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Treatment. Lyme Disease

By AGE2B team
March 8, 2022

Treatment of Lyme disease

Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease, and in most cases, the sooner antibiotic therapy is started, the sooner patients recover and the greater their chances for a complete recovery.

Antibiotics for Lyme disease treatment

  • Oral antibiotics. When Lyme disease is diagnosed in its early stages, antibiotics are given by mouth. Doxycycline is typically used to treat adults and children who are older than eight years. Cefuroxime or amoxicillin is used for children under eight years old, breastfeeding or pregnant women, and adults who cannot tolerate doxycycline. Antibiotics are usually given for two to three weeks, but some research has suggested that ten days to two weeks of antibiotic therapy is just as effective in treating Lyme disease as a longer course of medication. 
  • Intravenous antibiotics. If Lyme disease is in its more advanced stages and affects the central nervous system, intravenous (IV) antibiotics may be needed for two to four weeks. Taking antibiotics for an extended period will help ensure the infection is eliminated, but taking IV antibiotics can cause adverse side effects that include lowered white blood cells, diarrhea, or a secondary infection.  

Sometimes, people continue to have symptoms following treatment for Lyme disease. These can include severe fatigue and muscle aches. What causes these symptoms is unknown, and a longer Lyme disease antibiotic therapy does not help. Some doctors believe that some people who contract Lyme disease are more prone to an autoimmune condition that makes continued symptoms more likely to occur, but more studies are needed in this area.


Bismacine is an injectable substance, also called chromacine. The Food and Drug Administration warns against its use due to its high concentration of bismuth, which is a metal. Bismuth is sometimes used safely to treat peptic (stomach) ulcers, but it is not approved by the FDA in injectable form or for treating Lyme disease. In addition, it has the potential to cause bismuth poisoning, which can lead to kidney and heart failure.


The best way to avoid Lyme disease is to stay out of areas where deer ticks are commonly found. This includes areas that are wooded and bushy, with long grass present. Here are some simple precautions you can take to decrease the risk of contracting Lyme disease:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. When hiking, walking, or biking in grassy or wooded areas, always wear shoes. Wear long pants and tuck them inside your socks. Wear a shirt that has long sleeves as well as gloves and a hat. Try not to go off the trails and avoid walking through brush or long grass. Keep your pets on a leash.
  • Use insect repellents. Apply insect repellent to your skin and your children’s skin. Avoid getting insect repellent on the mouth or hands or in the eyes. Bug sprays and repellents can be poisonous but always read and follow the label directions. You may also buy clothing that has been pretreated. 
  • Try to tick-proof your yard. If you stack wood in your yard, keep the piles in the sun. Clear away piles of leaves and brush. Ticks love to live in these piles. 
  • Check yourself, your children, and your pets. If you have spent time in the woods or grass, check for ticks. You have to search very thoroughly because deer ticks can be tiny. Sometimes, it’s most helpful to bathe or shower as soon as coming inside. Ticks can stay on the skin for a long time before they attach, so using a washcloth while bathing might be enough to remove them if they haven’t yet attached.
  • Don’t assume you’re immune. People who have had Lyme disease once are not immune. A person can get the disease more than once.
  • Remove a tick as soon as possible. To remove a tick, gently grasp it with tweezers close to its head. Don’t crush or squeeze it, just pull steadily and gently. After removal, dispose of the tick and apply antiseptic to the skin where the tick was located.  

Outcome & Complications

If not treated, Lyme disease may cause:

  • Chronic inflammation of the joints, especially the knee joints. This is called Lyme arthritis. 
  • Facial palsy and neuropathy, and other neurological symptoms.
  • Impairment of the memory or other cognitive (thinking) disorders.
  • Irregularities of the heart rhythm.

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