Treatment options are many for Lyme disease. Individuals not yet treated with antibiotics for a new case of Lyme Disease should immediately consult with his/her primary care physician to discuss treatment. In the context of a new Lyme rash, treatment should be started immediately even if the blood tests are negative as it can take 2-4 weeks before a blood test might turn positive. The sooner one treats Lyme disease, the better the long-term outcome.
Please see our section on "Treatment Options" that discusses important things to know about some of the first-line antibiotic treatments for Lyme disease, such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, cefuroxime, or ceftriaxone. In this section, we also discuss other non-antibiotic treatment approaches that may be especially helpful for fatigue, pain, mood issues, and/or cognitive problems that persist despite antibiotic treatment.
When symptoms persist or return, treatment decisions are more challenging. Is this persistent infection? Is this a new reinfection? Is this a post-infectious problem that needs other treatment approaches? Is this another problem and not Lyme Disease? We explore these issues with each patient. Patients can come to see us through our second opinion service or through our research clinic.
Part of our mission at Columbia is to find out which treatments are most effective for patients with chronic persistent symptoms. We can only do this when patients participate in our clinical research. Careful clinical research is what convinces doctors that a treatment is effective. If you are a patient looking to help the scientific battle against Lyme disease, research may well be for you. Please check our "current research" page to see whether there is a study that interests you. We create new studies every few months, so please check again throughout the year.
One current study involves Kundalini Yoga and meditation, as both are known to be helpful in other disorders for reducing chronic pain, anxiety, and attentional problems. If you are willing to join a meditation group study in the Fairfield Connecticut area, this may be an ideal study for you. A soon-to-be started treatment study will examine whether a medication that modulates the glutamate system is effective in the treatment of Lyme-related pain; (this medication is also FDA approved as an antibiotic for tuberculosis). We anticipate active enrollment into this study by September 2018. Please check our current research page to keep up-to-date on our latest projects.
Some patients are turned off by the word "research" as it might sound cold and indifferent; this in fact is not the case. When patients come into our studies, they are carefully evaluated by members of our Lyme team (for example, Dr. Fallon and/or Dr. Delaney) and treated as partners in the clinical scientific endeavor. There is no financial cost for participation, but it does take time, as in most studies that involve treatment we ask patients to participate in a comprehensive evaluation assessing neurologic, cognitive, neuro- psychiatric, and rheumatologic systems, often before as well as at different intervals during treatment. Many thanks to the patients who have joined our research studies! They are making a big difference.