Can Lyme Disease Be Chronic?

28 Jul

You may have heard that for some people, Lyme disease can last for longer than expected and may require months of antibiotics. Up to 20 percent of people with the disease do experience lingering symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, muscle pain, and thinking problems, called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. But this usually resolves on its own, if you have symptoms after standard treatment (two to four weeks of taking the antibiotic doxycycline), see a doctor.

You may have another condition, such as fibromyalgia or babesiosis, a parasitic infection transmitted by blacklegged ticks. Symptoms may be due to residual inflammation from Lyme disease so anti-inflammatory drugs may also help. Avoid extended antibiotic therapy.

People who took antibiotics for three months fared no better than those taking a placebo, according to a 2016 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. More than two-thirds experienced adverse reactions such as diarrhea, nausea, or a rash. “This type of treatment won’t help, and it can hurt you with side effects and by promoting the growth of drug-resistant bacteria,” says Michael T. Melia, M.D.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health July 2017

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