Lyme Disease Treatment

Antibiotic Treatment, Doxycycline, Amoxicillin, Cefuroxime Axetil, Lyme Disease Complications


Blacklegged Deer TickThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded several studies on the treatment of Lyme disease. These studies have shown that most patients can be cured with a few weeks of antibiotics, especially if treatment is begun early in the course of illness, taken by mouth.

Antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.

Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stages of the infection usually recover rapidly and completely. However, a small percentage of patients with Lyme disease have symptoms that last months to years after treatment with antibiotics.

These symptoms can include muscle and joint pains, arthritis, cognitive defects, sleep disturbance, or fatigue. The cause of these symptoms is not known. There is some evidence that they result from an autoimmune response, in which a person's immune system continues to respond even after the infection has been cleared.

A few patients, particularly those diagnosed with later stages of disease, may have persistent or recurrent symptoms. These patients may benefit from a second 4-week course of therapy. Longer courses of antibiotic treatment have not been shown to be beneficial and have been linked to serious complications, including death.

Studies of women infected during pregnancy have found that there are no negative effects on the fetus if the mother receives appropriate antibiotic treatment for her Lyme disease. In general, treatment for pregnant women is similar to that for non-pregnant persons, although certain antibiotics are not used because they may affect the fetus. If in doubt, discuss treatment options with your health care provider.



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