Antibiotics for Lyme Disease
Why It Is Used
Antibiotics are used to cure early Lyme disease and to greatly reduce the risk of future complications. Antibiotics may also be used in the later Reference stages of Lyme disease, when additional symptoms involving the skin, joints, nervous system, or heart may develop.
The type of antibiotic prescribed depends on your age, symptoms, and stage of Lyme disease. These medicines may be taken orally, as an injection, or through a vein (Reference intravenous, or IV Opens New Window). The length of antibiotic treatment varies according to how bad the disease and your symptoms are, but treatment generally lasts less than 4 weeks.
Early Lyme disease
- For people ages 8 and older, the number of days the antibiotic is used depends on the antibiotic and the severity of the infection.
- Doxycycline should not be used to treat pregnant women or children younger than age 8.
- For children younger than age 8, amoxicillin is taken by mouth. Other medicines may be used if the child is allergic to amoxicillin.
Later stages of Lyme disease
- For Reference Lyme arthritis Opens New Window, oral antibiotics are usually taken for several weeks. If treatment with the oral antibiotic is not successful, an antibiotic may be given intravenously (IV).
- For facial paralysis with no other Reference nervous system Opens New Window problems, an oral antibiotic for several weeks is usually effective.
- For severe heart symptoms of Lyme disease or for other Lyme disease nervous system problems such as Lyme Reference meningitis Opens New Window, IV antibiotics may be given.
Pregnant or nursing women
- Women who have early Lyme disease usually take an oral antibiotic for several weeks. Some doctors believe that pregnant women with early Lyme disease should receive IV antibiotics to prevent Lyme disease bacteria from crossing the protective membrane (placenta) that surrounds the developing fetus. But there is no proof such treatment is needed.
- In pregnant or nursing women who have late Lyme disease, IV antibiotics usually are used.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: May 9, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Christine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology