Lyme disease affects nearly 300,00 people in the US alone, and with the spread of the ticks in the most southern regions of the country, drug-resistant variants of the disease are becoming more difficult to treat. Lyme disease is caused by deer tick bites that transmit a bacterial infection throughout the body. While a tick bite may not seem serious, Lyme disease is becoming resistant to drug therapy treatment, and is putting patients at risk for infections that affect the brain, heart, and nervous system.
Researchers at Northeastern University are developing a new set of therapies that help treat Lyme disease using a combination of existing drugs to target and change the composition of the bacteria and inhibit the effects that it has on the immune system.
Current Lyme Disease Treatments
Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium that attacks the immune system if left untreated. The symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash that has a bullseye pattern, flu-like symptoms, widespread joint pain, and extreme fatigue. The treatment course for Lyme disease involves a 2 to 4-week antibiotic treatment, but some patients still experience the symptoms of the infection after 6 months. What’s alarming about this bacterial infection is that it is becoming resistant to the antibiotic treatments available.
One of the challenges that doctors face when treating Lyme diseases is that it must be detected and treated early to prevent the spread of the infection. The typical treatment course for Lyme diseases involves doses of the antibiotic doxycycline as soon the disease is detected. However, this treatment course is yielding less than favorable results, causing post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) that manifests into painful symptoms like extreme fatigue, arthritis, muscle pain, and reduced cognitive function.
Generic Doxycycline Pill
Two New Lyme Disease Treatments
Pulse-Dosing: Active Borrelia burgdorferi infections in the body have what researchers call persister cells, which lie dormant in the body. When treatments that involve doxycycline are administered, the treatment only attacks active cells, allowing dormant cells to regenerate and multiply well after the antibiotic leaves the body. This effect is what leads to PTLDS. Researchers have developed what is called pulse dosing, which targets active bacterial cells and eradicates inactive pathogens in a timed manner to prevent them from multiplying. This new approach has only been tested in mice, but clinical trials are underway to test out the treatment in medical schools.
Multi-Stage Antibiotics: Treatments like doxycycline do not kill active Borrelia burgdorferi infections; they simply suppress the growth of the bacteria. The problem with this method is that it relies on the patient’s weakened immune system to fight off the infection. Along with the help of Novobiotic Pharmaceuticals, researchers are developing a new therapy by extracting compounds from live bacteria in the soil. This new research has found two compounds that directly kill Borrelia burgdorferi, and prevent symptoms like painful rheumatoid arthritis associated with PTLDS.
Get more information about Lyme disease on our Lyme Disease Conditions Page. Plus, you’ll find discounts for doxycycline and related medication.