For those with chronic Lyme disease, long-term antibiotic treatment is not the answer

Treating patients with chronic Lyme disease with a long-term antibiotic proved no more successful in eliminating symptoms than a placebo, according to a new randomized trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Most patients infected with Lyme disease will be alleviated of symptoms after one round of antibiotics. Physicians remain confused about treatment for individuals whose symptoms persist, affecting the heart, joints and nervous system.

For the trial, researchers monitored 280 patients previously diagnosed with Lyme disease and suffering continual symptoms. All participants were administered the antibiotic ceftriaxone daily for two weeks. Then the patients were split into three groups for the course of the 12-week trial — one group received an oral course of the antibiotic doxycycline, another received an antibiotic combo of clarithromycin and hydroxychloroquine and the last group was given placebos. Neither the patients nor physicians knew which medication was being given to which patients.

Researchers monitored the participant's symptoms, fitness levels and well-being. Memory tests were also administered to assess potential improvement to concentration problems caused by the condition. Ultimately, the results of the study showed long-term antibiotic treatments were no more effective at combating symptoms than short-term treatment.

While the researchers did not identify any benefit of long-term antibiotic therapy, the question of whether a 2-week regimen of antibiotics is superior to withholding any therapy remains unanswered.

More articles on quality: 
Walgreens medication adherence program produces promising outcomes, study finds 
Study suggests Yelp can supplement the federal government's survey of patients' hospital experiences 
The case for stripping the word 'provider' from the healthcare lexicon: 5 things to know

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars