Treatment for Lyme Disease

Antibiotics for Treatment

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics (drugs that kill bacteria). If you think you have Lyme disease, talk to your doctor right away. The recommended length of treatment depends on the antibiotic used. The antibiotic chosen for treatment depends on the symptoms and the patient. There is no scientific evidence that antibiotic treatment for several months or years is necessary. Long-term antibiotic use can do more harm than good. It can even be deadly.

Common antibiotics (drugs that kill bacteria) used to treat Lyme disease include:

  • Amoxicillin (am-ok-suh-SIL-in)
  • Cefuroxime axetil (SI-fyur-ah-zem AXE-tihl)
  • Doxycycline (dok-see-SAHY-kleen)

Some other oral antibiotics are slightly less effective, but can be used for patients who have allergies or adverse reactions to the primary antibiotics. Antibiotics may be given by IV (through a needle in the vein) for patients with severe heart or neurological (brain and nerve) problems from the disease.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments suggested on certain websites claim to have an effect on the Lyme disease bacteria (germs). However, there is no scientific evidence that suggests these substances or devices work. In addition, they can be costly, dangerous, or even deadly.

If you need to find a doctor, the American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF) may be able to help identify one. The inclusion of a doctor on the ALDF list should not be seen as an endorsement by CDC. You could also choose to see a doctor in your area who specializes in infectious diseases; preferably a doctor associated with a university.

If you have concerns about the treatment you are receiving, contact your state medical board.