Lyme Disease - Medications
Antibiotics are the main treatment for
Lyme disease. The first course of antibiotics almost always cures the
infection. But if symptoms continue, more evaluation may be needed.
The type of antibiotic prescribed, the amount, and whether the medicine is taken
orally, as an injection, or through a vein
(intravenous, or IV) depends on how bad your symptoms
are and how long you've had Lyme disease.
- Oral antibiotics are prescribed for
early Lyme disease. They are also usually prescribed first
chronic Lyme arthritis.
(IV) antibiotics are used if:
nervous system is affected by late Lyme disease and
you have bad headaches, neck pain, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, or
problems with thinking or memory.
disease bacteria or
antibodies against the bacteria have been found in
your spinal fluid.
- Either oral or intravenous antibiotics may be used to
treat late Lyme disease symptoms.
Should you use antibiotics?
Different antibiotics may be
used to treat children and adults. The decision to take medicines for Lyme disease may be based on one or
more of these factors:
- You have symptoms of Lyme disease, especially the red,
circular rash , and a history of exposure to ticks in geographic regions where
Lyme disease is known to occur.
- Blood tests show that you have antibodies to the Lyme disease bacteria in
your blood, spinal fluid, or joint fluid.
- You are pregnant or breast-feeding and are bitten by a
In rare instances, Lyme disease symptoms may not go away
even after antibiotic treatment has cured the infection. There are a number of
possible reasons why symptoms may take longer to improve:
- Tissue or nerve damage caused by untreated Lyme disease may be
severe or even irreversible.
- You may not actually have Lyme disease or may have another
illness at the same time with symptoms that don't respond to antibiotic
treatment. Lyme disease may trigger
chronic fatigue syndrome. Or you may be
misdiagnosed as having Lyme disease when you really
have a chronic fatigue condition.