The main component of bee venom responsible for pain in vertebrates is the toxin melittin; histamine and other biogenic amines may also contribute to pain and itching. In one of the alternative medical uses of honey bee products, apitherapy, bee venom has been used to treat arthritis and other painful conditions. All currently available evidence supporting this practice is either anecdotal, animal studies, or preliminary evidence, most of which has poor methodology. While a preliminary, in-vitro proof of concept has demonstrated that isolated melittin may attenuate the infectivity of two specific HIV strains, apitherapy is not currently accepted as a viable medical treatment for any condition or disease; the risk of allergic reaction and anaphylaxis outweighs any benefits. According to the American Cancer Society, there is no scientific evidence that apitherapy or bee venom therapy can treat or change the course of cancer or any other disease. Clinical trials have shown that apitherapy is ineffective in treating multiple sclerosis or any other disease, and can cause a worsening in multiple sclerosis symptoms.
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