How is Lyme Disease Treated?
People with Lyme disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics. The earlier a person is treated, better are the chance of complete, rapid recovery.
10-days to 4-weeks course of antibiotics is often used to treat people who are diagnosed with Lyme disease, depending on the on the stage of infection and the symptoms. Common choices of antibiotics include doxycycline, amoxicillin, azithromycin, cefuroxime, and ceftriaxone.
In about 10 to 15% of individuals with early Lyme disease, toxins released by the dying bacteria cause a brief worsening of symptoms called a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. This reaction occurs within 24 hours after starting antibiotics and may continue for a day or so before it resolves.
Early localized Lyme disease is treated with two to three weeks of oral antibiotics usually doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime. These antibiotics prevent the disease from worsening and decrease the duration and severity of symptoms.
Early disseminated Lyme disease may be treated either with oral or intravenous antibiotics. Oral antibiotics are used for cases that are considered less serious. Patients with multiple symptoms and more serious manifestations such as meningitis and heart block are usually treated with intravenous therapy. Treatment with intravenous antibiotics is typically recommended for 10 to 28 days (most commonly 14 days).
Late disseminated Lyme disease - Patients with late Lyme disease arthritis are treated with oral antibiotic therapy for four weeks. If arthritis persists, a second four-week course of oral or intravenous antibiotics is administered. Neurologic conditions associated with late Lyme disease are treated with intravenous antibiotics usually ceftriaxone or cefotaxime, for two to four weeks. Infection involving the heart also may require intravenous antibiotics.
If a person has been exposed to a tick in an area where Lyme disease is common, prophylactic treatment may be started to prevent Lyme disease from developing.
Pregnant women can also be treated for Lyme disease. There is no strong evidence to suggest that a fetus can be infected from the mother or that miscarriages are more likely to occur after Lyme disease.
Post Lyme disease syndrome: In about 10 to 20% of people, non-specific symptoms such as headache, fatigue, poor sleep, cognitive impairment, muscle and joint pain lasts more than 6 months after antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease is completed. This is called post-Lyme disease syndrome and the cause of this is unknown. There is no proven treatment for post-Lyme disease syndrome and taking long-term antibiotics beyond the first standard treatment does not help improve symptoms. Most people with this syndrome get better with time.
Chronic Lyme disease is another term that is used by some to describe symptoms of pain in muscles, joints or nerves, fatigue and cognitive impairment that occur after antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease. There are currently no criteria, no accepted etiology and no proven cause or association for defining chronic Lyme disease. There is no evidence to suggest that taking antibiotics beyond the currently recommended amounts improves symptoms.
Requisite for a new treatment
About 10 to 20% of people develop symptoms of fatigue, pain in their muscles, joints or nerves, and cognitive impairment later. Researchers have suggested that this may due to drug-tolerant bacteria living in the body and continuing to cause the disease necessitating the need for new treatments.
Newer Treatments for Lyme Disease
Scientists have found promising new treatment for Lyme disease. Study suggests that new effective treatment involving the use of drugs cefotaxime and azlocillin may be available in the future.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) is another new therapy which is safe, and non-invasive. PEMF technology has been used as a treatment modality in several medical conditions, especially in orthopaedics. PEMF works by generating energy into the cells using magnetic energy.
The energy waves use the body’s natural magnetic field to improve healing and increase the electrolytes and ions. The cell get positively charged which van help resolve cellular dysfunction, promote healing, reduce pain and inflammation. PEMF is can successfully be used to supplement and/ or enhance existingty treatment modalities.
PEMF can be used in Lyme disease because of it’s ability to regenerate tissues and provide pain relief. PEMF also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, making it an effective therapy for Lyme disease.
SentientLight’s top-tier PEMF devices, called Sentient Element is one of the most powerful, yet affordable PEMF devices available. PEMF devices should ideally be highly control-based and personalized.
Sentient Element element comes complete with session, frequency, and time control, allowing the device to be used for a variety of PEMF therapeutic needs, from cancer therapy to injuries at the above recommended frequency.
Prevention of Lyme disease
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid tick bites by doing the following:
- Avoid favorite habitats of ticks such as grassy, bushy, or wooded areas.
- Walk in the center of trail to avoid bushes and grass.
- Wear light-colored protective clothing in which ticks can be easily seen.
- Wear closed shoes, long-sleeve shirt and long pants. Tuck the shirt into pants and pant legs into socks to block skin access.
- Use repellants and insecticide. Spray skin and clothes with repellants containing DEET when outdoors.
- Treat clothing and outdoor gear with a repellant containing 0.5% permethrin.
- Shower after coming in from outside and check for ticks.
- Remove a tick properly using fine-tipped tweezers. Removing ticks within 24 - 36 hours of tick attachment will prevent spread of the disease.
- Wash and Dry clothes at high temperatures to kill ticks after being outdoors.
Currently there is no vaccine available against Lyme disease. A vaccine may become available in the future.
Researchers have sought to address control of B. burgdorferi infection in humans through vector-targeted or reservoir-targeted vaccines that aims to reduce tick density or control different aspects of the enzootic cycle.
Outlook (Prognosis) of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics if diagnosed in the early stages. Without treatment, complications involving the joints, heart, and nervous system can occur. But these symptoms are still treatable and curable even when antibiotic treatment and other treatment modalities are started in the later stages.