Caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a full course of antibiotics.* However, a large number of cases do not present with the telltale bullseye rash and may not be immediately diagnosed.
When Antibiotics are Insufficient
Left untreated, the Lyme-causing bacteria can hide deep in the tissues of the body where antibiotics have a harder time reaching them, causing more severe symptoms and a more challenging prognosis. This persistent infection, coupled with an immune system weakened by a long battle against the bacteria, means patients’ symptoms can become chronic.
And early treatment is not always full-proof. As many as 10-20% of adequately diagnosed and treated patients continue to have persistent or recurrent symptoms following the initial antibiotic course.
Ticks are known to carry many pathogens and will often pass on more than one co-infection with a single bite. These co-infections can increase the severity of the Lyme symptoms or cause entirely different symptoms. They also do not all respond to antibiotics, complicating diagnosis, treatment, and management of symptoms.
Developing Better Treatments
To address this need, Bay Area Lyme is funding the development of therapies for later stage Lyme with enhanced efficacy and reduced side effects relative to antibiotics. These treatments aim to increase potency while minimizing peripheral health consequences, providing relief to the many people struggling with Lyme disease.
* Typical antibiotic prescription is for a 14-21-day course. According to the CDC, antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.