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Antibiotics Improve Cognitive Function in Lyme Disease

However improvement is not sustained after discontinuing antibiotics

TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) --Intravenous antibiotics improve cognitive function and fatigue, pain, and physical function in patients with Lyme disease-associated chronic cognitive impairment, though the improvement in cognitive function is not sustained after discontinuing antibiotics, according to a study published online Oct. 10 in Neurology.

Brian A. Fallon, M.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues randomized 37 patients with Lyme disease and cognitive impairment who had been treated with intravenous antibiotics for at least 3 weeks to either intravenous placebo or ceftriaxone for 10 weeks. Twenty healthy individuals served as controls.

The researchers found that at week 12, cognitive function in six domains moderately improved in the antibiotic group. However, these improvements were not sustained to week 24. Patients in this group with more severe fatigue, pain, and impaired physical functioning also improved at week 12, which was sustained to week 24 except for severe fatigue.

"Intravenous ceftriaxone therapy results in short-term cognitive improvement for patients with post treatment Lyme encephalopathy, but relapse in cognition occurs after the antibiotic is discontinued," Fallon and colleagues concluded.

Roche Pharmaceuticals provided the ceftriaxone for the study but were otherwise not involved.

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