Doctors with varying perspectives on how to treat patients with Chronic Lyme disease gathered for a hearing in Washington D.C on Thursday. They met to decide whether to revise Lyme disease guidelines that were written by a group of infectious disease experts.
In 2006, guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America or IDSA stated most Lyme disease patients can be cured with a 6 week course of antibiotics. But Lyme disease sufferers and some doctors disagree saying long term antibiotics do a better job.
Dr. Eugene Shapiro, a Yale School of Medicine Professor and IDSA member was one of the presenters at the DC hearing. Dr. Shapiro says there is not enough evidence to suggest long term antibiotics can cure Lyme disease.
"Severe risks including death. The long term antbiotics tend to select for drug resistant super bugs which are a threat to individual patients and to society as a whole. In addition, it's expensive. Furthermore patients may not be getting treatment for their real problems."
However, there are doctors of chronic lyme disease patients who cite cases where long term antibiotics have helped. Psychiatrist, Dr Bernard Raxlen spoke on WNPR's Where We Live earlier this month.
"I find that patients I see, that the six week treatment protocol failed to help them. Nobody is interested in pushing antibioticsl. It's something you have to be careful of."
The public hearing came about after a voluntary agreement between IDSA and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal had begun an investigation into the process behind how the 2006 Lyme disease guidleines were written due to concerns that some of the panel members had conflicts of interest. The hearing panel, made up of medical ethicists, will offer recommendations later this year on whether the guidelines should be rewritten.