Treatment

Most Vermonters treated appropriately for Lyme disease have been cured. Unfortunately, some Vermonters treated for Lyme and tick-borne diseases have not had full recoveries. Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and inadequate treatment can result in disseminated Lyme disease that can have a significant and long-term impact on a person’s daily functioning, cognitive abilities, mood, and overall health.

There is controversy about the proper treatment for Lyme disease. As of February, 2016, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) guidelines were removed from the National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC). The only U.S. guidelines in compliance with current NGC standards are those established in 2015 by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS).

The ILADS treatment guidelines are not endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This controversy leaves patients and physicians to navigate conflicting recommendations.

It can be challenging to find effective treatment in Vermont for Lyme and tick-borne diseases. Some physicians believe Lyme disease is always cured by a short dose of antibiotics. Others are wary of the controversies around Lyme disease treatment. Some Vermonters affected by Lyme and tick-borne diseases have difficulty finding a medical professional trained to treat disseminated Lyme disease and co-infections, and not all Vermonters are receiving accurate diagnosis.

There is a reasonable concern among many scientists and physicians about the use of long-term antibiotic treatment and the problem of antibiotic resistance. For some people, long-term antibiotics may be necessary. For others, alternative treatments may work as well as (or better than) antibiotics. Discuss these options with your health-care professional.

What You Should Know

Vermont physicians have different approaches to treating Lyme disease

Not all physicians in Vermont are trained to understand the complexities of Lyme and co-infections, but there are local professionals experienced in treating and supporting patients with tick-borne diseases.

Treatment for Lyme Disease May Not Be Enough

The recommended treatment for Lyme may not work for co-infections that can be transmitted through the same tick-bite. A practitioner who understands tick-borne diseases will consider the possible need to treat co-infections as well as Lyme disease.

An “LLMD” is a “Lyme Literate Medical Doctor”

Many LLMDs utilize treatment guidelines designed by ILADS and/or alternative treatments. These practitioners often disagree with the IDSA and CDC about the treatment of Lyme disease. There is no official certification to become an LLMD, so Vermonters should know that any practitioner can call themselves a “LLMD”, or claim to be “Lyme Literate”.  LLMD’s may have differing views on treatment.