HealthDay News — Longer-term antibiotic treatment does not improve health-related quality of life compared with shorter-term treatment among patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease, according to a study published in the March 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Anneleen Berende, MD, from the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues randomized patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease to receive a 12-week oral course of doxycycline (86 patients), clarithromycin plus hydroxychloroquine (96 patients), or placebo (98 patients). Before initiating the randomized regimen, all study groups received open-label intravenous ceftriaxone for 2 weeks.

The researchers observed no significant difference in the RAND-36 Health Status Inventory (RAND SF-36) among the 3 study groups at the end of the treatment period, with mean scores of 35.0, 35.6, and 34.8 in the doxycycline, clarithromycin plus hydroxychloroquine, and placebo groups, respectively. At subsequent study visits the score also did not differ (P=0.35). From baseline to the end of the treatment period there was an increase in the SF-36 physical-component summary score in all study groups (P<0.001). Similar rates of adverse events were seen among the study groups.

“In patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease, longer-term antibiotic treatment did not have additional beneficial effects on health-related quality of life beyond those with shorter-term treatment,” the authors write.

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