2017-08-03 / Letters to the Editor

Lyme antibiotic may not work

To the editor:

This is in response to the July 27 article in The Jamestown Press about pharmacies offering antibiotic treatment to curb the onset of Lyme disease.

The single 200mg dose of the antibiotic doxycycline that pharmacists and doctors may administer to those presenting themselves as having been recently bitten by a deer tick is not effective in curbing Lyme disease.

There is no scientific basis for this declaration of efficacy since it is based on one single scientific study (by Dr. Robert Nadelman) that was described as “sparse” by scientists and doctors. Actually there were three other studies, but they failed.

The data from this one study was collected three decades ago. It was published 16 years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine. Even the authors cautioned, “The efficacy rate found in our study should be interpreted cautiously, however, because of the relatively small number of subjects in whom Lyme disease developed.”

To describe it as “crucial to reducing the incidence of Lyme” is misleading and could increase the chronic nature of the disease because the patient has been led to believe a single 200mg doxycycline dose is effective and seeks no further medical treatment. Meanwhile the untreated infection grows and can cause devastating and life-threatening symptoms.

Prompt antibiotic treatment for tick-borne diseases is very important but a onetime dose, either administered by a pharmacist or a doctor has not been proven to be effective.

Cynthia Leonard
Ocean Avenue

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