Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.
For detailed recommendations on treatment, consult the 2006 Guidelines for treatment developed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Approximately 10-20% of patients (particularly those who were diagnosed later), following appropriate antibiotic treatment, may have persistent or recurrent symptoms and are considered to have Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded several studies on the treatment of Lyme disease which show that most patients recover when treated with a few weeks of antibiotics taken by mouth. For details on research into what is sometimes referred to as “chronic Lyme disease” and long-term treatment trials sponsored by NIH, visit the NIH Lyme Disease web site.
Additional information on prolonged treatment for Lyme disease is also available.