Lyme Retreatment May Be Flawed
A new statistical review done at Brown University calls into question studies that have "proved" that antibiotic retreatment for chronic Lyme disease is futile. According to a release from the university, that misunderstanding has led to medical guidance that not only discourages retreatment but also recommends against insurance coverage for it. The authors of the current review suggest that a correct reading of the studies shows that they in fact "prove" absolutely nothing.
The accepted practice is to treat Lyme disease with antibiotics for two to four weeks after the diagnosis but to discontinue the medications if symptoms persist after that. Allison DeLong, a biostatistician at Brown University’s Center for Statistical Sciences and lead author of the study published Contemporary Clinical Trials is quoted in the release as saying, “A lack of evidence should not be used to deny treatment when the studies have serious flaws.”
DeLong and her co-authors report that evidence in the trials is most often inconclusive and that two studies even found some statistically significant benefits from antibiotics.
In their conclusion, the authors wrote: "This biostatistical review reveals that retreatment can be beneficial. Primary outcomes originally reported as statistically insignificant were likely underpowered. The positive treatment effects of ceftriaxone are encouraging and consistent with continued infection, a hypothesis deserving additional study. Additional studies of persistent infection and antibiotic treatment are warranted."