Robin Schrader, a 59-year-old with multiple myeloma and light chain restricted amyloidosis involving her heart (a disease where immature protein gets deposited into organs, like a super glue, preventing them from working properly) has been given her life back thanks to a very common drug used for a very uncommon purpose. For the past two years, Robin has struggled with swelling, shortness of breath and what was diagnosed as a “large heart.” Her symptom continued to worsen and in 2014 she was diagnosed with cardiac amyloid (5-year survival rate of 10%-40%). 

Despite undergoing treatment with CyBorD chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant, the condition reappeared just one month later. The medications continued to greatly diminish her quality of life. She had plans to hike, fish, ride bikes and travel the states with her husband (in their newly purchased RV) however with her condition she couldn’t walk more than 50 feet before being out of breath.

In December 2015, The American Society of Hematology presented a study showing that doxycycline, a common antibiotic (often used to treat acne!), taken in combination with standard amyloidosis treatment, could improve survival in stage III cardiac light chain amyloidosis.

Robin’s 5-year survival rate went from 10%-40% to 95%! Within a week, the swelling was reduced, she cut her heart medication in half, the dizzy spells diminished and she could walk for 3 miles. For the first time in years, she is planning the rest of her life, starting with paddle boarding this summer!

Watch Robin's story on CBS4: