Doxycycline is a powerful antibiotic and is often the first choice in treatment for Lyme. Lyme is a tricky illness, and the correct treatment in the early stages is vital for recovery. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that Doxycycline may not be an effective treatment for Lyme, and the subject needs more studies. If you want to know why Lyme isn’t cured by Doxycycline take a look at the vital information below.
What is Doxycycline?
Doxycycline is an antibiotic, and many physicians prescribe it for Lyme disease – as recommended by The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) since 2006. The guidelines from the IDSA come from a single study from 2001. But the study only proved that Doxycycline stops erythema migrans (rash) from developing. Erythema migrans aren’t a solid indicator of Lyme because the rash only occurs in up to 70 percent of cases.
The study didn’t provide data about Doxycycline and chronic Lyme and only recommends using it in specific circumstances. The tick must be identified as an adult nymph or attached for more than 36 hours, or only if the infected person lives in an area where the tick infection rate is larger than 20 percent. Many health professionals, especially vector-borne illness experts, feel that treating Lyme with Doxycycline is ill-advised by the IDSA because ineffective.
Why Doesn’t Doxycycline Cure Lyme?
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) has strong evidence that a single dose of Doxycycline doesn’t cure Lyme. They used a GRADE assessment to conclude that evidence is sparse and unclear about Doxycycline and Lyme, and more studies are needed.
Another reason why Lyme isn’t cured by Doxycycline is because of co-infections. Coinfections such as Babesiosis, Bartonella, and Anaplasmosis are common occurrences among Lyme patients. Co-infections are hard to detect and, like Lyme, are resistant to antibiotics and need to be treated with specific antibiotic combinations.
What Are the Alternatives?
There’s still a lot to learn about Lyme, but many studies suggest it’s better to treat it with a combination of antibiotics over a longer period. Even with the right combinations, Lyme survives antibiotic treatment in around 25 percent of cases causing post-treatment Lyme. Patients with post-treatment Lyme find relief through alternative treatments such as herbal remedies, a detox or diet change, brain retraining and homeopathy.
A study published in 2020 found that several herbal remedies can kill Lyme bacteria in the lab. The study funded by The Bay Area Lyme Foundation was carried out by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the California Center for Functional Medicine.
The study compared herbal remedies with the antibiotics Doxycycline and Cefuroxime for treating Lyme. It showed that several herbs were highly effective at killing Lyme, particularly Cryptolepis Sanguinolenta which completely eradicated it in vitro.
Here’s a list of the herbs that performed well against Lyme in the studies:
- Cryptolepis Sanguinolenta
- Juglans Nigra (Black Walnut)
- Polygonum Cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed)
- Artemisia Annua (Sweet Wormwood)
- Uncaria Tomentosa (Cat’s Claw)
- Cistus Incanus (Hairy Rock Rose)
- Scutellaria Baicalensis (Chinese Skullcap)
In a separate study in 2018, essential oils also showed promising results against Lyme in the lab, and they include:
- Cinnamon Bark
- Clove Bud
If you have post-treatment Lyme and are interested in treating it with herbal remedies, always consult a trained specialist, and never self-prescribe. Herbs and essential oils can be toxic if you don’t use the correct dose.
Ultimately, we need more studies about Lyme and effective treatment options because current evidence suggests it isn’t cured by Doxycycline. The IDSA recommends Doxycycline because of a single study – there is no other evidence to support its effectiveness on Lyme and common co-infections. In fact, evidence from the ILADS suggests Doxycycline is not an effective Lyme treatment.
Lyme is a complex illness and can be highly resistant to antibiotics, including Doxycycline. Many Lyme experts advise against a single dose of antibiotic treatment. Instead, they recommend a combination of antibiotics along with alternative therapies. In recent lab studies, several herbs and essential oils have been shown to be effective against Lyme, and many post-Lyme patients find relief from holistic treatments.
- Lyme Experts (lymeconnection.org)
- LYME SCI: Why does the CDC endorse single-dose doxy to prevent Lyme? (lymedisease.org)
- How is Lyme Disease Treated? | IGeneX | Tick Talk
- Chronic Lyme Disease can make patients profoundly debilitated.
- Metamorphoses of Lyme disease spirochetes: phenomenon of Borrelia persisters | Parasites & Vectors | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)
- Lyme Disease Bacteria Appears to Survive Standard Antibiotic Treatment (uspharmacist.com)
- A New Approach to Lyme Disease | Science | AAAS
- Antibiotics for Chronic Lyme Disease – Dr. Todd Maderis (drtoddmaderis.com)
- No Evidence That a Single Dose of Doxycycline Prevents Lyme Disease – Lyme Action Network
- Single dose doxycycline for treatment of tick bite only prevents Lyme disease rash – Daniel Cameron, MD, MPH (danielcameronmd.com)
- Our Research – Bay Area Lyme Foundation
- Lyme Disease: Johns Hopkins study shows select herbal medicines are highly active against Borrelia burgdorferi – Outbreak News Today
- Natural Remedies for Lyme Disease (verywellhealth.com)