What Is the Right Treatment for Lyme Disease?


Quick Answer

The Mayo Clinic states that the standard treatment for Lyme disease is a course of oral antibiotics. Some patients with central nervous system involvement require intravenous antibiotics instead.

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What Is the Right Treatment for Lyme Disease?
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Full Answer

According to the Mayo Clinic, doxycycline is the preferred antibiotic for treating Lyme disease. Amoxicillin and cefuroxime are alternate antibiotic options suitable for children under 8 and adults who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The standard length of treatment is 14 to 21 days, although some research shows that shorter courses of antibiotics may be as effective as longer ones.

Serious cases of Lyme disease with nervous system involvement are treated with a 14 to 28 day course of intravenous antibiotics. Possible side effects of intravenous antibiotic treatment include intestinal distress, a low white blood cell count and infection with antibiotic-resistant conditions. Some patients continue to have symptoms after their treatment is over. The Mayo Clinic notes this might be due to an autoimmune response, but research in this area is still inconclusive.

Lyme disease is spread by infected ticks. Early symptoms include an expanding rash and typical flu symptoms. Untreated Lyme disease sometimes spreads to other body systems, causing joint problems and nervous system complications. Rarely, Lyme disease leads to heart problems, eye inflammation and hepatitis. Early treatment is recommended to avoid complications.

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