A. Many patients are cured of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. However, if they are not treated promptly, it may take months or even years of treatment before the patient feels back to normal and can stop taking antibiotics. Finding the right doctor and following the doctor’s instructions are vital for a cure.
Basics – Relapse and Cure
A. Some patients do have a return of symptoms months or even years after they are successfully treated. This may indicate a new tick bite, or perhaps the infection persisted but was kept under control by the patient’s immune system. Often a stressful occasion, such as a death in the family, divorce, or an accident may suppress the immune system, allowing the infection to recur. Patients need to be vigilant and be ready to resume treatment if any symptoms come back.
A. Antibiotic treatment started promptly and continued long enough seems to cure 90% of Lyme patients. Sometimes during treatment the Lyme bacteria goes into a “cyst” form where it is not recognized by the immune system and is largely impervious to antibiotics. When the treatment is stopped, or the immune system is suppressed, the bacteria can revert to its normal state and cause symptoms again.
Many bacteria, including the Lyme bacteria, can form “biofilms,” which protect them from treatment. Research continues on how to defeat these biofilms and improve treatment effectiveness.