Treatment of Lyme arthritis

Published Date
Arthritis and Rheumatism
Arthritis Rheum. 1994 Jun;37(6):878-88
Steere AC
Levin RE
Molloy PJ
Kalish RA
Abraham JH
Liu NY
Schmid CH

To test treatment regimens for Lyme arthritis.

Patients were randomly assigned to treatment with doxycycline or amoxicillin plus probenecid for 30 days. Patients who had persistent arthritis for at least 3 months after treatment with oral antibiotics or parenteral penicillin were given intravenous ceftriaxone for 2 weeks.

Eighteen of the 20 patients treated with doxycycline and 16 of the 18 patients who completed the amoxicillin regimen had resolution of the arthritis within 1-3 months after study entry. However, neuroborreliosis later developed in 5 patients, 4 of whom had received the amoxicillin regimen. Of 16 patients (2 from the oral antibiotic study and 14 additional patients) who had persistent arthritis despite previous oral antibiotics or parenteral penicillin, none had resolution of the arthritis within 3 months after ceftriaxone therapy. The HLA-DR4 specificity and OspA reactivity were associated with a lack of response.

Lyme arthritis can usually be treated successfully with oral antibiotics, but patients may still develop neuroborreliosis. Patients with certain genetic and immune markers may have persistent arthritis despite treatment with oral or intravenous antibiotics.