Lyme Disease (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
There is no effective way to treat Lyme disease at home. After your doctor has evaluated your symptoms and diagnosed Lyme disease, you may want to use a nonprescription pain reliever (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) to relieve joint or muscle pain. Talk with your doctor about the best choice for you. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 because it has been linked to Reye syndrome.
Antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, are the main treatment for Lyme disease.
The goals of treatment are to eliminate the infection and prevent complications of Lyme disease, such as problems involving the skin, joints, nervous system, or heart.
The type of antibiotic prescribed, the amount, and whether the medicine is taken orally, as an injection, or through a vein (intravenous, or IV) depends on how bad your symptoms are and how long you've had Lyme disease. Oral antibiotics are prescribed for early Lyme disease. Either oral or intravenous antibiotics may be used to treat late Lyme disease symptoms.
Intravenous (IV) antibiotics are the treatment of choice if your nervous system is affected by late Lyme disease and you have bad headaches, neck pain, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, or problems with thinking or memory. IV antibiotics are also used if the Lyme disease bacteria or antibodies against the bacteria have been found in your spinal fluid.
Oral antibiotics are usually prescribed first for chronic Lyme arthritis (recurring swelling and joint pain), but IV antibiotics may be tried if the oral antibiotics do not work.
The type of antibiotic your doctor gives you and the number of days you take it depends on your symptoms and the stage of the disease. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your antibiotic treatment.
There used to be a vaccine for prevention of Lyme disease in high-risk areas, but it is no longer available because of uncertainty over its effectiveness and lack of demand.
What To Think About
Different antibiotics may be used to treat children and adults. The decision to take medicines for Lyme disease may be based on one or more of these factors:
In rare instances, Lyme disease symptoms may not go away even after antibiotic treatment has cured the infection. There are a number of possible reasons why symptoms may take longer to improve:
The first course of antibiotics almost always cures the infection. If symptoms continue, additional evaluation may be needed.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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