Treatment options are many for Lyme disease.
For New cases of 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.
For Persistent Symptoms after initial Lyme Disease 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? Patients can come to see us through our research clinic, at no cost to patients. Please check the link to see if you may be eligible for one of our studies.
Our Mission and Why Your Participation in Research is so valuable.
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.
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.