Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions related to integrative cancer treatment, mistletoe therapy and our remedies. Please contact your attending healthcare professional for questions about your individual therapy or use our practice locator to find a clinic or specialist in your area.

General questions

Who can prescribe mistletoe preparations?

In Switzerland, only a medical professional can prescribe mistletoe preparations. In Germany, alternative practitioners are also allowed to prescribe and use mistletoe therapy. It is important to see mistletoe therapy as a part of an integrative approach to cancer therapy. Therefore, it is always used additionally to conventional oncological treatment and not as a replacement or alternative to oncological therapies.

What are the differences between the mistletoe preparations produced by the various pharmaceutical manufacturers?

As the manufacturers use different pharmaceutical processes, their products vary in regard to their composition. As a result, the mistletoe preparations of two different producers cannot be considered equal. When switching from one product to that of another manufacturer, you must start therapy over from the very beginning.

Why do you produce mistletoe preparations from different host trees?

The host tree supplies the mistletoes with nutrients. This results in a different combination of active substances in the mistletoe, depending on the tree it grows on. Mistletoe extracts from different host trees are used to achieve an optimal effect with the highest tolerability possible, depending on the type of tumour.

How important is mistletoe therapy in the concept of integrative oncology?

Die Misteltherapie ist ein wesentlicher Bestandteil der ganzheitlichen, auch integrativ genannten, Krebstherapie und versteht sich als Ergänzung zur schulmedizinischen Behandlung. Operationen, Chemo-, Strahlen- und/oder (Anti)-Hormontherapien und Targeted Therapies sind etablierte Standardmethoden bei Krebserkrankungen, die durch zusätzliche Massnahmen wie die Misteltherapie sinnvoll ergänzt werden können. Ziel der Misteltherapie ist es in erster Linie, den Allgemeinzustand und die Lebensqualität des Patienten zu verbessern.

Application

Are there any interactions with other therapies or drugs?

Bisher sind keine Wechselwirkungen zwischen Mistelpräparaten und den gängigen schulmedizinischen Therapien bekannt. In Laborversuchen an Krebszellen und in der klinischen Anwendung konnte bei den üblichen Chemo- und (Anti)-Hormontherapeutika sowie bei Antikörpertherapien und den meisten Targeted Therapies keine Beeinträchtigung der Wirksamkeit durch die Misteltherapie festgestellt werden. Eine Misteltherapie kann somit auch während dieser Therapien durchgeführt werden.

How do I store mistletoe preparations?

Since herbal remedies can be sensitive to temperature changes, you should store them in the refrigerator at 2°C to 8°C. For transport (from the pharmacy to your home or during holidays), it is possible to interrupt the cooling cycle for a short period of time, provided the total duration is less than 8 days and the temperature does not drop below 2 °C or rise above 30 °C.

What are the characteristics of an effective dosage?

A possible local reaction is a reddening of the skin (also accompanied by local hardening, swelling, itching/local discomfort, and/or local warming of the skin) up to a maximum of 5 cm in diameter around the puncture site, or an increase in body temperature up to 38°C. The local reactions can increase with dosage, but may also weaken or even disappear during long-term mistletoe therapy. Furthermore, the general condition can improve, which you may notice in increasing appetite and weight as well as normalising sleep patterns and a sensation of warmth.

For how long is mistletoe therapy applied?

It takes as long as the tumour disease persists. In addition, studies have shown that the therapy should be continued depending on the risk of recurrence (relapse risk). In most cases, this means for about five years starting from the time of diagnosis or after surgery, or even longer (e.g. breast or colon carcinoma). Regularly discuss the treatment with your attending medical specialist.

How often should I inject mistletoe preparations?

Generally, mistletoe preparations are injected two to three times a week. Only the attending medical specialist may adjust the plan if necessary. Particularly during the first months of treatment, an injection rhythm of three times a week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday) has shown to be beneficial.

Which needle/cannula and which syringe should I use for injection?

We recommend a cannula of 0.4 x 19 mm and a 2 ml syringe. Please carry out the first injection under the guidance of your attending medical specialist and ask him/her again whenever you may feel insecure.

How are mistletoe preparations administered?

Mistletoe preparations are injected under the skin (subcutaneous), since in case of oral application in the form of drops, the protein compounds would be digested during passage of the gastrointestinal tract. The injection is similar to the injection of insulin and you can apply it yourself after a thorough instruction by your medical specialist.

When should I start mistletoe therapy?

It is possible to start at different points in a treatment plan and at different stages of the disease. Generally speaking: the earlier you begin, the better the effect. In consultation with your treating medical specialist, mistletoe therapy should start as soon as possible after the diagnosis.

Side effects

How can I differentiate local reactions from side effects?

A slight reddening and possible itching or localized discomfort at the injection site as well as a slight increase in body temperature are expected reactions. They indicate the activation of the immune system. Local redness at the subcutaneous injection site up to a maximum of 5 cm in diameter and a temperature increase to 38°C are considered “normal”. However, if the reactions exceed these values or you do not tolerate them, it is considered a side effect. In this case, stop the therapy and consult your attending medical specialist. Most likely, the dose needs to be adjusted and therapy can recommence once the symptoms have subsided.

Are there any side effects?

It is possible for side effects to appear. However, significant adverse effects have rarely been observed under correct use and handling. If the dosage is too high, so-called excessive local reactions with a diameter of more than 5 cm are possible. In this case, you should stop the treatment and consult your attending medical specialist. Only after the symptoms have subsided, you may continue with a reduced dose (next lower concentration). The same applies to strong general reactions such as an increase in body temperature over 38°C. In this case, you should review the therapy plan with your specialist in charge.