Lazarus pill – the magic spreads

2012-09-16 19:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Sienie Viljoen would have had no idea 13 years ago that by giving her comatose son a tablet to make him rest better, she’d be initiating a miracle treatment for patients with brain injuries.

City Press reported last month on the remarkable reawakening of Louis Viljoen, who stunned his mother when he emerged from a five-year coma after she gave him a Stilnox sleeping tablet.

After reading that report, Nomfundo Nqinana insisted that her husband’s sceptical doctors give him a tablet a day.

Five days later, he emerged from his seven-year coma, asking for his son.

Now it appears that the pill not only helps those with traumatic brain injuries, but other conditions as well.

A few weeks ago, City Press reported on Dr Cival Mills, who suffers from locked-in syndrome after a crippling brainstem stroke he suffered following a car accident.

He also read the report on the Lazarus pill and turned to Sienie Viljoen’s general practitioner, Dr Wally Nel, for advice on using Stilnox.

He was given half a tablet and after about 40 minutes, spoke for the first time in 11 years.

“Dis ‘n voorreg om te kan praat [It’s a privilege to be able to speak],” he said in a clear voice.

The pill is now helping Mills a great deal to become more focused and to enable him to work for longer without tiring as easily.

“We have long suspected that the pill could be effective for other brain-related conditions as well,” said Professor Ralf Clauss, a neurologist who ­lectured at Medunsa before ­emigrating to the UK.

Motor-neuron disease

He treated Louis Viljoen after he woke from his coma and, ­together with Nel, researched Stilnox’s effects on brain ­injuries.

Last week, Nel told City Press he has had remarkable success with a patient who suffers from motor-neuron disease.

Mossie Mostert was diagnosed with the same fatal disease as rugby star Joost van der Westhuizen.

Nel has been treating him with Stilnox for the last three months, and he is now more mobile and has his sense of humour back.

“Not only has taking the pill improved his condition, it also seems the degenerative effect of the condition has been halted. It is unheard of,” said Nel.

Clauss and Nel believe that the pill works by waking up dormant brain tissue.

Not all cells die off in an area where an injury occurs. Some cells become dormant and Stilnox somehow reactivates them, improving brain function.


“The pill works even decades after an injury”, says Clauss, adding that he and Nel have been studying the pill’s effects on patients with cerebral palsy with remarkable results.

Stilnox also appears to work on those with paralysis. Nel treated swimmer Ryk Neethling’s sister Elsje with the pill. She had childhood cancer and one of her legs was paralysed.

“She can now walk without crutches,” he says.

Another who read the City Press report was a paraplegic man from Pretoria North who can now move his legs slightly whenever he takes Stilnox.

Both Nel and Clauss warn, however, that much research still needs to be done on the pill’s effects.

Read more on:    stilnox  |  joost van der westhuizen  |  ryk neethling  |  johannesburg  |  health

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.