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Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

Specific Health Concern  >>  Lyme Disease

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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses Lyme Disease and how to avoid developing Chronic Lyme Disease.

Dr. Huntoon has quite extensive experience in resolving Lyme in hundreds of practice members.  His unique 3 step approach has helped everyone he has treated for this difficult diagnosis.

Lyme Disease does not have to become a life sentence and we are here to address the Lyme you have without all the antibiotics and resultant side-effects.

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Chronic Lyme Disease

The term “Chronic Lyme Disease” (CLD) is very confusing, as it has been used to describe people with different illnesses. While the term is sometimes used to describe illness in patients with Lyme disease, in many occasions it has been used to describe symptoms in people who have no evidence of a current or past infection with B. burgdorferi (Infect Dis Clin N Am 22:341-60, 2008). In other cases, “CLD” is used in patients who have non-specific symptoms (like fatigue and pain) after treatment for Lyme disease with antibiotics, but who have no evidence of active infection with B. burgdorferi. Physicians sometimes describe these patients as having Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome (PLDS). Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, experts in this field do not support its use of antibiotics (New Engl J Med 357:1422-30, 2008).
Symptoms

The most common symptoms of lyme disease are fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. This will most commonly begin at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3-30 days, and will gradually expand to be about 12 inches across.

Later symptoms include further rashes, arthritis with severe joint pain, facial palsy, intermittent pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, nerve pain, shooting pains, numbness, tingling in the hands or feet, and problems with short term memory. If you experience any of these symptoms after a tick bite you should see your Doctor immediately.

 

Causes

Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. In the majority of cases, your medical doctor will recommend a course of oral antibiotics.  This will eliminate the symptoms of the Lyme and will probably drive the Lyme deeper into your system, only to come out later in a different area and affect you in a different way.  This is the Standard of Care if you go the Traditional Medical way.

Traditional Medical Treatment Options and Diagnosis

For early Lyme disease, a short course of oral antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin is suppressive in the majority of the cases. In more complicated cases, Lyme disease can usually be successfully suppressed with 3 to 4 weeks of antibiotic therapy. The complications of this form of treatment will not surface for several months after the therapy is over and you and your doctor will not relate the new symptoms to the antibiotic therapy and both of you will think it is a new problem.

In patients who have non-specific symptoms after being treated for Lyme disease, and no evidence of active infection (patients with PLDS), studies have shown that more antibiotic therapy is not helpful and can be dangerous.

Dr. Huntoon's Alternative Medical Treatment Options

Dr. Huntoon has quite extensive experience in resolving Lyme in hundreds of practice members.  His unique 3 step approach has helped everyone he has treated for this difficult diagnosis.

Having this condition is not fun at all. Being motivated to look for non-conventional forms of treatment is warranted. Working with a Holistic Chiropractor can offer benefits, as using a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the imbalances within the person related to Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) is warranted. This has continuously demonstrated positive results when sticking to a treatment plan. Discussing what is involved and the time commitment necessary to having a full recovery is warranted.

Others have benefited by using Acupuncture, Homeopathy or Naturopathy when following the treatment guidelines set up by your practitioner and you. Discussing what is involved and the time commitment necessary to having a full recovery is warranted.

Additionally, consulting with a Holistic Chiropractor, Homeopath or Naturopath who has experience in treating the effects of the antibiotic therapy that results in a Yeast/Candidiasis imbalance is also important. Making sure to discuss their success and experience in treating Yeast/Candidiasis is vital before beginning any treatment when considering this form of care. Finding one that will work with your medical doctor is necessary. Making sure they also have the ability to treat the side-effects of any antibiotic therapy is important. Proper follow-up during and after any medical treatment involved with antibiotics is vitally necessary, if you choose to recover your health from this condition. The treatment to restore balance to your system may take at least 1 year to complete. This is absolute to restoring your health and preventing future Yeast/Candidiasis infections and other negative health consequences from the antibiotic therapy.

Has NIAID looked at the potential benefits of long-term antibiotic therapy on PLDS?

Yes. In an effort to address the confusion regarding appropriate therapy, NIAID has funded three placebo-controlled clinical trials on the efficacy of prolonged antibiotic therapy for treating PLDS. The published results were subjected to rigorous statistical, editorial, and scientific peer review.

These trials were designed to ensure that several key parameters were addressed. The susceptibility of B.burgdorferi to the antibiotics used

The ability of the antibiotics used to both cross the blood-brain barrier and access the central nervous system and to persist at effective levels throughout the course of therapy The ability of the antibiotics used to kill bacteria living both outside and inside mammalian cells

The safety and welfare of patients enrolled in the trials

The first clinical trial, which included two multicenter studies, provided no evidence that extended antibiotic treatment is beneficial (New Engl J Med 345:85-92, 2001). In those studies, physicians examined long-term antibiotic therapy in patients with a well-documented history of previous Lyme disease but who reported persistent pain, fatigue, impaired cognitive function, or unexplained numbness. Those symptoms are common among people reporting PLDS.

Patients were treated with 30 days of an intravenous (IV) antibiotic followed by 60 days of an oral antibiotic.

These studies reinforced the evidence that patients reporting PLDS symptoms have a severe impairment in overall physical health and quality of life. However, results showed no benefit from prolonged antibiotic therapy when compared with placebo in treating those symptoms.

In another study, published in 2003, researchers examined the effect of 28 days of IV antibiotic compared with placebo in 55 patients reporting persistent, severe fatigue at least 6 months following treatment for laboratory-diagnosed Lyme disease. Patients were assessed for improvements in self-reported fatigue and cognitive function (Neurology 60:1923-30, 2003).

In that study, people receiving antibiotics did report a greater improvement in fatigue than those on placebo. However, no benefit to cognitive function was observed. In addition, six of the study individuals had serious adverse events associated with IV antibiotic use, four requiring hospitalization. Overall, the study authors concluded that additional antibiotic therapy for PLDS was not supported by the evidence.

More recently, a study supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke again showed that long-term antibiotic use for Lyme disease is not an effective strategy for cognitive improvement (Neurology 70(13):992-1003, 2008). Researchers compared clinical improvement following 10 weeks of IV ceftriaxone versus IV placebo. The patients were treated for Lyme disease and presented with objective memory impairment tests. In a complicated statistical model, the ceftriaxone group showed a slightly greater improvement at 12 weeks, but at 24 weeks, both the ceftriaxone and the placebo groups had improved similarly from baseline. In addition, adverse affects attributed to IV ceftriaxone occurred in 26 percent of patients. The authors conclude that because of the limited duration of the cognitive improvement and the risks involved, 10 weeks of IV ceftriaxone was not an effective strategy for cognitive improvement in these patients and more durable and safer treatment strategies are still needed.

If long-term antibiotic therapy is not effective why do some people report improved symptoms following such treatment?

Carefully designed, placebo-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate that prolonged antibiotic therapy is beneficial. Although isolated success stories are always good to hear, such reports alone are not sufficient grounds to support a therapeutic approach.

A positive response to prolonged antibiotic therapy may be due to the placebo effect, which was reported as high as 40 percent in the studies described above.

I thought antibiotics were safe. If so, what is the harm in prescribing them?

All medicines may have side effects, including antibiotics. Because few antibiotics are highly specific, they not only destroy "bad" bacteria but also kill many of the beneficial bacteria that inhabit the body. These good bacteria play a critical role in maintaining general health and preventing disease-causing organisms from establishing a foothold. Serious, potentially fatal antibiotic-associated infections remain a major concern in hospitals, and thus antibiotic use is monitored carefully. IV antibiotics, such as those sometimes promoted for treating symptoms attributed to CLD, require lines and catheters that present an avenue for dangerous secondary infections to take hold. Patients also risk negative and sometimes serious reactions to the antibiotics themselves. In the first studies described above, 25 percent of the patients in the treatment group experienced study-related adverse events (New Engl J Med 345:85-92, 2001). In the clinical trial looking at cognitive function, six patients experienced serious adverse events, four of whom required hospitalization (Neurology 60:1923-30, 2003). In the most recent trial for cognitive improvement, 26 percent of patients given IV therapy experienced adverse events compared with 7 percent for the IV placebo group (Neurology 70(13):992-1003, 2008).

In addition to personal safety concerns, unnecessary antibiotic use contributes to the serious, growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Overuse of antibiotics has led to many bacteria developing resistance to the very drugs doctors once used to combat them.

Medicines Two Choices for You

What to discuss with your doctor

If you experience rashes with severe joint pain, facial palsy, intermittent pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, nerve pain, shooting pains, numbness, tingling in the hands or feet, and problems with short term memory; you should see your Doctor immediately.

Prevention and Quick Tips

Dr. Huntoon has quite extensive experience in resolving Lyme in hundreds of practice members.  His unique 3 step approach has helped everyone he has treated for this difficult diagnosis.  Consider this before considering other forms of care.  This will save you time, money and future health issues.

Consulting with a Holistic Chiropractor, Homeopath or Naturopath who has experience in treating both the Lyme Disease, the Borrelia Burgdorferi, as well as the effects of the antibiotic therapy that results in a Yeast / Candidiasis is absolutely necessary. Making sure to discuss their success and experience in treating Yeast/Candidiasis is vital before beginning any treatment when considering this form of care. Finding one that will work with your medical doctor is necessary. Assuring they also have the ability to treat the side-effects of any antibiotic therapy is just as important as treating the Lyme itself. Proper follow-up during and after any medical treatment involved with antibiotics is important. The treatment to restore balance to your system may take at least 1 year to complete. This is vital to restoring your health and preventing future Yeast/Candidiasis infections.

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