General Question

rowenaz's avatar

How do you know that you have "beaten" Lyme Disease?

Asked by rowenaz (2426 points ) August 9th, 2009

If you get diagnosed for Lyme, and go on antibiotics, how do you know if you have killed all the Borrelia bacteria?

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10 Answers

shilolo's avatar

When you’ve finished the prescribed course of antibiotics.

YARNLADY's avatar

If you still have any question, after the prescribed course of treatment, ask your doctor for a definitive blood test.

shilolo's avatar

@YARNLADY There is no such thing as a definitive blood test. Diagnosis is made by serology (antibody testing). Those antibodies hang around, irrespective of treatment.

YARNLADY's avatar

I should have read my Sunday newspaper before typing my misinformed words. The feature article is about a woman who climbed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park after a serious bout with Lyme Disease. I quote the words of Raphael Stricker, a San Francisco physician who has treated 1,800 Lyme Disease patients “The commercial testing for Lyme is, in a word, terrible”.

janbb's avatar

@shilolo Does the success of the antiibotics depend on how early in the diagnosis you take them? It seems to me that some people have lingering cases of Lyme – surely they have been prescribed antibiotics? Or does that indicate it’s not Lyme?

wundayatta's avatar

I have a friend, a doctor himself, who got lyme disease and it still, more than a year later, is something he is fighting. He tried a whole series of drugs, and finally got some that are helping, but he had been living for a long time with no energy, and unable to do most of the physical things he used to do.

rowenaz's avatar

Yes, this is why I asked. There are huge arguments about chronic lyme, and recently my daughter contracted it (Lyme, not chronic lyme I hope). I’ve been trying to research and learn more, and thought I’d tap the collective. After two weeks on the antibiotic, she got a raging fever for three days, which might have been the Herxheimer Reaction (the bacteria die-off was too intense for her body to rid itself of the toxins) and her doctor recommended that we stop the antibiotics and then return to them after a few days.

Anybody else have Lyme? What did you experience and what are you experiencing now?

shilolo's avatar

@YARNLADY Raphael Stricker has treated a lot of people with (what he calls) chronic lyme disease, but that alone does not qualify him as an expert. He runs his own unvalidated tests to diagnose people and follow their treatment course. Interestingly, he practices in Northern California, where true lyme disease is very rare (in contrast to the East Coast, where it is endemic). Feel free to PM me for more information that I prefer not to discuss in public.

@janbb @daloon @rowenaz The majority of infectious disease doctors such as myself do not believe that the entity known as chronic lyme disease represents a chronic infection. It may represent an autoimmune response to the initial infection, with ongoing joint, muscle and tissue injury. However, long term antibiotic therapy for chronic lyme doesn’t make sense (the majority of bacterial infections can be cured with a week to a month of antibiotics) and has been invalidated by careful, double blind clinical studies. So, while controversy exists in the area (as summarized in this excellent review from the New England Journal of Medicine), only a handful of doctors believe in antibiotics for chronic lyme but they and their patients are very vocal, despite mounting evidence to dispute their ideas.

wundayatta's avatar

@shilolo My friend wasn’t on long term antibiotics. I know he tried a number of different beta blockers before he found something that seems to be working. I’m not sure if it is a beta blocker that is working.

rowenaz's avatar

@shilolo thank you for the link to the article.

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