Dr. Revici developed successful treatments for heroin and alcohol addiction. His detoxification agent for heroin addicts, called Perse, was almost chosen over methadone as the nation's treatment of choice. Perse, which incorporated selenium in a lipid base, physically detoxified addicts within five to eight days. At the request of Congress, Revici presented over 2,000 case histories of successful uses of this nontoxic and nonaddictive agent. The idea for Perse had arisen from Revici's cancer practice after he observed that patients previously on addictive narcotic analgesics exhibited no withdrawal symptoms when placed on his lipid analgesics.
At a 1971 congressional subcommittee hearing that took testimony about Perse for a full day, Congressman Charles Rangel of New York said, "The results and what we witnessed with patients was so unbelievable that the doctor from Municipal Hospital has now gone back on a daily basis in order to continue with this chance to see the miraculous results that have taken place."
Barron's ran a full-page feature on Revici's treatments for narcotic and alcohol addiction in 1972. Both Congress and the FDA promised Dr. Revici full support for large-scale clinical testing, signaling that Perse could be the most important breakthrough in drug treatment. Because selenium is normally toxic in high doses, Revici reformulated the medication to eliminate it. The new substance, called Bionar, worked just as well-in the same amount of time, with no withdrawal symptoms. (The selenium incorporated in Perse was a bivalent-negative form, very active and virtually nontoxic.)
The stage seemed set for a major advance in the war on drugs. But less than one month after the congressional hearing, the FDA reversed its position and recommended methadone, an addictive and toxic drug, as the treatment of choice. Why?
One possible answer is provided by Marcus Cohen, who helped coordinate the campaign to save Revici's license. He suggests, "Hospitalization was required for treatment with Perse, and because many of the patients were poor, Medicaid was asked to pick up the tab. As in the case of most drug addicts, they presented with other conditions besides addiction which needed medical attention.... Methadone, addicting in itself, nevertheless was favored by State and City officials as a means of controlling the mostly black and Hispanic drug population.... The drug companies and health care professionals that profited from exclusive use of methadone did not welcome competition, least of all from a treatment which did not cause a lifelong dependency."8
Dr. Revici's nontoxic treatment for AIDS applies his findings on the antiviral and immune-enhancing properties of certain lipids. He views AIDS as a "quadruple pathological condition," consisting of:
1. a primary viral infection, inducing
2. a deficiency in the body's natural lipidic defense, followed by
3. secondary opportunistic infections or specific neoplasms (cancers)
due to the lack of certain lipids, resulting in
4. an exaggerated imbalance, usually catabolic.
Each of the four conditions is addressed with a specific therapeutic approach. Antiviral agents are given to inactivate, or kill, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). To counteract the patient's nonspecific loss of defense against opportunistic infections, Dr. Revici administers, via injection, a group of phospholipids that he calls refractoriness lipids. These compounds appear to induce a generalized resistance (refractoriness) toward many different antigens. The doctor claims impressive results with these preparations in the clinical manifestations of AIDS and AIDS Related Complex (ARC). Antibiotics are also given to combat the secondary opportunistic infections. To redress bodily imbalances, the appropriate anticatabolic or antianabolic agents are used.