrocortisone (Cortisol), I experienced adverse reactions such as swelling/feeling of fullness of the face, jaw, neck and armpits. I also had a sore throat & minor chest pain. The head face & jaw pain was elevated above the usual level which made it unbearable to be around anyone or do anything. What really concerned me the most was an overwhelming, dark crushing depression and an extreme level of fatigue to the point that I could barely get out of bed. I haven't experienced anything like that before. I barely had the strength do complete basis daily activities and take care of my mom. These reactions were far worse than I experienced with Prednisone. I was told Hydrocortisone was a more "natural" drug than Prednisone but my body could not tolerate it and the side effects were unbearable even when I tapered the dosage down 20mgs. So I discontinued the drug and went back on the Prednisone at a lower dosage (1/2 of 5mg). I should have listened to my doctors who discouraged me from entering the program. The docs told me that Hydrocortisone is really NO different from taking Prednisone. They are both Corticosteroids but Hydrocortisone has lower dosing levels than Prednisone. However, Prednisone is longer acting.

    In essence, it was a very expensive lesson for me to which the program cost me out of pocket $5545.00 out of $7495.00. They weren't concern with my reactions and wanted me to continue...probably to get the rest of the money. I paid $900 for Food Allergy Testing through the program which came from a Lab that mainly tests horses, dogs and cats. You can find a similar test for $400-500. I also had to pay $995 for a digital tracking system (a computer graphing program) that charted my daily fluctuating symptoms from 4 pages of pain diaries as "improvements" rather than recoveries from common flare-ups due to activities, storms & recovering from overdosing of Hydrocortisone. So there is how they get the "percentage of improvements" they claim to make. I didn't take a statistics class but I know there are false positive errors which factors can be misinterpreted. I lost a lot of money and I now regret entering the program. So be warned! You are either a predator or you are prey! I was a fool! Hydrocortisone (pill cortisol) in lower doses may work for you but please be very cautious about this program! You sign a contract and you will lose most of your money even if you can't tolerate the drug. You don't need to spend $7495! Just ask your doc to give it a try if you have problems with the Prednisone. Each Hydrocortisone tablet is 20mgs which is said to equal 20 mgs of Prednisone. In the Shower/loading stage, I started with 5 tablets (100mgs) for a week which caused me to flare up. I tapered to 3 tbs (60mgs) week 2; 1 ½ tbs (30mgs) for a week. I had to taper down early then stop the medication per doctor's orders. Eventually, you may find a minimal dose that will help reduce your pain and remain on it for the rest of your life. I hope this helps others from being preyed upon. When one is in pain, one tends to try everything and anything to help relieve their symptoms/pain. This program is very expensive for what your doc can do with you. Take care. Losing so much money just made me even sicker!
    ir345vin responded:
    The Helen Foundation is A-rated by the Better Business Bureau and does not respond to anonymous allegations. Microdose Therapytm is patient self-administration of cortisol with concurrent stress minimization for cortisol-responding disease control. It complies with the FDA-recommended indications, dosages and protocol for cortisol use. Cortisol is the principal hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Since 2000, the Helen Foundation has encouraged Microdose Therapytm use and assisted physicians by recommending dosages, educating patients for cortisol self-administration and measuring outcome. The response rate is 83%. The average symptom improvement is 75% (1,938 patients and two university studies). Success depends on quality patient education, dosage customization, administration timing and patient compliance. Participating physicians report no significant side effects.
    maplewood234 replied to ir345vin's response:
    I wish to relay a posting about Micodosing Therapy and the Helens Foundation. This post came from the WebMD Parkinson's Disease Community. I want to warn other chronic disease/pain sufferers so they don't get taken advantage of as I was and many others. "Three peoples experience with The Helen foundation at: One story there is by a person who was an employee and worked for a year with Dr. Stenberg (retired University of North Dakota chemistry professor), Ernesto Gallegos (car salesman), and Debbie Malone, the nurse who advises you while you are in the program and is an unlicensed nurse. Sorry, sounds like a very expensive and potentially life threatening lesson in how to lose $7500. Cortisol medication has a long list of bad side effects."
    maplewood234 replied to ir345vin's response:
    Now about the A-rating by the BBB. There have been a few complaints filed including mine which are shown to be "resolved." My complaint was not resolved! I don't think the others were either. The BBB really does nothing in regards to a complaint. You send in a complaint. They forward the complaint to the company/doctor. You get a response back & the case is closed! Nothing was "resolved." I did get a response back from Dr. Stenberg via the BBB but it was useless rambling about medication dosing. Again he was not concerned what so ever that the medication he was issuing via his clinic was actually harming the patient. He is not, not, not concerned about your health! THIS IS JUST A BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY OFF PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM CHRONIC ILLNESSES AND IN A LOT OF PAIN! I am sure there are a number of people who had similar issues with the Helens Foundation but were too sick and disgusted to write a complaint. I WAS SO SICKENED & DISGUSTED WITH MY EXPERIENCE OF THE HELENS FOUNDATION! It took a lot of energy and time to post my experiences in hope of warning others so they don't get taken advantage of as I was. I also wrote a customer review on the BBB site for the Helens Foundation. It was posted. I saw it & read it. THAT CUSTOMER REVIEW ON THE HELENS FOUNDATION HAS BEEN REMOVED! In fact, there are no reviews listed. That seems rather odd for a business which has been around for years. Yet, I am reading all sorts of complaints on other sites. I know my customer review was posted on the BBB because someone thanked me for my review which saved him the headache I had experienced. Another thing. I know there was another BBB complaint listed on the BBB website before I filed my complaint. It may have been from a Parkinson's patient of Dr. Stenberg. It too has been REMOVED FROM THE BBB WEBSITE! So do not believe what you read on the BBB website. I know for a fact that customer information about the Helens Foundation HAS BEEN REMOVED! A "A-rating" from the BBB essentially means NOTHING!
    maplewood234 replied to ir345vin's response:
    In regards to the so called "improvements" from microdose therapy, this is a fabrication! I had serious adverse reactions from the cortisol medication prescribed to me by the Helens Foundation and I was in a lot of pain due to the overdosing. Yet Dr. Stenberg claimed I had "18%, 21%, 7% & 32% rate of improvement." These figures came a week AFTER I STOPPED TAKING THE CORTISOL MICRODOSE THERAPY. Of course, I am going to have an "improvement" because I am OFF the drug he prescribed for me! Your numbers are FALSE! And so are his $995 colored graphs which we used to do in grammar school with crayons. Besides anyone with a chronic disease/pain knows that your symptoms & pain wax & wane. The waning times are NOT improvements. There is NO EDUCATION TO PATIENTS. All they care about are the darn diary numbers you have to record and phone/FAX/email in to Debbie Malone who is not a nurse. They do not care how you feel while you are taking the medication or how you are reacting to it. They just ask for the total scores so Dr. Stenberg can play on his computer with his computer color graphing program. That is it. Don't forget. I went through 3 weeks of this program. You ramble on about "improvements" and "1,938 patients and two university studies" but it is a bunch of baloney. As far as I see, there are 1,938 patients who have been taken advantage of by a predator. I don't understand how you can do this to people, people in pain, people with chronic diseases, people who essentially have no hope to be normal again, happy, healthy & pain free. You're just another kind of predator. I am going to do what I can to warn people about you and your foundation.

    Helpful Tips

    Dry eyes and dry mouthExpert
    Patients with RA may develop dryness of the eyes and mouth due to a condition called secondary Sjogrens Syndrome. The dryness is due to ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    41 of 48 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.