Doxycycline and Lyme Disease

August 17, 2008

Doxycycline is an antibiotic. According to a report from Children’s Hospital of Boston, treatment for all stages of Lyme disease requires antibiotics, and the choice of antibiotic should be one that is comprehensive and will cover all likely pathogens — that is, including possible infectious causes other than Lyme.
Doxycycline is first on their list for localized and early Lyme disease without evidence of central nervous system involvement. It can also be used for arthritis that is not persistent or recurrent. A report on Medscape recommends doxycycline for the treatment of Lyme arthritis for 28 days. A report from the Tufts University School of Medicine, in Medical Clinics of North America, from the physician who led the initial identification of Lyme, states that joint pain can usually be treated successfully with a one- or two-month course of oral doxycycline or amoxicillin, although if you have persistent or recurrent arthritis you may need anti-inflammatory drugs, too.

Physicians in Europe report that the most frequently used drug for Lyme arthritis is doxycycline, as noted in a German review, and a recommendation from the University of Genova, Italy. However, a report from Poland noted that relapses of Lyme arthritis happen despite prior effective antibiotic therapy. In a study of 64 patients, 25 were treated with oral doxycycline and 39 with intravenous ceftriaxone for 28 days. All experienced remission. Subsequently, relapse occurred in 36% of the doxycycline patients and 23% of the ceftriaxone patients. Researchers observed that relapse was more common among those older than 50 years.

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