Current treatments for Lyme disease, particularly chronic forms of the disease, are inadequate, according to a new treatment guideline written by a group of leading experts. Adopted by the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) and published in the Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy, the guideline also proposes revamped treatment guidelines to help clinicians across the globe deliver better care to patients.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by infected ticks, and is thought to affect 300,000 people annually in the U.S. alone. The chronic form of the disease – which sees long-lasting symptoms including fatigue, headaches and joint pain – is regularly misdiagnosed and mismanaged by clinicians.
The paper claims that current antibiotic protocols used by many physicians to prevent and treat Lyme disease are ineffective, and can actually lead to an increased risk of Lyme disease developing into a chronic illness
Daniel Cameron, MD, lead author of the study, says, “We are seeing more people diagnosed with Lyme disease who simply don’t get better after being treated. Our goal with these new guidelines is to provide evidence-based, patient-centred care for sufferers, helping clinicians make the right treatment decisions. We strongly recommend that patient goals and values regarding treatment options be identified and considered during a shared decision-making process.”
The paper also notes the desperate need for better understanding of this complex illness. Currently there is limited available evidence regarding treatment.
Cameron adds, “The lack of pharmaceutical interest in Lyme disease and its concomitant funding has led to therapeutic innovation coming from clinicians. But we unquestionably need more research to better define the disease process and to establish highly effective therapeutic regimens.”